OCEAN CITY — There was a bit of a shakeup in the Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) rankings this week with the announcement of the retirement of a long-time lieutenant followed quickly by the promotion of another officer to replace him.
The OCPD announced this month Lieutenant Howard Whaley was retiring after 27 years with the department. Whaley, who started with the town of Ocean City in 1987, spent the majority of his career in the patrol division and was most recently a shift commander.
Whaley worked as a seasonal records clerk during the summer of 1987 and served as a seasonal officer for the next two summers before being hired as a full-time officer in September 1989. During his tenure with the OCPD, Whaley was a breath test operator for 24 years and supervised multiple units including the Noise Unit, the Animal Control Unit and the Field Training Officer Program.
Whaley, who plans to return to the OCPD as a part-time reserve officer, thanked those around him for assisting in his 27-year career.
“I would like to thank the Chief of Police and all the members of the Ocean City Police Department for all their help and assistance over the past several years,” he said. “I’d also like to thank the Mayor and City Council for the opportunity to work for the town.”
For his part, Chief Ross Buzzuro thanked Whaley for his nearly three decades of service.
“Lieutenant Whaley was an integral part of this department and his presence on the command staff will be missed,” he said.
With the announcement of Whaley’s retirement, Buzzuro wasted no time finding his replacement with the promotion of Sergeant James “Art” Grady to the rank of lieutenant this week. Grady will fill the position of Day Shift Commander vacated by Whaley’s retirement.
Grady joined the OCPD as a seasonal officer in 1994 and was hired as a full-time officer in 1997. Grady has spent more than 20 summers working on the Boardwalk and his assignments have included uniform foot patrol, uniform bicycle patrol and plainclothes operations. During the summers of 2015 and 2016, Grady was chosen to be the commander of the Evening South Shift, the unit responsible for patrolling the Boardwalk during the most heavily populated times of day.
Grady is a state of Maryland certified police instructor, specializing in constitutional law, defensive tactics, less-lethal alternatives, and responding to calls for service. He has also served as a member of the department’s Bicycle Unit, Quick Response Team, Defensive Tactics Unit, and was selected to be one of the agency’s original Taser instructors.
During the course of his career, Grady has earned 15 commendation medals, including a Bronze Star in 1998 for capturing an offender who committed several violent armed robberies He also earned the Neighborhood Watch Officer of the Year award in 2003. Grady’s promotion sparked other changes in the department this week.
Corporal Frank Soscia was promoted to the rank of sergeant and Police Officer-First Class Michael Kelly was promoted to the rank of corporal.