(April 23, 2021) The 2020 annual report Ocean City Police Chief Ross Buzzuro presented to the City Council Monday points to an upcoming year of near normalcy as compared to the pandemic-challenged year that preceded it.
“The year 2020 was a challenging time, not just for Ocean City, but the entire country, as we fought our way through the ongoing covid-19 pandemic,” he said in the presentation. “We continue to be faced with challenges that my staff and I work to overcome. As we look ahead, we will continue to employ new tactics, proposed new legislation, and forge new partnerships to ensure a safe and enjoyable community for our citizens.”
Calls for service
In 2020, the department fielded 67,585 calls for service with 45,636 being initiated by officers and 21,949 coming from citizens.
Along with those calls, the department saw a 200 percent increase in forcible rape reports, 76 percent increase in aggravated assaults, 67 percent increase in robbery, and 60 percent increase in motor vehicle theft.
Forcible rape cases jumped to 18 instances in 2020 compared to six in 2019. In 2018, the department had nine cases of forcible rape, and in 2018 it had 27.
The police department also had 54 arrests involving weapons and 474 arrests connected to controlled dangerous substances. There were 757 citations issued for alcohol related offenses, 393 for marijuana-related offenses, and 413 for smoking.
Additionally, 28 citations were handed out for public urination, 51 for riding a skateboard or bicycle where prohibited, and four for noise violations.
OCPD officers were assaulted 165 times, in 2020, 11 resulting in injuries, which the chief pointed out shows how dangerous the job can be for them.
Buzzuro highlighted programs like one that has trained civilians to help the police department through volunteer efforts since 1999. The citizen volunteers help OCPD during events such as Springfest, Sunfest and Winterfest, participate in the Reducing the Availability of Alcohol to Minors program, or RAAM, and the citizen police academy.
The chief’s presentation also stated that Kathy Grimes was named the Auxiliary Officer of the Year in 2020. Grimes gave 1,240 hours of service to the department and Ocean City.
The chief also talked about several programs that OCPD helps out with in the community.
Last year, OCPD held a toy drive that benefitted the Worcester County Giving Other Lives Dignity (G.O.L.D.), helped with the Special Olympics of Maryland and participated in a Boy Scout dedication ceremony at the county rifle range.