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Latest program is part of County Executive Kamenetz’s “Operation Connect” initiative

Towson, MD – For the next three Saturdays, Baltimore County police officers will host youth basketball clinics for children, offering kids the opportunity to sharpen their basketball skills and interact with law enforcement officers in a positive setting.

“In today’s world, it is more important than ever for our young people to see the human side of law enforcement and for officers to interact with kids in a positive setting,” said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. “Chief Johnson and I have talked at length about finding ways to expand our existing outreach efforts and officers’ reach into the community in innovative and non-traditional ways; this is one great example. I am really delighted that Chief Johnson and his team are making Operation Connect a reality.”

The Baltimore County Police Department basketball clinics will run from 9 a.m. to noon on the following Saturdays:

  • May 7: Liberty Road Resource Center, 3505 Resource Drive, Randallstown 21133
  • May 14: Cockeysville PAL Center, 9836 Greenside Drive, Cockeysville 21030
  • May 21: Sollers Point Multi-Purpose Center, 323 Sollers Point Road, Dundalk 21222 

“This is really great news,” said 2nd District Council Woman and Council Chair Vicki Almond. “Having our police officers interact with young people all across the county is good for everyone. I am confident that these types of programs improve public safety.”

“I am delighted that County Executive Kamenetz and Chief Johnson are moving forward with efforts to connect police officers with the young people in our community. It is this type of outreach that will make our streets and communities safer,” said Vicar Reginald Price of St. Andrews Lutheran Church of Parkville.

Space is still available in the clinics and parents may download and submit the Basketball Clinic permission slip/waiver (PDF) to register. Free water bottles and snacks will be provided.

Operation Connect is an effort on the part of the county police department to engage county stakeholders in a number of outreach activities. Members of the police department are reaching out to through activities like Bike with a Cop, community cleanups, meetings with faith based leaders, participation in community barbecues and many other events. The purpose of the program is to allow community members, particularly young people, to interact with police officers in a positive setting. “Our police officers are safer and our communities are safer when officers and citizens know and trust one another,” said Kamenetz.

“The County Executive has asked us to foster understanding with citizens of all backgrounds, especially those might not be involved in traditional police community relations groups,” said Baltimore County Police Chief Jim Johnson. “We want our officers to reach out to the people they serve through faith communities and other groups.”

Click the image below to see Officer Don Bridges invite young people in the community to the basketball courts.

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Tech-savvy Patapsco HS students Kevin Kamenetz
Baltimore County Executive

What will the schools of tomorrow look like?  I would guess that each student would use smartphones and tablets in class, with textbooks relegated to a study of ancient history. The entire school building would be wi-fi enabled, allowing students to access the Internet for problem solving and research at a moment's whim. Why, I think that students and teachers could interact via Twitter feeds, both inside the classroom and even at home!

Well, guess what?  The world of tomorrow land is here today - at the very special Patapsco High School Center for the Arts in Dundalk. Earlier this month I joined School Superintendent Dr. Dallas Dance for a tour of Patapsco where we met with the students and faculty for a jaw-dropping view of how technology can be used as an integral part of the learning process.

Principal Ryan Imbriale has created an amazing community of learners in eastern Baltimore County.  It is no wonder that Dr. Dance is eager to spread this magic system wide. What happens at Patapsco? Well, here is just a small sample of what took place the day I visited.
 
It is a school where the principal's daily update isn't done over a traditional public address system, but on the internet via a You Tube video that is also available to parents. It is a school where students are using a variety of social media to enhance learning. It is a school where students are encouraged to bring smart phones and tablets to school so that they may be used as part of the learning process. Classroom Twitter feeds are displayed on white boards encouraging students to react to classroom discussions immediately. In Spanish class, the Spanish tweets were being posted fast and furiously.  In science labs, students were using their phones to connect to links to QR codes posted around the room leading to problems that must be solved. Students worked in groups, actively engaging and supporting one another to solve these complex problems. Teachers worked hand-in-hand with students as guides in the learning process.
 
As my staff would tell you, I haven't been able to stop talking about the teachers and students at Patapsco. I am so excited about what is taking place there and even more excited that Dr. Dance firmly believes that this type of instruction can become the model for Baltimore County. I look forward to making that journey together.
 


 
 

Revised April 6, 2016