Ocean City News In Brief

OCEAN CITY — In the brief this week, the Ocean City Police Department got a grant for some new technology, and the Fire Marshal’s Office reminded single-family homeowners that they too need a carbon monoxide detector.

Police Department Gets Nod

For New Surveillance Gear

Captain Robert Bokinsky of the Ocean City Police Department asked for permission to use newly acquired grant money to purchase what he called “the most prevalent forms of evidence acquisition used nowadays.”

After getting approved for a $21,000 Byrne Justice Recovery Act Grant from the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention, Bokinsky got the unanimous nod from the Mayor and City Council to purchase a Signalscape StarWitness Field Agent, which is essentially a digital evidence extraction and enhancement tool that will be used primarily for the Forensic Services Unit.

“Other than fingerprinting, this is one of the most important tools for our officers in the field for surveillance,” said Bokinsky.

Bokinsky said that with this system, the department would now be able to validate and use recorded surveillance materials from businesses or other systems and transfer the data to their own system.

“It causes a great hardship for us, sometimes we have to take the hard drive and download their player, and it’s very time consuming,” said Bokinsky. “With this system, we will be able to capture it and put it onto our system right from the scene, and create print outs to send to our officers in the field almost immediately.”

Video surveillance is widely used as a big tool in solving crimes all over the world, and Bokinsky said that because of Ocean City’s largely transient population, the StarWitness technology will provide timely access to necessary evidence that the officer’s need by ensuring that any video footage acquired in the town of Ocean City could be easily accessed by local authorities.

Fire Marshal Gaining Ground

On CO Detector Compliance

Fire Marshal Sam Villani was given praise for taking on the carbon monoxide (CO) issue “head on” this week as he updated the Mayor and City Council on the ongoing inspections for compliance of the town’s CO law.

Villani and his crew have been conducting inspections since Aug. 13. He said that “nearly 100 percent” of the 124 buildings inspected have complied with the town’s law.

The fire marshal also noted that the inspections, when added to the number of certificates citing CO law compliance from property owners, the estimated percentage of city-wide compliance was nearing 40 percent of the town’s 32,000 dwelling units.

“This number is based solely on the numbers of units that the Fire Marshal’s Office has actually inspected or received certificates for, and not city-wide compliance,” said Villani. “Additionally, this number does not include single-family homes, duplexes or town houses, as those structures are not within the enforcement scope of our laws.”

Approximately 9,300 rental licensees and business licensees will be receiving a door-to-door public outreach pamphlet that will include the CO compliance certification letter that should be mailed into the Fire Marshal’s Office to ensure a larger tabulated percentage of compliance within the town.

Starting Oct. 26, according to Villain, fire crews and EMT’s will be personally distributing the public education flyers in the public outreach program and inspections for CO and smoke detector compliance will continue seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., except for holidays.

Villani also said that more than 100 letters have been sent to properties that have fuel-burning equipment and his office is working with Eastern Shore Gas in order to get a list of the properties that have fuel-burning equipment.

“If you have any fuel burning equipment, you need a CO detector, whether it’s a condo, town house, or single-family home,” Villani said.

After hearing the presentation, members of the council tipped their proverbial hat to the town’s fire marshal’s office.

“You guys are jumping all over this, and you are saving lives as a result,” said Councilman Jim Hall. “I applaud what you guys have done so far.”