OCEAN CITY – Sgt. Regina Custer is retiring from the Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) with her retirement badge gleaming just as bright as the day she received it 30 years ago.
“It is with a sad heart but also one full of pride that I recognize Sgt. Regina Custer that is retiring after 30 years of law enforcement with the Ocean City Police Department,” Ocean City Police Chief Bernadette DiPino said during Monday evening’s Mayor and City Council legislative session. “I have worked with her for many years and I am very proud of her. She has the distinction of being the longest reigning female police officer in the police department’s history.”
Prior to joining the police department full-time in January 1984, Custer was a seasonal records clerk and a seasonal police officer. She has since worked her way up the ranks, being promoted to Pfc. in 1981, corporal in 2006 and sergeant in January 2012.
Custer holds a Masters and Bachelor’s Degree in Management from Johns Hopkins University. Also, she has an Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Montgomery College. In May 2002, Custer was the first law enforcement officer from the Eastern Shore of Maryland to be accepted into the highly competitive “Police Executive Leadership Program” at Johns Hopkins. She completed the three-year program in 2005.
DiPino added during Custer’s career with the OCPD she has earned the distinction of having worked or supervised in all four divisions of the department — patrol, criminal investigation, services and administration.
“She has patrolled the streets by foot, bicycle, horse, golf cart, and in marked and unmarked police under cover vehicles,” DiPino said.
Throughout Custer’s career, she has been involved in several services to the department. She co-founded the department’s “morale committee” in 1991, co-founded the departments Christmas toy-drive in November 1994, served as an active member of the Honor Guard for over 22 years, has been a member of the departments “peer support” team since 1998 and is the department’s historian. She spearheaded a committee that researched the OCPD history and managed several events celebrating the police department’s 100th Anniversary that took place throughout 1998. In 2009, she was part of a select team of officers who provided security at the 56th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, DC.
During the course of her career with the OCPD, Custer received numerous commendations and citations including Excellent Police Performance awards and Meritorious Service awards for various investigations handled throughout her career. In 1998, she was awarded the Neighborhood Watch Outstanding Service Award for her work on the preservation of the department’s history. Custer has also been awarded two Maryland State Police Superintendent Awards, a Baltimore County Commander Award and Mid-Atlantic Association of Women in Law Enforcement Scholarship Award.
After retirement, Custer plans on spending more time with family, continuing genealogical work on family history and traveling back to Alaska to visit with friends. She has an avid interest in photography, searching for old shipwreck debris and traveling.
At Monday’s meeting, DiPino presented Custer with her retirement badge.
“The day you get this badge there is nothing that impacts you more than when this is pinned on your chest and you wear it throughout your whole career,” DiPino said. “It is shiny when you get it and I am very proud to say Regina’s is just as shiny if not shinier from all the things she has done in her career.”
Next, Mayor Rick Meehan presented a Proclamation to Custer for her 30 years of service with the OCPD as well as a Key to the City.
“I would just like to say thank you to the city for allowing me to serve. It is not going to end, I am going to stick around as a reservist, and you can’t get rid of me. I appreciate the honor of letting me work so many years for the town,” Custer said. “I would especially like to thank my family, my husband who is also an officer and for my moral support there. My sister, who when my children were very small was there to help with daycare and last-minute calls … and my children … they sacrificed a lot with me coming in and doing the job I needed to do and I appreciate their support and just making my life awesome.”