Personal Best: Police reach out to community through bowling 

Shawn Jackson recalls the moment that he decided to be a cop. He was on shift as a hospital emergency room worker.

“I remember hearing a lady say, ‘If only the police had come a little sooner,’” Jackson said.

At Saturday’s Kops and Kids Family Day at Serra Bowl, the 15-year veteran of the San Francisco Police Department will be combining his two passions: community police work and bowling.

The San Francisco native and resident is happy to take the weekend off from his busy bowling tournament schedule to participate in the 19th anniversary of the popular event.

Kids between the ages of 3 and 18 bowl free with their police and public safety officers inside the Serra bowling center. Displays of police and fire equipment are presented in the parking lots of the Daly City institution.

Jackson isn’t involved to demonstrate his bowling prowess, although his 221 average is hard to hide as he’s mowing down the pins. At the 2007 event, his second Kops and Kids, Jackson recalls a contest.

“How many strikes you can throw in two minutes, a competition between officers,” he said. “Other agencies were complaining that San Francisco has a ringer. I think I threw seven in a row and won it. The owner [Rex Golobic] wanted me to keep going, but I was tired out at that point.”

He shows up not to bowl strikes.

“Officers from around the Bay Area get to meet kids away from the street, in a different atmosphere,” Jackson said. “I’m just out there bowling with kids. I’ll move from lane to lane, meeting different kids, interacting with them, just having fun.”

While on patrol in the Tenderloin district, where he has been assigned since graduating from the police academy and passing his rookie probation, Jackson will spot kids that he has met at Kops and Kids.

The grandfather of two young boys will pull up in his police car.

“Some of the kids now say, ‘Hi Shawn, how are you doing?’” Jackson said. “Now I can interact with them because they know that we’re approachable.”

The officer’s oldest grandson is 4, Jackson’s age when his mother handed him his first bowling ball.

“She wanted to get me into something to stay active and stay out of trouble,” Jackson said.

This message has stayed with Jackson.

“You don’t want the kids just hanging out, especially with summer coming up,” he said. “They need some form of activity.”

19th annual Kops and Kids Family Day

When: Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: Serra Bowl, 3301 Junipero Serra Blvd., Daly City
Police sponsors: San Francisco, Daly City, Colma and Broadmoor police departments
Kickoff: “Kids Bowl Free Program;” kids bowl two games free all summer at Serra Bowl and Bel Mateo Bowl in San Mateo

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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