PAL center, patrol building officially open Structures designed to reduce crime

October 27, 1998|By Dail Willis | Dail Willis,SUN STAFF

Baltimore County's battle against crime grew by two buildings yesterday with the official opening of a $1.2 million Police Athletic League Recreation Center in Hillendale and a $17,000 structure in Stoneleigh constructed by that community's Citizens On Patrol.

The PAL center, built with federal, state and county funds, is a 6,700-square-foot brick building at 1111 Halstead Road, on the campus of Halstead Academy. It has five activity rooms and three offices for police, park personnel and a substance-abuse worker.

The Stoneleigh building, a 13-by-17-foot structure attached to a pool house on Hatherleigh Road, was built with a mix of money raised by the Stoneleigh Citizens On Patrol and donated goods and services, said Richard Bleser, the group's president.

The COP group, which patrols the winding, tree-lined streets of Stoneleigh every day and evening, raised the money through raffles, sales and donations, Bleser said. About 530 homes are in the community, and the patrol group has 140 members, he said.

County Executive C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger and county police Chief Terrence B. Sheridan attended both opening ceremonies.

"Government can't do it all," Ruppersberger told an assembled crowd of Stoneleigh residents, police officers and donors. "Citizens On Patrol allows the community to be involved. A project like this sends a strong message -- we're not going to tolerate crime in our communities."

Bleser pointed to police statistics showing a sharp drop in neighborhood crime since COP was founded in 1994. That year, he said, 133 crimes were reported. For the first half of this year, Bleser said, 23 were reported.

Bleser said the COP building will be open to patrol officers who need a place to make calls or write reports.

Pub Date: 10/27/98

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