OCEAN CITY – The Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) had a number of items scheduled during this week’s Mayor and City Council meeting including the release of the department’s year-end report.
“We saw a decrease of 8.9 percent in serious crime, which is a very good number,” OCPD Chief Bernadette DiPino reported. “The men and woman of the OCPD worked hard in 2011 to keep the residents and visitors safe, and I commend them and our community partners for this success.”
According to the report, in 2011 the OCPD was allocated $19,512,788 in the budget and used $19,380,752, which saved $132,036. Since 2005, the OCPD has produced an overall savings of about $2.5 million.
There was a 1.3-percent increase in calls for service in 2011, compared to 2010. The calls for service category refers to total calls for service generated by citizens. It includes both criminal and non-criminal incidents documented by the OCPD.
The total enforcement actions category refers to all arrests made by the OCPD regardless of the crime including municipal or ordinance arrests for crimes, such as noise, or more serious crimes, such as robbery. In 2011, there 3,829 total enforcement actions made and 17, 083 traffic and criminal citations, warnings and equipment repair orders, which total 20,912 enforcement actions.
In 2011, there were 1,813 total alcohol-related citations, which was an increase of 9.5 percent. There were also 267 driving while intoxicated (DWI) arrests made and 1,166 drug arrests made.
There were 50 weapons arrests made in the last calendar year. This category refers to the arrests made for various types of weapons, including; guns, knives, bats and other instruments defined as weapons by the State of Maryland. This year’s weapon arrests decreased from 2010 when there were 87.
There were 59 officers assaulted in 2011, which is an increase from 2010 when there were four. This category refers to police officers who were physically assaulted in the line of duty. Assaults may be in the form of weapons and/or physical violence and may or may not result in injury to the officers involved.
In 2011, there were 366 noise complaints made and in 2010 there were less with 324. But there were less reportable traffic collisions this year, a decrease of 16 percent. Additionally, pedestrian traffic related collisions were down.
“Congratulations on the reduction in crime and keeping us safe,” Councilman Brent Ashley said,
However, Ashley couldn’t help but point out that while serious crimes in Ocean City were reduced, less serious crimes are on the rise.
“It has always been my philosophy that when you handle the small issues the more serious crimes go down, and those more serious crimes are the ones that impact the citizens of our community the most,” DiPino said.
This week Ocean City was also awarded a Local Government Insurance Trust (LGIT) Grant Award. Ocean City’s LGIT Training Grant has been approved for two police lieutenants to attend the 2012 National Hurricane Conference in the amount of $3,538.
“This will be the fourth time we have presented a check in this amount and a total since 2005 of $15,000,” LGIT Executive Director Tim Ailsworth said. “In addition to that, LGIT has trained 101 of your employees during that period of time as well.”
Ailsworth furthered that LGIT started in 1987 at a time when local governments in Maryland could not find insurance and 20 localities joined together to form the trust and today stand with 176 members.
Worcester County attorney Sonny Bloxom represents Ocean City within LGIT and currently serves as the trust’s vice chair.
“On behalf of the two lieutenants that will be going to the training at the hurricane conference and of the OCPD, we would really like to thank LGIT for selecting us for this grant money,” DiPino said. “It will be used to fund them going to training and we really appreciate it.”
Last, but not least, DiPino recognized Sgt. Gary Holtzman’s retirement after close to 28 years of service with the department.
While working with the OCPD, Holtzman was involved in the patrol division as a patrolman, sergeant, K-9 handler and the mounted unit. He also served in the services division as a desk sergeant, criminal investigations division as a general assignment detective, and the narcotics unit as a detective and D/Sgt.
In 2002, he was assigned to legacy U.S. Customs, which later became Immigration and Customs Enforcement and is currently known as Department of Homeland Security/Office of Investigations where he works until retirement.
Holtzman has received numerous commendations including the Silver Star and was the1991 Police Officer of the Year.
“I have never worked with a more honorable, dedicated, professional individual than Sgt. Gary Holtzman,” DiPino said. “I have some very fond memories and stories I share with him.”