OCEAN CITY – Discussions on monthly calls for service and seasonal recruitment efforts highlighted a meeting of the Ocean City Police Commission last week.
Ocean City Police Department Chief Ross Buzzuro presented the town’s police commission with a report on calls for service for the month of November.
While officer calls for service increased 2.4%, from 1,347 in November 2018 to 1,380 in November 2019, citizen calls for service decreased 10.7% in the same time period.
“On the citizen side, we experienced 170 less calls,” he said, “which gave us a 10.7% reduction from last year.”
Buzzuro noted that traffic stops had decreased from 536 in November 2018 to 358 in November 2019, suspicious person or activity calls decreased by a third, and calls for assistance from other agencies – including fire and EMS – were down considerably.
“We don’t see any type of variance from last year that would cause us concern overall,” he said. “Overall, we see a better November this year than last year in terms of safety on the law enforcement side.”
Buzzuro said the police department will spend the coming weeks finalizing its crime statistics for 2019.
“All throughout the year we have seen reductions in crime and our crime statistics,” he said. “So we look forward to reporting them in our annual report.”
Buzzuro last week also presented the police commission with an update on seasonal officer recruitment efforts for the coming summer season.
“We are experiencing less applicants that are coming through the door,” he said. “But once again the caliber of those applicants still remains at a high degree, more so than in years past. So that’s promising.”
Buzzuro said the police department would continue to evaluate the recruitment process moving forward into the new year. He said he expects more applicants throughout the months of January and February.
“We’ll get more of an idea of where we are at as we get into January and February,” he said. “But we are looking at this internally, and I don’t see any issues with us as we get ready to start the season. We would just like to see more folks come through the door. It’s a sign of the times.”
Council President Lloyd Martin, chair of the commission, applauded the police department for its efforts. He noted that the police department had completed more than 70 recruiting events in eight states.
“That’s great,” he said. “That’s a lot, and more to come I’m sure.”
Buzzuro said the department would continue to be aggressive in its recruitment efforts ahead of the summer season.
Mayor Rick Meehan highlighted opportunities to partner with local universities, including the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.
“I met with representatives from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, their criminal justice program about the availability of the partnership we can create with them for not just the police department but other departments in the Town of Ocean City, for part-time work …,” he said. “Have we followed up with them?”
Buzzuro said he had already reached out.
“We are going to partner with them and work towards hopefully expanding that already existing partnership,” he said.