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Citrus Heights Messenger

PAL Making an Impact

Nov 08, 2023 05:14PM ● By Tamara Warta

Some members of the Citrus Heights Dispatch Team take time to participate in the annual Trunk or Treat. Photo courtesy of Citrus Heights Police Activities League

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - Citrus Heights has been making strides in recent years to address issues that it – along with other local cities – face on a daily basis. From combating homelessness to developing the Sunrise Tomorrow plan, Citrus Heights is busy and bursting with ideas on how to make the region an even better place to live. One long term organization that is consistently making a difference in Citrus Heights is the Police Activities League (PAL).

PAL has two important goals – reduce juvenile crime and foster better relationship between residents and law enforcement. PAL accomplishes this by scheduling frequent special events throughout the year with the intent to reach children and help them feel valued, safe, and loved.

Several Members of Citrus Heights PAL’s Police Explorer program stand ready. Photo courtesy of Citrus Heights Police Activities League

Events vary but include everything from educational experiences to fun recreational outings. Every summer, PAL also hosts a day-camp that includes one-on-one interaction with Citrus Heights’ first responders as the kids enjoy horseback riding, a ropes course, swimming and more.

PAL stays very busy – during the week of October 23 alone, the group helped with the Howl o’Ween parade, attended the Rusch Park Harvest Festival, conducted school site visits for Red Ribbon Week, and hosted a Trunk or Treat that was attended by thousands of Citrus Heights families.

According to the research, Citrus Heights is right on track when it comes to meeting its goals. The Harvard Business Review has published a study that showed up to 84 percent of CEOs mentioned mentors that helped them avoid critical mistakes on their professional journey. The Department of Justice also released an article in March of 2020 stating the positives of pouring into local youth through a PAL program.

“By establishing a PAL chapter as a safe place, you can significantly decrease their chances of participating in vandalism, violence, and other crime-related activities,” the agency stated.

Citrus Heights resident Joe Madrid also weighed in on the local PAL program. “The volunteers and officers involved make me feel very safe about allowing my children to attend. I am grateful,” he said.

PAL is also related to the Police Explorer Program. This involves youth aged 14-20 receiving formal training from local law enforcement. Participants meet with Citrus Heights Police Department officers twice per month, and also volunteer at police-sanctioned events. In order to be eligible, participants must have a clean criminal record and an academic C average.

PAL is a division of the Citrus Heights Youth & Family Services (Y.F.S.) department, which devotes its time connecting youth with law enforcement in a variety of ways in an effort to keep kids off the streets.

Any young person is welcome to join PAL. A yearly membership costs just $10 and includes admission to all PAL events throughout the year except the summer camp. Kids aged 14+ join the Police Explorers, and younger children aged 6-13 join PAL Kid. All ages benefit from memorable activities like swim days at Rusch Pool, custom Easter egg hunts, and paint parties.

Membership applications can be found at

If you are outside of PAL’s age range or don’t have children, you can still support this great organization. Consider attending one of their many events or make a financial donation through their website. You may also contact PAL’s coordinator Diane Ebbitt at (916) 727-4820.