Hoping to get across an anti-drunk-driving message, Ventura County police officers are preparing to spend their Friday nights at football games and their weekday afternoons on the field practicing.
The program, called "Cops and Jocks," aims to establish a good rapport between officers and football players and encourage the teen-agers to do less drinking after games.
Five law enforcement agencies and eight public and private high schools are participating in the program, which begins with the teams' first practices.
The program was started by Rich Randolph, a former Santa Clara High School football player who now publishes a newspaper for teams in the Frontier Football League.
Randolph said he hopes the officers will participate in practices, take part in weight training with the teams and attend every football game during the season, including riding on the bus to out-of-town games. None of the officers will be paid for their participation.
Although the program is now focused solely on football, Randolph said he would like to expand it to cover other high school sports.
The schools that plan to participate in the program are Buena, Ventura and St. Bonaventure high schools in Ventura, Santa Paula High School in Santa Paula, Santa Clara High School in Oxnard and Nordhoff High School in Ojai. Calabasas High School in Los Angeles County is also participating.
The police departments taking part are Ventura, Santa Paula and Oxnard, and the California Highway Patrol. The Ventura County Sheriff's Department has declined to participate, except in Ojai, a city that contracts with the Sheriff's Department, Randolph said.