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Lessons, laughs in FDL School vs. law enforcement game

Cloquet Police Officer Andy Wappes looks for the basket during the April 18 charity basketball game vs. Fond du Lac Ojibwe School. The annual game helps support Fond du Lac Ojibwe School athletic programs. Dave Harwig/Pine Journal1 / 2
Members of the Fond du Lac Ojibwe School boys and girls basketball teams pose with local law enforcement following the annual charity basketball game to help support Fond du Lac Ojibwe School athletics. Law enforcement defeated the Ogichidaag 76-75.2 / 2

Cloquet's Jarvis Paro admitted he only took one shot in last week's Fond du Lac Ojibwe School fundraiser basketball game against the local law enforcement team.

"It was like they were daring me to shoot," chuckled Paro, 33, the FDL Police Department security supervisor, who was standing wide-open atop the 3-point line. "I missed it short and to the right.

"It wasn't an air ball. It did hit the rim," Paro added with a laugh.

Paro's misfire made for one of the many smiles April 18 at the Ojibwe School in Cloquet. There, the gymnasium was buzzing with students, staff, officers and community members for the annual fundraiser that was returned after a recent hiatus.

FDL Activities Director Earl Otis and FDL School Resource Officer Chad Pattison paired up to return the event, which not only raised several hundred dollars for the small tribal school's activity department, but most importantly, allowed all of the school's students to see local law enforcement in a positive light.

"We're good guys, approachable and like to have fun," said Pattison, in his first year as SRO. "That's really what it was about. We wanted to get the community together with law enforcement and especially the kids. We can be good guys, too."

"They're human," said Otis, who ran the score clock throughout the day. "And they've got some basketball skills. I was surprised."

Faced against the co-ed FDL High School team were newly appointed FDL Police Chief Herb Fineday, Officer Shania Paulson and current Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College law enforcement student Jordan Diver, among other officers and members of the FDL and Cloquet departments and State Patrol on an entertaining 18-player roster.

Pattison was the coach of the law enforcement team, which won 76-75 — keeping the adults and Pattison still unbeaten in the several years of the fundraiser.

"I'm the winningest coach in the school," said Pattison with a laugh.

Otis, who has been the Ogichidaag boys basketball coach for the last six years — including two state tournament trips — admitted that although they surprised him, the law enforcement squad has a few areas to work on.

"They could get back on defense a little better," Otis said with a chuckle.

Still, Fineday made the first shot of the game for the law enforcement when he hit a turnaround jumper from the low block.

"It felt good," said Fineday, who wants to continue this school versus law enforcement series in the future. "I broke the ice."

Diver, meanwhile, hit the last shot when the now 21-year-old nailed a jumper on an assist from teammate Kello Brown. Both are FDL alumni — now soon-to-be law enforcement members — graduating soon from FDLTCC.

"It was fun," said Diver, a left-hander who wasn't unfamiliar to game-winning shots while growing up. "I don't play as much anymore, but I loved the feeling. I've played basketball all my life."

Like Diver, Paro is also a FDL alumnus from the Class of 2003. Honest about his soreness after the game, which included team pictures and a traveling trophy for the winners, Paro said it was a worthy afternoon.

"My legs were sore for a couple days," Paro said. "But it's a lot of fun being active with the kids."

Shania Paulson, 23, is a 2012 Cloquet graduate and now FDL officer. As a Lumberjack, she played girls basketball, but was honest on the rustiness she showed last week.

"I shot all right in warmups, but when the clock was running, not so much," she said. "It's always fun to get out and play. Especially with with the students and building those relationships."

That's what it's all about, Micheal J. Diver said. The FDL lieutenant sold 50/50 raffle tickets all afternoon. He noted that positive connections among the students and law enforcement are of utmost importance.

"That's the No. 1 key — connecting with the kids in a positive way," he said. "We want to keep bringing that on."

That leads back to Pattison, who already in his first year as the tribal school's SRO has a great rapport with the students. He will be involved in several programs this summer, according to Lt. Diver.

Pattison noted that future fundraising picnics or games of dodgeball and kickball could certainly be offered.

If that's the case, one can bet the undefeated Pattison will continue to coach his adult team.

"His coaching skills haven't let us down so far. But once we lose a game, he's out of there," he said with a laugh.