Police, teens to come together to rap Talk to focus on youth relations

November 19, 1993|By Ed Heard | Ed Heard,Staff Writer

Howard County teen-agers will have a chance to chat with law enforcement officers tomorrow at a two-hour session aimed at creating greater understanding.

The "police-youth rap session" will be held between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the Harper's Choice Middle School in the 5400 block of Beaverkill Road. The event focuses on youth relations, but everyone is welcome to attend.

Sponsored by the county's Adhoc Committee on Human Rights, the session will feature officers from the Maryland State Police, the Howard County Sheriff's Office and the Howard County and Baltimore City police departments.

James Henson, administrator of the county's Human Rights Office, will be the moderator of the eight-member, multi-cultural police panel.

The officers will answer any questions, but they expect some specific queries from teen-agers about such issues as why officers sometimes have to break up parties or why they make frequent stops of cars filled with teens.

What organizers hope is that teen-agers will find that officers are not out to hassle them, said Pfc. Bruce Lohr, of Howard County's Crime Prevention Office.

"Some people actually think we're out there to beat people," Pfc. Lohr said. "That's not true. We're just regular guys doing our jobs," he said. "We wash our cars, cut our lawns, and watch football. We do what everybody else does."

Pfc. Lohr said the discussion session is part of the police department's continuing effort at "community policing." The object, Pfc. Lohr said, is to change the role of police officers from PTC reacting to crime to a non-confrontational role in which they boost their community presence and work with residents to handle problems.

Other aspects of the concept include a citizens' advisory committee, a satellite police office in an apartment complex and a Citizens' Police Academy.

"Youths are the future of the county, and we just want to have a positive relationship with them," Pfc. Lohr said.

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