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The Dripby Mark Reutter7:42 pmApr 18, 20120

Inside City Hall: Armed guards at city pools nixed for now

It was one of those amazing expenditures that seems to whiz through the Board of Estimates every Wednesday – a Department of Recreation and Parks request today to spend $171,000 to hire armed guards to provide security at city pools this summer.

Amazing, quite literally, because the guards would come from Amazing Security & Investigations LLC, of College Park, which holds a service contract with Baltimore to provide security personnel.

Rec and Parks said it needed the guards at city pools between May 25 and September 3, while – at the very same time – the agency’s pool funds would be slashed by $105,769 under Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s 2013 budget.

(Under the proposed budget, six of seven neighborhood wading and splash pools will be closed this summer, while six park pools and 13 walk-to pools would remain open.)

Proposed expenditures by city agencies spend weeks winding their way through high-level bureaucratic approvals and political vetting before they are submitted to the board.

Rec and Parks, however, withdrew the armed guard request shortly before the start of today’s meeting and has gone back to the drawing board to determine its aquatic security arrangements. A red flag was raised by someone.

“The department is continuing to evaluate the plan. A final decision has not been made,” spokeswoman Gwendolyn Chambers said late today.

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