(Aug.2, 2019) Ocean City residents and visitors will have the chance to get to know their local police officers better, as well as their mounted and K-9 units, at Ocean City National Night Out, Tuesday Aug. 6.
The event will have three different locations – officers will be at Caine’s Woods at Fiesta Park from 5-7 p.m., Montego Bay at the end of Assateague Court off Gulf Stream Drive from 6-8 p.m. and Bayshore Drive at Gullway Villas (2628 Lark Lane) from 6-8 p.m.
According to Ocean City Officer Kory Moerschel, guests will be greeted by a police officer and can see mounted unit demonstrations at Montego Bay and Caine Woods and K-9 unit demonstrations at Caine Woods. Children and adults can interact with the horses and dogs and learn how they work with the officers. Each location will either have a barbecue or potluck style dinner.
National Night Out began 35 years ago when a member of a Pennsylvania neighborhood watch wanted to connect officers with the community. The event is now in all 50 states, some regions of Canada and in U.S. military bases worldwide.
Ashley Miller, deputy communications manager with the resort police department, finds the event especially important to dispel any negative perceptions of police officers. Residents and visitors can meet officers in a casual and relaxed setting.
“It’s all about seeing our community and actually getting to listen to them and interact with them,” Miller said.
Moerschel said he is looking forward to enhancing the already good relationship with the community.
“Bringing all them together and allowing our business owners, community members, even some of the churches that donate food for this event – to come together and interact is great for the community,” Moerschel said.
She emphasized that the officers will be promoting the Citizen’s Police Academy this year. The program allows citizens to meet officers, learn about Ocean City laws and how officers enforce those laws.
“Last year, we opened it up to being with all the allied agencies around – Maryland State Police, Worcester County, Ocean Pines Police and us,” Miller said. “We all come together to give our citizens a view as to what it’s like to process crime scenes, what do officers do on a daily basis, and we do a lot of demonstrations – hands on – so they actually get to see what it’s like to be an officer in this area,” Miller said.
She said Auxiliary Officer Kathy Grimes will circulate the Ocean City locations to chat about the Citizen’s Police Academy.
Miller also added that in a town of both year-round residents and seasonal visitors, it’s mostly local community members that attend.
“It helps shine a light,” Miller said. “We didn’t forget about our local citizens with all the tourists in town, but you also do have your tourists that will come out to them – some people that will have a summer home here in Ocean City and they get to know that whether you live here year round, whether you’re here for a few days, or a couple weeks, we’re here to support you guys and we appreciate the support that they give to us.”
But that doesn’t mean seasonal visitors are forgotten, either.
“There’s people that are excited for that event, so they plan their vacation around to see their favorite police officers and other community leaders that are at these events,” Moerschel said.
Moerschel said National Night Out also is a chance for the officers to thank business owners and community members for their support.
For more information about National Night Out and the Citizen’s Police Academy, call the Ocean City Police Department at 410-723-6633.