An Everett police officer has taken the area’s gang problem on in a surprisingly innovative way. Lt. Manuel Garcia started a soccer academy to help keep kids out of trouble:
Garcia focuses a lot on Casino Road, where 70 percent of the kids are under poverty level and at risk of getting into a gang.
"It's them - the criminal gangs - versus us," said Manuel. "And we have declared the battle in a way that we're saying we are going to take those kids away before they get influenced."
The News Tribune reported earlier this month about how children with few choices for summer activities often turn to gangs. Lt. Garcia’s program helps give kids a safe, fun alternative that’s becoming very popular with the children. When he first started the program in 2006, only six kids showed up. This summer, he’s expecting over 500! Great job, Lt. Garcia!