Lt. James Baker was with little doubt the most famous officer in the history of the Ocean City Police Department.
He served from 1965 to 1998 and in his own words, “enjoyed every minute of it.” At 6’4” and over 450 pounds, “Big Bake” was not a man to mess with if you intended on breaking the law. Former Chief David Massey described Baker as “the strongest man I have ever met. He went into a bar one time to arrest a couple of guys and walked out with one under each arm.”
Big Bake was usually assigned to 9th Street – the teenage hotspot of his era – and many recall him patrolling the Boardwalk in a golf cart (which like his patrol car was reinforced because of his size). Although not built for a long distance chase, he was amazingly quick for a big man and many a troublemaker found himself run down in a 10-yard dash with Baker. His motto to lawbreakers was, “not on MY Boardwalk you won’t.”
Baker passed away on March 11, 2016. He was an honest and hardworking police officer who will remain an Ocean City legend.
Photo from Bunk Mann’s collection