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For the Love of Baseball and Police Work – Behind the Badge with Sgt Bill Crook

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 UTAH)  An Orem Police Sergeant is on a mission to share his love of baseball with the children of the Dominican Republic. That love includes gifts, specifically baseballs, gear and gloves. That effort and his police career – make Sgt. Bill Crook the subject of this week’s ABC4 UTAH Behind the Badge police profile.
 
For 19 years Sgt. Bill Crook has patrolled the streets and served the people of Orem. “I’ve worked undercover. I’ve worked in different specialty positions. I trained officers. It’s been a dream.”  He been the narcotics officer of the year. He was the Orem officer of the year. And he has received other awards for his police work, including a bust of a major drug operation. “We worked that case for about two years. And when we took that down we got a lot of satisfaction. We took a lot of people to jail. It was a pretty crazy case and pretty rewarding at the same time.”  
      
He also teaches criminal justice at Provo College. And he’s over the Orem Police Neighborhood Preservation Unit. Which enforces codes and deals with neighbor disputes and other issues. “It’s like every day is an adventure. Every call is an adventure.” But all this great police work – almost didn’t happen. You see Sgt. Crook started off working as a paralegal. “I didn’t like being in an office. And the classes I took in college that were criminal justice based – I just loved em. It made sense. I talked to a friend of mine who used to be a police officer and he said don’t do it. I went against his judgment and his advice.” 
 
That’s a decision he’s glad he made. “I have loved every minute of being a police officer. Twenty years and I have just loved it. Dream come true.” 
 
But Sgt. Crook isn’t just about busting the bad guys. He’s also about baseball. In fact, he loves baseball.  “In high school I started reading about the game. Collecting cards. Studying the history of baseball. Studying the players of baseball. The situations. Everything about it.” He recently opened a batting cage business – Billie’s Batting –  in Orem. http://www.billiesbattingcages.com/
 
And four years ago he and his family began hosting players on the Orem Owlz professional baseball team and developing friendships with players from the Dominican Republic. That’s when he learned about the poverty there and how important baseball is. “Dominican Republic is an island. And the only way to get off the island is to have money or play baseball. Nobody has money there. So there goal in life is to be a baseball player.”  So Sgt. Crook came up with an idea – collect baseballs, baseball gloves and jerseys and take them to the kids in the Dominican Republic. ” It’s just nice to go down and take something  that is almost means little to us, but means so much to them. To go to a ball field and give these kids a new baseball – its amazing, they look at it like it’s the greatest thing ever.”> 
 
The “DR Delivery” is now in it’s third year. “This is a picture from last year when I took my son.” And Sgt. Crook hopes to not only to continue the annual trips, but someday expand the effort. “I coach a little league baseball team now. My dream is to take that team down there and play baseball and go to the fields where some of my friends are. And set up some games and let my players and let people in Orem and Utah County see what’s going on down there.” 
 
If you would like to help out Sgt. Crook’s baseball effort – he has a go fund me account. 
 
:And if you would like to nominate an officer for a future story you can do that at: http://good4utah.com/badge

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