OCPD Captains To Serve As Interim Chiefs

OCEAN CITY – All three Ocean City police captains have been chosen to serve as acting police chief for 45-day stints, while Ocean City searches for a permanent hire by the beginning of next summer.

Following a short Mayor and City Council work session this week, City Manager David Recor asked the council to return to closed session for just a few minutes regarding a personnel matter.

When the council returned to report on the brief closed session, Recor explained the council approved the recommendation to rotate the three current captains within the Ocean City Police Department on a 45-day basis as interim chief upon Police Chief Bernadette DiPino’s absence at the end of this year.

The three police captains will rotate by seniority, beginning with Kevin Kirstein, then Michael Colbert and then Gregory Guiton.

Recor pointed out based on the selection process and the chosen candidate having to give the required notice, whether it is an internal or external candidate, the process could take anywhere from 60 to 120 days.

“Our goal is to have a police chief named by the start of the summer season but again the goal of conducting a national search was to cast the widest net possible, recognizing that the most qualified candidate may in fact come from within the Ocean City Police Department,” he said. “We wanted to recognize the candidates that we have without giving one an unfair advantage over another because there will likely be other members within the command staff that will apply for the position.”

Recor said he has confidence in each of the captains’ abilities, having seen them work together in a variety of situations, for example during Hurricane Sandy and the Strategic Planning Initiative that is currently taking place.

“Seeing them work so well together has reinforced my belief that this was the right recommendation,” he said.

Two weeks ago, Recor provided the council with the job description that has not been updated since 2002. He received feedback from the council in moving forward with revisions to the description, which will also need to be certified by the FBI National Academy before recruitment takes place.

Ocean City will essentially be handling the police chief search. On Jan. 17, a proposal will be received from the International City/Council Management (ICMA) Center for Public Safety Management on how to facilitate the assessment of candidates during the hiring process.

“Ocean City, as a first-class resort, has a lot of name recognition. We have already received a lot of inquiries,” Recor said. “The opportunity to come work in Ocean City has received a lot of attention … so we don’t need head hunters to handle the recruitment process for us. Our challenge is to find a police chief that is a good fit for the Ocean City community and that is what the ICMA Center for Public Safety Management is going to help us with.”

According to the ICMA Center for Public Safety Management’s mission, it assists local governments in identifying police or fire chiefs through original research conducted by identifying the core competencies of police and fire managers and providing assessment center resources. The Chief Selection Advantage program allows local governments to tailor their selection process to meet the needs of their community by utilizing our research on the core competencies necessary for successful police and fire management.