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Title: A Slam Dunk for Kids and Cops

by Louise Rogers-Feher, Baltimore County Police, Public Safety Information Specialist

More than 100 kids had a great time running, shooting hoops and sharpening their basketball skills at the Baltimore County Police Department’s back to school basketball clinic in Halethorpe. Whether they knew it or not, they were also learning about leadership, teamwork and gaining a positive perspective on our men and women in blue.

“Now, more than ever, it is important for kids to have the chance to interact with law enforcement officers in a positive setting and to see them as role models,” said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz.

The clinics are part of Kamenetz’s “Operation Connect” initiative, an ongoing effort to engage County stakeholders in outreach activities. Members of the police department are reaching out 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. “Both our police officers and our communities are safer when officers and residents know and trust each another,” said Kamenetz.

Baltimore County Police Colonel Al Jones is no stranger to the court. He has played and coached basketball and saw the potential to connect young people with officers to have fun and learn some life lessons on the courts. "Teaching and mentoring kids while they are young can help them in the future when making the tough decisions,” Jones said.

The back to school basketball clinic was co-hosted by Leadership through Athletics (LTA) as a follow-up to a very well received clinic last spring. “The clinics were rewarding for the kids, the cops and the community,” said Kirk Krikstan, LTA’s General Manager.

Officer Kim Hicks-Wright with the Police Department’s Community Outreach Team said the officers are enthusiastically anticipating more clinics in 2018.

“Our men and women look forward to the interaction with young people in the county through these activities,” said Police Chief Terrence B. Sheridan. “Teaching leadership, teamwork and trust are positive life lessons.”

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Revised September 11, 2017