Haskell students have invited Lawrence police to participate in some friendly competition to bridge differences.
Lawrence law enforcement officers and local Native Americans hope to take some of their differences to court -- an athletic court.
Lawrence police officers and other local law enforcement officers are now signing up to join intramural basketball teams at Haskell Indian Nations University, said J.R. Miller, a Lawrence police officer and a member of the Native American and Law Enforcement (NALE) task force.
For the past several months, the task force has been holding monthly meetings to find ways to smooth relations between Native Americans and the city's law enforcement agencies.
Police participation in intramural basketball games at Haskell would be the first tangible result of the meetings.
Police and Haskell students will play together on the same intramural teams.
The Lawrence police department also hopes to form two all-police basketball teams and a volleyball team to take on student teams at Haskell in early April, Miller said.
"We're trying to relate to the students that the law enforcement officials are also people," said Adrian Brown, a member of the task force and vice president of the student senate at Haskell, a federally funded college in Lawrence for Native Americans.
"We're trying to get both sides to mix in with each other to relieve some of the tension out there," Brown said, "and just to have fun."
The NALE task force was formed last year in part in response to the deaths of four young Native American men from April 1989 to April 1991 in Lawrence.
The task force includes Lawrence Native Americans and representatives of the Lawrence Police Department, the Kansas University Police Department, the Haskell Security Department and the Lawrence City Commission.
The task force will next meet March 28 at 6 p.m. at the Judicial and Law Enforcement Center, 111 E. 11th.