Law enforcement basketball tournament returns to support mental health

DeKalb Full Court Press Basketball Tournament returns to Decatur Active Living Center on April 22-23.

The tournament is a double-elimination basketball tournament and mental health awareness event that pits teams composed of members of law enforcement, first responders, legal entities, and the community against one another.

Health concerns during the pandemic caused organizers to cancel the event, making the 2023 event the first one since 2019.

The games occur from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. on April 22 and April 23 in a playoff-style format with a championship game occurring on April 23 to wrap up the tournament.

Tickets for both days are $15. Single-day tickets start are $5 for children aged 5 – 11 and $8 for adults. Children under the age of 5 get free entry.

The event will occur at Decatur Active Living Center at 231 Sycamore St.

Teams currently registered for the tournament include teams from Office of the DeKalb County District Attorney, Emory Doctor Ballers, Law Office of the Public Defender, DeKalb County, Sandy Springs Police, DeKalb County Clerk of Superior Court, DeKalb County Sherriff’s Office, Fulton County Sheriff’s Office and other metro Atlanta law enforcement and community agencies.

Fulton County Sheriff’s Office, Sandy Springs Police, a team of doctors from Emory University, and Lawrenceville Police are new teams for the event. The 2019 champions, the DeKalb County Police Knights, will not play to defend their title.

Event organizers said the proceeds from the tournament will fund the DeKalb Criminal Justice Treatment Coalition, Inc. (DCJTC) in support of the DeKalb County Misdemeanor Mental Health Court (MMHC).

According to Misdemeanor Mental Health Court Presiding Judge Rhathelia Stroud, some participants in the mental health court need financial support while attending and after attending the mental health court.

However, State of Georgia only allows state funding to be spent in predetermined areas. Stroud said the funds raised by DCJTC will pay for items that state funding does not cover.

Areas expected to receive funding from the tournament include transportation for DeKalb County Misdemeanor Mental Health Court patients; payment assistance for medication/treatment, hygiene/clothing, food/groceries; and academic assistance.

A news release states that DeKalb’s mental health court is the longest running mental health court in Georgia. The Misdemeanor Mental Health Court has a mission to “decriminalize mentally ill offenders by offering treatment instead of incarceration” and has been in commission since 2001.

“The funds raised by The DeKalb Full Court Press are used specifically to support participants of DeKalb’s Misdemeanor Mental Health Court, an accountability program aimed at connecting those with mental health challenges, who have found themselves in the criminal justice system, with invaluable treatment resources and providers who will help give them a new, positive outlook on their respective futures,” said DCJTC Board Chair Derek Johnson-Gage.

According to the news release, DeKalb MMHC is composed of mental health care professionals such as psychiatrists, attorneys, treatment providers, National Alliance on Mental Illness representatives and family members of those challenged with mental illness.

To register a team or purchase tickets for the tournament, visit: dekalbcountyfullcourtpress.com/.

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