OCEAN CITY – It’s coming down to the wire for high school
seniors throughout the country as another school year comes to a close. With
high school behind them, many seniors take advantage of the early summer season
and flock to vacation spots all along the eastern shore, especially Ocean City
where an estimated 100,000 seniors will hit the sand in June.
In response to the popularity of Ocean City among young
adults, the Ocean City Police Department recently partnered with Comcast
Delmarva to produce 500 copies of an informational DVD aimed to encourage high
school seniors to make informed, healthy choices while having responsible fun
without the use of alcohol and other drugs while in Ocean City.
On Tuesday, a news conference was held where town
officials, including Police Chief Bernadette DiPino and Mayor Rick Meehan, were
in attendance as well as several representatives of Comcast.
The video, which began filming in November and finished up
production in February with the help of the OCPD, Stephen Decatur High School
students and members of the Comcast Spotlight team, was given the green light
when Comcast approached the OCPD back in the summer offering their help with
any other services since they had been making public service announcements
together since 1996.
According to the OCPD’s Community Service Coordinator
Barry Neeb, the idea of the video was something he had been thinking about for
a while after more and more high schools in the region began asking for the
OCPD to speak at their schools concerning senior weeks, something the OCPD has
been doing for over 10 years now.
“Since we can’t get to all of these high schools, it would
be great if we could bring the message to them in another format other than a
live body since we just can’t accommodate all those requests,” he said.
Neeb said the requests are not limited to Maryland. They
come from all over the Mid-Atlantic region, even from as far away as New York.
With 500 copies of the DVD, Neeb said the OCPD can be in all of these places
without taxing the manpower of the department.
DiPino thanked Comcast for its generosity and said crime
prevention is the OCPD’s No. 1 task. She also said the video itself will give a
lot of insight to seniors looking into visiting Ocean City and will prepare
them for the local laws as well as what the police officers here expect.
“We don’t know how many lives we are going to touch but I
can assure you it’s going to be a lot,” she said. “If we make a difference in
just one life, just one life, because of this DVD, then we have made a huge
Meehan praised Comcast for its support of such a worthy
initiative and mentioned how it’s the parents of these young adults who entrust
the town with the safety of their children.
“Our goal in Ocean City is to make sure they have a safe
time while they are here and they return home safely, that’s our goal,” he
said. “By viewing this in advance, I think that will encourage that type of
activity to happen.”
Henry Pearl, vice president of Comcast Delmarva, said the
video would touch places where the OCPD’s resources may not have been able to
reach before. In addition to the 500 DVDs that will be distributed, Pearl said
Comcast will make the video available to 2.7 million Comcast subscribers, from
New Jersey down to Virginia, through their video on demand program.
“We think, in addition to the distribution, with our video
on demand opportunity that we’ll be able to touch many more lives and prevent
incidents from occurring, making [seniors’] stay in Ocean City as memorable as
it should be,” he said.
“The name of the game in prevention,” Neeb responded.
“Prevention is a business where you don’t always see tangible results. You
don’t know what you’ve prevented.”
The video itself features Neeb as well as Lois Twilley, a
health educator from the Worcester County Health Department, and touches on
everything from underage drinking and the consequences it has, to tips on what
officers are looking for and where to go for medical attention.
On Wednesday, Neeb said that the DVD paired with the
efforts of Ocean City’s Play It Safe Program, which is sponsoring 58 events
alone over the course of June for high school seniors to participate in, will
hopefully curb some of the underage drinking and disorderly conduct that takes
Neeb said there are no future projects planned with
Comcast in the immediate future but said as long as they are willing to be a
partner in public safety the OCPD would be glad to work with them again.
partnership by definition means people working together for a common goal,” he
said. “This is the epitome of a partnership and this is an important one
because it’s going to save lives.”