(July 31, 2020) The Ocean City Police Department is promoting its “Trespassing Enforcement Authorization Program,” T.E.A.P. for short, which allows local law enforcement to act on behalf of property owners in addressing trespassing violations.
“The goal is to try to reach out to our residents, property owners [and] businesses that are not open 24/7, 365 [days a year] to get them … in this program to be able to efficiently address problems that could occur on their private property when they’re not open,” said Ashley Miller, police deputy communications manager.
Miller said since joining the police department last year, she has been attempting to revive programs that have gathered dust, such as the several-years-old trespass program.
Primarily targeting business owners, the program would grant police the authority to enforce trespassing laws without needing to contact owners and managers.
“Say a neighbor calls in and says, ‘There’s a large group in this parking lot,’” Miller said. “Because it’s private property, the police cannot just go in and clear out the lot. We have to have permission from the owner of that lot in order to have the people removed, because we don’t know [if] they are allowed to be there … We have to get the background on that.”
Allowing police to bypass that step helps law enforcement react more quickly to a situation, she said.
Miller said officers will investigate the situation and deem whether citations or arrests are necessary.
After property owner submits an application to the police department, an officer is sent to do a site review and determine how many signs are needed.
The signs act as a warning to the public, and features the specific code section the program falls under.
In order to get more members of the community involved, Miller said the department is waiving all sign fees this year.
“It’s just another tool that our police department is trying to use and get out and about to our community to let them know that we have additional crime prevention programs to try to bring them some piece of mind,” Miller said.
To apply visit https://oceancitymd.gov/oc/departments/police/.