Police Officer Kraig Henry is one of the PAL Center Directors at the 23rd PAL Center at 1845 N. 23rd Street in Philadelphia’s 22nd Police District. Officer Henry was appointed to the Philadelphia Police Department in 1993, and was assigned to the Police Athletic League in 2006. In his spare time, Kraig enjoys photography – especially of sports and youth sports.
How did you first learn about PAL?
I visited PAL centers as a kid, but don’t recall the officers’ names or locations of the centers. I was formally introduced to PAL in 2005 while assisting coaches on my sons’ football team. I ran into Police Officer Darren Lindsey who I previously worked with in the 16th District. I was planning on introducing my sons to sports outside of football, and Officer Lindsey told me about PAL. I enrolled my sons and I signed up as a volunteer. After a year or so, Officer Lindsey was being promoted to Detective, and he talked me into putting in a transfer to PAL.
What made you want to be a part of the PAL unit?
I’m big on mentoring. After watching the rapport my sons’ football coaches had with the team, and the changes I saw in my sons, I felt as though I wanted to be part of a positive solution to juvenile crime.
History with the Police Athletic League?
I ran the Wynnefield PAL Center from 2006 to 2008. Following my time at Wynnefield, I worked in PAL administration for a year. After that, I ran the St. Benedict PAL Center from 2009 until it closed in 2014. Since then, I have been assigned to Lighthouse PAL, then Harrowgate PAL, and now, my current assignment, 23rd PAL, where I am a Center Director with Officer Darren James.
Why do you think proactive community policing measures like PAL are so important?
PAL helps bridge the gap, and allows for police officer interactions with the community. When each has a better understanding of the other on a personal level, it can lead to better overall experiences.
What do you want every child to know?
First, just because you’ve always done something a certain way doesn’t mean that’s the only way to do it. Next, don’t let your mistakes define you. And, finally, when you fall/fail, look up, because if you can look up, you can get up.
What kind of impact do you want to have in a child’s life?
I’d like to be the GPS to our youth. I’d like to be that voice that guides them away from or around the obstacles that life will throw their way.
Did you have a mentor who made an impact on you? Tell us about it.
My father is my first mentor; however, I have had others at various stages in my life. My most recent mentor is motivational speaker Dr. Eric Thomas, a homeless high school dropout who went on to earn his PhD. I recently returned to school, and Dr. Thomas’ videos, books, and seminars have changed the way I approach life on a daily basis.
What programs do you offer at your center? What programs are unique to your center?
23rd PAL offers all of the standard PAL programs – Homework Club, Computer Club, sports, etc., but, we also have a drill team, which is unique to our center.
Favorite activity at PAL
I especially enjoy our flag football and boy’s mentoring programs at PAL.