Council, Elected Officials Honor Departing Chief

OCEAN CITY — Outgoing Ocean City Police Chief Bernadette DiPino was honored this week with recognition and a key to the city from the Mayor and Council and special commendations from the town’s representatives in Annapolis including the governor.

At the outset of Monday’s Mayor and Council meeting, Councilman Joe Mitrecic, speaking on behalf of the absent Mayor Rick Meehan, read into the record a special proclamation recognizing DiPino’s nearly 25-year career with the Ocean City Police Department including the last nine as Chief of Police. Earlier this fall, DiPino announced she was retiring from the OCPD after a 24-year career and in October, it was announced she had been hired as the chief of police for Sarasota, Fla. after being named one of the five finalists following a national search.

A special farewell celebration and going-away party for DiPino was held on Wednesday at St. Andrew’s Catholic Church, but before that festive occasion arrived, the council took time on Monday to recognize the chief’s numerous accomplishments, accolades and appointments to various boards and commissions and to recognize her two decades-plus of service to Ocean City.

Mitrecic read a proclamation and presented DiPino with a key to the city. State Senator Jim Mathias, who was not present on Monday, submitted a congratulatory statement read into the record on behalf of the entire Maryland Senate membership. Also read into the record was a Governor’s Citation for DiPino sent on behalf of Gov. Martin O’Malley recognizing the chief’s accomplishments and wishing her well in her new endeavor.

Finally, Delegate Mike McDermott (R-38B), who represents Ocean City and the lower shore and is a career law enforcement officer in Worcester County, presented another commendation on behalf of his colleagues in the House of Delegates. McDermott said he had followed DiPino’s career since she first joined the OCPD in 1988.

“I remember when she was hired here and I’ve watched as her career has grown and blossomed,” he said. “To be the chief of police in Ocean City is such a high calling because it’s a unique situation. The town goes from being one of the largest in the state during the summer to a small town for much of the year. It’s really being two different types of chief. To find someone who can master both of those is special.”

McDermott praised DiPino for breaking down gender barriers to rise to the top of the department.

“This is an All-American city because of the people you’ve hired here,” he said. “In a male-dominated field of law enforcement, she paved the way for a lot of young ladies and broke through and shattered the glass ceiling in Ocean City.”

For her part, DiPino thanked the council and the elected officials for their kind words and thanked the Ocean City community she will soon be leaving.

“I will truly miss Ocean City and this entire community,” she said. “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if I get half the support from the community in Sarasota as I’ve received in Ocean City, I’ll be quite successful.”