OC Ramps Up Smoking Enforcement On Boardwalk

OCEAN CITY – Officer calls for service nearly doubled in Ocean City last month, and Boardwalk smoking citations increased more than 1,000%.

On Monday, Ocean City Police Chief Ross Buzzuro presented the Ocean City Police Commission with a report on police activity for last month.

In the month of May, officer calls for service increased more than 45%, from 2,928 to 4,264, and citizen calls for service decreased more than 30%, from 2,110 to 1,473.

In the top calls for service, citizen assists decreased from 445 to 396, disorderly calls decreased from 437 to 263, and 911 hang ups decreased from 328 to 214.

“In most of the top 10 calls for service, we continue to see decreases,” he said.

Buzzuro noted, however, that calls for city ordinance violations increased from 748 to 1,412. The department also reported 1,011 calls for “public health concern” – a new designation code to address location checks and potential violations related to COVID-19 executive orders.

In May, custodial arrests decreased from 284 in 2019 to 114 in 2020, and criminal citations increased from seven to 17. Buzzuro added the number of smoking citations jumped from eight to 98, or a 1,125% increase from May 2019 to May 2020.

“We made a significant push on the Boardwalk for compliance of all of our laws …,” Buzzuro told the commission. “One area is smoking. Last year we had eight and this year we had 98. That type of enforcement is going to continue now that we are in the month of June.”

Buzzuro this week also presented the police commission with an update on seasonal employment.

To date, 45 seasonal officers and 71 public safety aides have successfully completed training and have been assigned to patrol or service.

“The combination of 45 and 71 brings us to 116. That’s where we started our summer season …,” he said. “Even though we are reduced in our numbers we have a complement of seasonal officers and public safety aides.”

Buzzuro said many seasonal employees have been assigned at the south end of the Boardwalk.

“It’s a very fine presence up there,” Council Secretary Mary Knight said.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

Alternative Text

Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.