Officer, Rockingham native, game for some ball

 

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

A Rockingham native who joined the Spring Lake Police Department about six months ago is finding an unorthodox way to meet the residents he now serves — on the court, not in it.

Brandyn Lyles, 29, was identified by residents Monday night in full uniform and playing some pick-up basketball with others. A local resident shared on his Facebook account that “about a month ago, me and my boys) … were at the Spring Lake Rec Center playing basketball and a Spring Lake police officer walked up and asked if he could pick up. This dude played in his complete duty uniform, gun in holster and all … and he could really ball!”

Submitted photo Spring Lake Police Officer Brandyn Lyles, a Rockingham native, is using basketball as a way to reach out to the community he now serves.

Submitted photo
Spring Lake Police Officer Brandyn Lyles, a Rockingham native, is using basketball as a way to reach out to the community he now serves.

The story continues: “Well today, about an hour ago he found a group of guys playing outside in the street in our neighborhood, parked his car, and hopped out to play some pickup ball. I stopped by while on my way out of the neighborhood to tell him how cool I thought it was that he would take time to do this. These are the type of officers our community needs.”

Lyles is white; Spring Lake, in Cumberland County, is a city of nearly 12,000 — and more than a third of the city’s population is African-American. Color hardly seems to matter, though.

“Shoot with us, not at us,” the resident finished his Facebook post.

The dig — and apparent expression of hope — was reflective of recent strained race relations between residents and police departments across the country — Ferguson, Mo., Cleveland, Ohio, New York and McKinney, Texas, among them.

Sharon Newton, of Rockingham, said she’s “one proud momma” of her son, whose father Larry Lyles lives in Roanoke Rapids. Brandyn Lyles is married to Whitley Lyles.

“He is a good man,” Newton said.

Newton said she became aware of the pick-up basketball game when a photo of her son appeared in her Facebook news feed.

“He’s trying to build rapport with the community,” Newton said.

Submitted photo Monday night was the second time Spring Lake Police Officer Brandyn Lyles was "caught" playing basketball with area residents.

Submitted photo
Monday night was the second time Spring Lake Police Officer Brandyn Lyles was “caught” playing basketball with area residents.

Before joining the Spring Lake Police Department, Lyles worked for a private firm in charge of security at the Social Security Administration building in Raleigh. Prior to that, he spent three years at Brown Creek Correctional Institute in Polkton.

Lyles attended West Rockingham Elementary and Rockingham Junior High schools before attending Richmond Senior High School. He didn’t finish school, Newton said, but later went back and completed his GED.

For three years, Lyles also contracted with the Army and assisted with the Robin Sage exercise, which serves as the final test for students attending the Special Forces Qualification Course at the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School.

Filed in: Latest Headlines, News, Public safety, Region, Rockingham

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