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No More Park Police In Montgomery County?

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By Matt Bush

Budget woes in Montgomery County, Maryland could mean the end of the county's park police.

Under a plan from County Executive Isiah Leggett, the park police would be merged into the county police department, effectively eliminating the force. Leggett claims the move would save the county approximately $2 million.

Park Police Chief Darien Manley says the move would make parks more dangerous, something he says is proven by more than crime statistics.

"The proof is in the incredible usage and visitation we see every day," he says. "It's seen in the youth leagues using our fields and facilities and the young families in our local parks and in our playgrounds. It's seen in the walkers and joggers and bicyclists who travel our trails everyday. They use the parks because they feel safe."

Manley also worries many of his officers would not meet training requirements for the county police force, and would lose their jobs.

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