OCEAN CITY — Although ongoing COVID concerns curtailed the traditional ceremony, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) Corporal Jeff Heiser has been named the Neighborhood Watch Association Officer of the Year for 2020.
Traditionally, the OCPD and the Neighborhood Watch Association coordinators hold an annual Officer of the Year ceremony to recognize department personnel and volunteer for their accomplishments from the previous year. This year, however, as with so many other things, the traditional ceremony and dinner were not held because of the ongoing COVID pandemic and restrictions on gatherings.
Nonetheless, in keeping with tradition, the OCPD worked closely with the Neighborhood Watch Association on the annual awards and this week announced Heiser has been selected as Officer of the Year for 2020. Heiser was selected by the seven Neighborhood Watch coordinators. Also nominated for the award this year were Pfc. Nathan Denny, Pfc. Amy Gutowski, Pfc. Justin Hoban, Pfc. Joseph Laughlin, Pfc. Harry Miller and Pfc. Tyler Sheffy.
Traditionally during the ceremony, the OCPD also recognizes officers that were awarded with departmental commendations for exemplary service. Earning Silver Star commendations this year were Lt. Frank Wrench and Pfc. David Whitmer. Earning Meritorious Service Commendations were Wrench, Laughlin and Public Safety Aide Frank Brown.
Earning Special Commendations this year were Miller, Gutowski, Pfc. Chelsea Kautz, Sgt. Michael Kelly, Cpl. Ryan Flanagan, Cpl. Nicholas Forsyth, Cpl. Christopher Wrench, and Pfc. Brian Nieto. Excellent Performance Commendations went to Forsyth, Gutowski, Kautz, Nieto, Sheffy, Cpl. Joseph Lotito, Cpl. Christopher Snyder, Pfc. Benjamin Berry, Pfc. Michael Dzurnak, Pfc. Daniel Jacobs, Pfc. Jessica Johnson, Pfc. Kory Moerschel, Pfc. Erika Rhode, Officer Daniel Richardson, Officer Riley Scott and CST Sharon Schultz. Unit Citations went to the front desk personnel and the south evening shift personnel.
The OCPD is fortunate to have a solid core of volunteers, who donate hundreds of hours of their time to the department and the citizens of Ocean City. In 2020, the volunteers donated 1,257 hours to the department, including an astounding 959 by Kathy Grimes, who was named the 2020 Auxiliary Officer of the Year.
Other officers were honored by the OCPD and the Neighborhood Watch coordinators for their retirements in 2020 including Lieut. Glen McIntyre, Sgt. Ronnie Townsend, Corporal Albert Custer, Property and Evidence Technician Mary Marshall and Records Management Supervisor Michelle Monico. Combined, the retirees this year served a total of 137 years with the department.
Several others were honored for receiving promotions in 2020. Those who received promotions this year included Lieut. James Runkles, Sgt. Charles “Chip” Green, Sgt. Michael Kelly, Sgt. Michael Richardson, Sgt. James Schwartz, Corporal Ryan Flanagan, Corporal Nicholas Forsyth, Corporal Shawn Lindsay, Corporal James Rodriguez, Corporal Christopher Snyder, Pfc. Mark Cutter, Pfc. Connor Finch, Pfc. Alexander Hawkins, Pfc. Kevin Herbert, Pfc. Brian Nieto, Pfc. Yovanny Ramirez, Pfc. Tyler Sheffy, Pfc. Todd Stahm, Pfc. Corwin Vincent, and Custody Officer Sara Hetherington.