Yes, the two terms both refer to the same thing, a PAL.
The terms “Police Athletic League” and “Police Activities League” are often used interchangeably. Both terms refer to activities organized by local police departments in order to create a positive relationship between young people and law enforcement.
Today, there is little distinction.
Police Activity League = Police Athletic League
The program was initially athletic focused for all PALs. Many programs, early in the development of PALs, only offered one sport, typically boxing or football. Over time, this focus shifted to include more sports and activities such as basketball, football, soccer and softball, as well as robotics, music, educational tutoring, and so much more.
Due to its rapidly expanding offerings, the term “police activities league” was adopted in some regions in order to better describe the scope of programming offered through their local PALs. While both terms may be used interchangeably, programs today typically offer a variety of both athletic and non-athletic activities designed to build relationships between law enforcement officers and the community.