OCPD To Honor Officers’ Military Service With Special Pin

OCEAN CITY — Resort officials last week approved two amendment to the Ocean City Police Department’s special orders, including a measure to honor officers with active or former military service with a special service pin.

Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) Chief Ross Buzzuro last Tuesday presented the Mayor and Council with two revisions to the department’s general orders. The first recommended the establishment of a special service pin to be worn on an officers’ uniform recognizing his or her active or former military service. The second was disciplinary in nature and essentially extended the deadline by which a complaint could be filed against an OCPD officer for alleged excessive force.

In terms of the special recognition for military service, Buzzuro explained those eligible would include officers who have served in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps or Coast Guard whether on active duty or reserve or on National Guard units, or those currently serving in select reserve or National Guard units.

“This will allow us to give them recognition for their service in the form of a special service pin on their uniforms,” said Buzzuro. “We currently have 60 officers who are active military or who have prior service.”

Councilman Wayne Hartman made a motion to approve the special order revision and the council approved it unanimously.

“It’s unfortunate we haven’t recognized their service prior to this,” he said. “I’ll gladly make the motion to accept the revision.”

The second general order revision on the table on Tuesday would bring the OCPD’s disciplinary process in line with changes in state law that went into effect in October. Buzzuro explained state lawmakers last year passed the Police Reform Act, which made changes to how citizen complaints of excessive force by police officers across Maryland were handled, particularly the deadline for filing timely complaints. The new state law went into effect on Oct. 1.

“Administrative charges may not be brought against a sworn employee unless filed within one year after the act that gives rise to the charges, but the one-year limitation does not apply to charges related to criminal activity or excessive force,” he said. “The deadline for filing a complaint for excessive force used to be 90 days, but now, under the new law, it is 366 days.”

The council voted unanimously to approve the revision to the special order regarding excessive force.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.