OCEAN CITY — Long-time Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) Lieutenant Mark Pacini was feted with a special retirement ceremony this week at City Hall after a remarkable 28-year career with the department.
Pacini, one of the department’s most visible presences on the Boardwalk in recent years, began his career with the OCPD as a seasonal officer in 1989. In his 28 years, he has worked in an undercover capacity and served on the Quick Response Team for 15 years. He also served as the Assistant Commander of the Criminal Investigation Division, supervising high-profile criminal cases. Pacini also worked with local, state and federal investigators on outlaw motorcycle gang intelligence. He was instrumental in adding intelligence officers, conducting a nationwide search for a crime analyst and building the department’s forensic services unit.
Mayor Rick Meehan read the town’s proclamation in appreciation of Pacini’s 28 years of service and said the document outlining his achievement stopped short somewhat of recognizing all of his contributions. Meehan specifically praised Pacini for his efforts in getting a handle on the Boardwalk street performer issues.
“This doesn’t talk about some of the other things he has done for the town of Ocean City,” he said. “He has played a major role in some of our issues with street performers and he has worked diligently on the Boardwalk. When we saw the lieutenant up there, we knew everything was getting under control.”
OCPD Chief Ross Buzzuro also praised Pacini for his nearly three decades of service to the department. Buzzuro said Pacini played an integral part on the command staff for the department.
“On behalf of the police department, I want to congratulate you on nearly three decades of service,” he said. “I have been honored and privileged to work alongside you. We have worked very closely over the last five years and there have been a lot of things going on internally and you have been there day in and day out.”
The chief fondly recalled those times when he worked directly with Pacini side by side in recent years.
“We spent a lot of time together out in the field and sometimes it was pleasant circumstances and sometimes not so pleasant,” he said. “I had confidence in Mark as my partner and I knew he always had my back. We spent a lot of time together working on the Boardwalk.”
Buzzuro referenced a couple of popular sports figures in his description of Pacini.
“When I think of Mark, two sports figures come to mind,” he said. “The first is Cal Ripken because he came to work every day. When you think of 2,131, try doubling that when you think of Mark. The second is Brett Favre because he always put everything out there and left everything on the field. He always went above and beyond and gave 110 percent every day.”
State Senator and former Mayor Jim Mathias was on hand to present a proclamation on behalf of the Maryland Senate. Mathias recalled the dire times immediately following the September 11 terrorist attacks when he and Pacini were part of a contingent from Ocean City to visit ground zero and begin the recovery efforts. Mathias said he tried to do some quick math when he began thinking of how many lives Pacini has impacted in his 28 years in the department.
“When you think of 28 years times eight million visitors a year, that’s over 200 million and you worked to keep all of them safe,” he said. “We thank you for that and for the inspiration you provided to your colleagues. You’re the best.”
Delegate Mary Beth Carozza was also on hand on Monday to present a proclamation to Pacini on behalf of the Maryland House of Delegates. Carozza said she listened to the prayers, speeches and proclamations as she prepared her own thoughts.
“This has been a very moving night and I wanted to be here to look you in the eye,” she said. “We’ve heard words like work ethic and I also heard the word revered. You set an example for all in public service to strive. Think of all of the lives you’ve impacted and those you protected along with their families and all of the things you’ve done to prevent tragedies and violence in Ocean City.”
In addition to his service with the OCPD, Pacini over the years has also participated in different capacities with allied law enforcement agencies including the civil unrest in Baltimore in 2015 along with two presidential inauguration details, for example. He has also received numerous department commendations and was named Neighborhood Watch Officer the Year. The humble Pacini thanked his colleagues including the front-line dispatchers and the undercover officers and summed up their service and his with a few short words.
“Policing is a unique vocation,” he said. “We have a front row seat to the greatest show on earth, some of it good and some of it bad. It’s one of the jobs where at the beginning of your shift you talk about going home alive.”