OCEAN CITY – The Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) named this week a new captain following a change in the department’s structure, despite two councilmen’s concerns on how it will affect the department’s budget in the future.
The OCPD announced that Lt. Gregory Guiton will be filling the new captain’s position.
“He has been instrumental in working with the chief of police and hoping to update and promote professional standards throughout the organization over the past several years,” Pfc. Michael Levy said on Thursday.
Guiton has worked with the police department for over 25 years and is currently the lieutenant of the department’s professional standards division. Once his promotion takes effect on Jan. 13, he will become captain of the Support Services division.
Guiton’s promotion came about following this week’s Mayor and City Council meeting when the council approved a General Order to revise the police department’s structure.
The order is a revision to the current outline of the police department as it was structured under former Chief David Massey in October of 2000.
The revision reflects the command structure utilizing an Office of the Chief and three divisions — Patrol, Support Services and Criminal Investigation.
Prior to the recent retirements of Captain Victor Bunting and Captain Robert Bokinsky, the police department was organized under a structure with four captains but as two captains are left the General Order would place the department under a structure with three captains with each assigned to a division, which allowed for a promotion from within the police department.
During Tuesday evening’s Mayor and City Council meeting, Councilman Doug Cymek said that he was not going to vote to approve the General Order. He said that in a closed session held before that evening’s meeting there was minimal discussion on the matter and a lot of questions were left unanswered.
In light of the recent reassessment confirming further declining property values, which will result in significantly less property tax revenue for the city, Cymek voiced his concern over budget cuts that the council faces in the near future in relationship to the department’s re-organization.
“We are trying to get more officers on the street rather than on the top end of the police department,” he said.
Despite Cymek’s concerns, the City Council voted 4-2, with Councilmen Lloyd Martin and Cymek in opposition and Joe Hall absent, to approve the new structure. The General Order required the approval of Mayor Rick Meehan, who supported it.
Subsequent to the vote, DiPino stated that the department has as many officers on the street that it possibly can currently and in the summertime that number is increased. She added that the police department is prepared to look over its budget to find any possible changes to reduce costs, such as positions that can be civilianized.
“I think those questions should have been answered before we did that,” Cymek furthered on Wednesday. “It is going to be a tough budget here and I was hoping the chief would consider trying it without a third captain, or at least give it an opportunity.”
Cymek said that DiPino kept referring to the new format as the optimum organization of the department, but he did not agree as the city and its taxpayers are going through tough economic times. He and Martin feel that there is an opportunity to restructure the department as far as filling in the support staff with civilians and having sworn police officers move back out onto the streets.
“We do have some manpower staffing issues from time to time and I feel, as Lloyd [Martin] does, that the department is top heavy,” Cymek said. “It is all about money. Times are tough and we need to streamline.”
Cymek added that even with six cadets just graduating from the police academy the department’s daily schedule still falls short. He also pointed out there are nine officers entering the academy in January but their services will not be available until the end of this year or the beginning of next year.
“I know optimally she [Chief DiPino] thought that three captains is the best configuration, but we got it from good sources that this job can be accomplished with two,” Cymek said.
Ironically preceding the approval of the General Order, Captain Robert Bokinsky’s retirement was recognized.
Bokinsky’s retirement comes after more than 31 years of service with the OCPD. He first served in the department from 1979 to 1983 and rejoined in 1985.
Bokinsky graduated number one in his police academy class and was promoted to sergeant in 1988, lieutenant in 1991 and captain in 2000. He has received over a dozen commendations for exceptional performance and was named “Officer of the Year” in 1986.
As Bokinsky retires from the OCPD, he has accepted a job as the Chief of Police of the Pella, Iowa Police Department.
“We are sad and are going to miss Captain Bokinsky but I am very excited at the prospect of having Lt. Guiton become a captain in charge of our support services,” DiPino said on Thursday. “He is a very dedicated, trustworthy and a hardworking commander. He is going to do an outstanding job as a captain.”
In other police news, Ocean City Police Sergeant William F. Bunting has retired after serving a total of more than 31 years with the OCPD. Bunting was a member of the department from April 1973 to May 1977 and rejoined the department in August 1984.
During his career, Bunting served as a patrol sergeant, criminal investigations sergeant, narcotics sergeant and desk sergeant.
Bunting served in the United States Coast Guard. He also worked as a commercial lobster fisherman and in marine construction.
“To my co-workers it has been an honor to have had the opportunity to work with such dedicated people,” Bunting said. “I have spent 31 years with OCPD and have met some of the finest people.”