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Date: Jun 12, 2020

Residents Should Continue to Practice Social Distancing

Baltimore County’s Department of Recreation and Parks today announced a series of updates to the status of its facilities as the County continues its safe and gradual reopening.

As the weather warms, more facilities will be open for recreational activities, though residents should continue to be safe and practice social distancing.

As of today, the following County facilities are now open: 

  • Playgrounds
  • Outdoor tennis courts
  • Basketball courts (residents should anticipate about two weeks to complete installation of rims)
  • Other surface courts
  • All fields and diamonds
  • Pavilions and picnic areas
  • Dog parks
  • Skate parks
  • Horseshoe pits
  • RC/Model Plane Areas
  • Lifeguarded swimming at Rocky Point
  • Restrooms in regional parks
  • Outdoor accessible restroom facilities will be opened in conjunction with scheduled permitted activities and as regular need demands.

Use of Pavilions for Worship in the Park Services 

In an effort to help local religious organizations find safe outdoor spaces to worship, Baltimore County is opening access to outdoor pavilions at some County parks.

Local religious organizations may request a permit to use a park pavilion for regular religious services only. 

These gatherings will be limited to 50 percent of each pavilion’s maximum occupancy.

Beginning today, religious organizations will be able to make reservations for the weekends of June 19 and June 26, at the following locations free of charge, and on a first-come, first-served basis: 

  • Eastern Regional Park
  • Fort Howard Park
  • Honeygo Regional Park
  • Kingsville Park
  • Meadowood Regional Park
  • Northwest Regional Park
  • Oregon Ridge Park
  • Reisterstown Regional Park
  • Rockdale Park
  • Rosedale Park
  • Southwest Area Park
  • Sweet Air Park

More information and permit request forms are available on the County’s website.

Use of Pavilions for the Public Starting July 4

Beginning today, all pavilion rentals are available to be reserved by the public starting July 4.

More information and permit request forms are available on the County’s website.

Grab–and-Go Recreation Kits

The Department of Recreation and Parks today announced the creation of Grab-and-Go Recreation Kits, a new, free opportunity to provide youth with more activities to safely enjoy the outdoors.

Beginning Saturday, June 13 through July 22, young people can take part in these easy and free activities including the Ravens Fitness Flock (begins June 22), Locomotor Skills Obstacle Course, Nature Bingo, Butterfly Ring and Tissue Paper Flower Craft, and Recreation Rocks.

To find a location near you to pick up a premade kit, to learn how to make your own kit at home, or for more information, please email or visit the Department's website.

Supplies are limited and if you are unable to get a Grab-and-Go Kit, please email to make additional arrangements. 

Stay Safe

To the extent possible, residents should continue to practice social distancing and face coverings should be worn at park locations, especially when social distancing is not feasible.

Failure to adhere to these guidelines may result in removal from park property.

The Department will continue to follow all State Executive Orders related to recreational activities.

Proposed Reforms are Steps Toward Addressing Community Concerns

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski today announced a series of steps to improve accountability in the County’s Police Department (BCoPD) and promote more equitable policing.

These steps are the latest efforts by Olszewski’s administration to address systemic challenges and improve relationships between communities and the Police Department.

“The protests we’ve seen in Baltimore County and around the country are shining a bright light on what we already knew—that we have a long way to go to achieve equal justice for African American communities and that local leaders have a responsibility to take action,” Olszewski said. “We are listening to those in our community who have been marginalized, and we are recommitting to making real change.”

Taken together, the steps announced today aim to improve transparency and accountability in the Baltimore County Police Department, create a more diverse police force and improve relations between law enforcement officers and the communities they serve.

The steps announced by Olszewski and Baltimore County Police Chief Melissa Hyatt are:

  • Update Use of Force policy. The Department has previously made a number of improvements to its use of force trainings that are in alignment with police best practices. The trainings include de-escalation training, Integrating Communications, Assessment and Tactics (ICAT), and implicit bias training. Additionally, Chief Hyatt has incorporated into the Department’s Use of Force policy the concept of Sanctity of Life, the Duty to Intervene and Report excessive or unnecessary use of force, and the importance of Constitutional Policing. The County will now sign the Obama Foundation Pledge to review and update its use of force policy with community input.
  • Implement Fair and Impartial Police Training Curriculum for all BCoPD members. The Department will bring in a nationally-recognized police training program on Fair and Impartial Policing to be provided to all BCoPD commanders, officers and employees in the coming year.
  • Increased transparency of complaint, use of force and traffic stop data. In accordance with Olszewski’s commitment to a more transparent, accountable government, the County will build public dashboards displaying data on the number and disposition of complaints against police officers, instances of uses of force and traffic stop data broken down by race.
  • Support state legislation to amend the MPIA to increase transparency related to discipline cases. County leaders will support legislation in Annapolis to amend the Maryland Public Information Act to increase transparency related to the disposition of police disciplinary actions.
  • Conduct independent analysis and review of BCoPD hiring and recruitment practices. The County will hire an independent third-party organization to conduct a comprehensive review of our hiring and recruitment practices, including a review of data for discriminatory impacts or practices in our testing and background investigations.
  • Expand scope and duration of Equitable Policing Workgroup. Olszewski has issued an Executive Order to expand the scope of the Workgroup on Equitable Policing, originally formed to examine traffic stop data. Going forward, the Workgroup will be a permanent advisory group and will focus more broadly on disparities in policing.

“I’m grateful to the men and women of the Baltimore County Police Department who serve honorably and put their lives on the line every day to serve our communities and I believe that these steps will make the Department even stronger,” Olszewski said.

About the Equitable Policing Workgroup

In November 2019, after reviewing traffic stop data showing that African American individuals were issued citations at a higher rate than other individuals, Olszewski created the Workgroup on Equitable Policing to examine policing policies and practices.

Chaired by the County’s Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Troy Williams, the group has met six times, including two community listening sessions, and will issue a report later this year. Going forward, the group will continue to examine traffic stop data and will also:

  • Review community policing training policies and practices
  • Review oversight systems, seeking community input and identifying best practices
  • Review the internal and external officer complaint and disciplinary process

Williams is the County’s first Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, a position created by Olszewski to help address disparities and promote equity and inclusion countywide.

In addition to the Workgroup on Equitable Policing, Olszewski created a Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Community Advisory Council and Employee Advisory Council, both aimed at advancing equity and inclusion in Baltimore County and changing the culture of County government to focus consistently on equity in decision-making.

Revised October 16, 2020               
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