One of the many unknowns after last week’s task force meeting on motorized events is why a proposed action plan – endorsed by Ocean City’s police commission evidently without the support of the police department – was ever created.
At last Thursday’s meeting of the motorized task force, which was borne out of a dangerous series of motor vehicle weekends in 2017, Ocean City Police Chief Ross Buzzuro essentially dismissed many suggestions put forward in the action plan. Buzzuro systematically addressed the many suggestions as either unrealistic, regarding increasing law enforcement personnel and writing more citations; impossible, describing the option of having the National Guard on standby for these weekends; and “unconstitutional,” referencing a proposed curfew for businesses and motorists.
As a result of the objections he raised, it’s clear the police commission and the police department were not on the same page on the “Ocean City Motor Events Action Plan,” which suggested “immediate action is required to reverse this undesired trend of lawlessness, civil disobedience and disrespect for our town.”
While it’s difficult to argue with that intention, it’s clear the plan was premature and not representative of law enforcement. We have to wonder why there was no communication with the police department on an action plan endorsed by a commission with the name “police” in its title and presented to the Mayor and Council as possible directions to head to address a major issue.
The men and women in blue are on the frontlines of the battle with rowdy, rude and belligerent motorists who come to Ocean City several times a year to wreak havoc. To put in writing some major changes to operational and physical tactics, ordinances and laws and special event leases without getting the tacit support of the police department is illogical.
The action plan is likely a thing of the past and there appears to be nothing in it that will specifically be followed up on with the exception of potential changes in state law requiring for the creation of special event zones to add some consequences to citations.
The action plan was the wrong way to go about addressing the concerns associated with these events and unnecessarily heightened tensions among the residential and business community.
A task force to hammer out realistic options is the right course to take here in a situation that has “no magic answer,” according to Mayor Rick Meehan. The key now is time of the essence and the group needs to quickly craft its intentions next month.