Building trust between youth and law enforcement in San Diego communities

STAR/PAL’s efforts are built around providing mentorship and removing obstacles for youth in historically underserved communities, and on promoting ethical policing and cooperation in the process. 

The organization was founded in 1988. We are a not-for-profit organization based in San Diego that builds relationships between youth and law enforcement through a variety of leadership and mentoring programs focused on recognizing potential and supporting growth. STAR/PAL has been nationally recognized for its model of police and community collaboration, which models an example of ethical community policing standards and mentors under-resourced youth. 

Every day, officers from the San Diego Police and County Probation Departments work side by side with civilian personnel and trained law enforcement volunteers to provide leadership and mentoring to promote youth safety, highlight opportunities, and encourage academic success.


The San Diego PAL (Police Athletic League) chapter was founded in 1988 and primarily served county areas. Members of the police force coached young people, helped with school-related activities and mentored youth through the program. The STAR (Sports Training, Academics, & Recreation) organization began in 1993 and focused similar efforts within city boundaries. 

The two organizations merged to form STAR/PAL in 1998, representing an alignment of city, county, and community efforts. The unification of programs, staff, volunteers, and the Board of Directors work as one to ensure that all youth have similar opportunities to participate in and reap the benefits of youth programming with law enforcement and public safety officers, as well as community leaders.