(Feb. 12, 2021) Officer calls for service in January 2021 were down 54 percent compared to last year, and Ocean City Police Department Chief Ross Buzzuro said the numbers are directly related to a drop in visitorship due to covid.
Buzzuro, after a relatively quiet Ocean City shoulder season, is surprised and optimistic after OCPD saw an increase in new seasonal police officer applicants, up from 109 applicants last year to 156.
Fewer officers failed the program this year, 26 applicants have been hired, and 53 applicants remain in the process, said Buzzuro. As businesses owners hope for a busy summer season, the promise of increased seasonal police force presence is welcome news.
Public safety aid applicants, however, have decreased this year, partially due to matriculation from aid to officer positions. Nine public safety aids have been hired and remain in the academy, and ten aids will be returning for a second season.
Mayor Rick Meehan asked Buzzuro to clarify how many public safety aids the town can anticipate returning from last year, and Buzzuro said 45 percent of last year’s aids will return.
Buzzuro hopes to continue efforts to bring back more of last year’s trained aids, but the issue, he said, is that “[public safety aids] are joining departments from all over because now they’re eligible. We’re fortunate because we are at our constant, but other departments are experiencing vacancies, so they are hiring officers that have worked with us.”
Buzzuro assured Meehan that the public safety aid presence and a potential increase in seasonal officers will allow OCPD to be a strong presence in Ocean City as the town anticipates, hopefully, a busy summer.