COLUMBIA, Mo. -

Columbia police officers traded in badges for baseball caps Saturday afternoon.

Douglass Baseball, an annual league in the controversial central city park, played through the heat Saturday.

Columbia police said they played games in an attempt to show a presence in the park and to get to know people who use the park.

Douglass Park was notorious as the scene of violence over the past few summers, including shootings and stabbings.

"There's this stigma that comes with it and the only way you change stigmas is by taking a stand," said perennial coach David Cantrell.

Cantrell told ABC 17 News he had coached his son in the league for seven year and had never seen crime in the park during a game.

Douglass Baseball offers scholarships and grants for kids to play during the summer.