(Nov. 2, 2018) OCPD Sgt. Mark Paddack shared tearful memories from decades on patrol during a City Council work session on Tuesday that also happened to be his last day with the force.
“I do have some words to say ... it’s going to take me a few minutes to get through this,” he said.
Paddack, who joined OCPD in 1990 and retired this week after nearly three decades in uniform, is currently campaigning for a City Council seat.
With his departure from the force at age 57, Paddack would finally be eligible to serve on the council.
“I think I did most of my crying this morning when I was putting together my uniform,” he said. “This is the last day I will wear this uniform.”
Earlier that day, Paddack said conversations with coworkers triggered a flood of emotions as he was “bawling, sitting in a police car on Coastal Highway, acting as a deterrent for speeders.”
It took a few years on patrol for Paddack to fully appreciate living in a small town that watches out for its own.
“I didn’t know until about eight-to-ten years on the job just how wonderful the Town of Ocean City and the citizens that live in it are,” he said. “As long as you’re willing to give the shirt off your back to help someone in this town, they will come back and help you.”
Paddack was overcome with emotion recalling two-dozen years serving on OCPD’s Quick Response Team.
“They serve a vital and critical role in the safety of this town and they don’t get enough credit for what they do,” he said. “The guys that I served with, when the crap hits the fan and it’s for real, these guys were going to have my back, or I was going to have their back.”
Paddack offered a parting gift for Mayor Rick Meehan.
“The first gift I would like to give back to the town ... is a pair of my handcuffs,” he said. “I’ve carried these handcuffs for 30 years. Back then we had to buy our own [but] today, through negotiations, the city provides us with handcuffs.”
Noting the innumerable wrists the cuffs have been around, Paddack offered the mayor one caveat.
“I want you to have these to hang in your office, [but] I don’t have a key for them,” he quipped.
Paddack said lending assistance to the community comes with one expectation.
“I’ll give you the shirt off my back, just don’t ever let me down,” he said. “I am now a citizen and no longer a policeman of Ocean City.”