Cops and Inner City Youth Come Together For Chess

Protecting their people and their queen


(carlo fornitano /

The St. Louis Police Department (SLPD) has found a unique way to protect inner city youth at risk. The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis (CCSCSL), St. Louis public schools, and the SLPD has formed a partnership to encourage positive values and teach students new skills.

The police officers’ initiative is an especially important step in rebuilding the trust between the Missouri law enforcement and inner cities after the tragedies in Ferguson and Florissant.

The Nine officers who make up the St. Louis CHESS Cops or “Cops Helping Enhance Student Skills,” are certified chess instructors and lead classes for inner city kids focusing on logic, strategic planning, and critical thinking.

The event kicked off at the Gateway Middle School on February 26, and both The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis and the officers knew the program would be beneficial for students.

Lieutenant Perri Johnson of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department said the officers love taking part in the initiative. “It is critical for law enforcement to establish positive relationships with members of the St. Louis community early on, and this program helps us do just that.”

Tony Rich, the Executive Director of the CCSCSL said that the Saint Louis CHESS Cops program is instrumental in rebuilding positive relationships within the community. “It is a prime example of how chess can teach fundamental lessons, build constructive relationships, and ultimately make a difference in the lives of young people.”

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