The Ocean City Police Commission met on Wednesday for its regular scheduled meeting to discuss the following items:
Ocean City Police Department Chief Ross Buzzuro told the commission that there was a significant decrease in calls for service between September 2019 and 2021 – statistics in 2020 do not fall in line with a typical year because of the covid-19 pandemic.
Buzzuro said the total number of calls for service between 2019 and 2021 – not including traffic stops, business checks, and calls for citizen assistance – dropped by approximately 1,500, with 5,388 reported in September 2019 and 3,804 in September 2021.
Of the calls for service, the top 10 all showed decreases. For instance, the number of calls for disorderly behavior went from 787 to 427; calls for 911 hang-ups dropped from 326 to 301; and calls for parking violations or complaints decreased from 535 to 197.
Domestic disputes increased from 65 to 71, and calls regarding controlled dangerous substances went up from 37 to 39 – in 2020, there were 86 calls on the matter.
The number of custodial arrests between September 2019 and 2020 dropped from 293 to 278 while the number of criminal citations increased from 10 to 12 between those years.
There were more drug arrests during the month in 2021 than 2019, with 21 and 14, respectively, and four more arrests for DUI this year than in 2019.
Also on the rise were the number of arrests for weapons, with 30 last month compared to 12 in 2019.
And finally, the department continued to enforce a ban on smoking and vaping on the Boardwalk by issuing 22 citations in September 2021 compared to 4 in Sept. 2019
Buzzuro praised his department and supporting agencies for their efforts in planning for the pop-up tuner car rally that took place from Sept. 21-26.
“As anticipated ... my belief was that we were 100 percent prepared,” the chief said. “There had been a lot of time and effort to put into the pop-up rally.”
In previous years, the pop-up rally attracted a much younger crowd of car enthusiasts. Rather than being fans of classic cars, the pop-up crowd is more into Asian-made vehicles like Honda and Mitsubishi that are tuned to make loud popping noises and ride very low to the ground.
The police department was able to put the attendees into a submission hold by dropping speed limits across town, enforcing all traffic violations and illegal car modifications, and various other methods.
“Suffice to say, we were pleased as to how the pop-up went,” Buzzuro said. “We look forward to using a very similar model as we move to next year and the following years. All-in-all, it was a very positive event.”
Some OCPD officers in the field were equipped with body-worn cameras for the past 30 days, according to Buzzuro, and now that the trial with that vendor is complete, the department plans to proceed with another trial period with a different vendor.
Buzzuro said his department plans to review the video from the first 30 days and so far, things have been very positive.
The chief’s goal is to have the entire force outfitted with cameras by Summer 2022, but there is still a lot of work that needs to be done.
In fact, the department will meet with additional vendors to ensure it has enough information to decide on which one to go with, he explained.