OCEAN CITY – Ocean City’s police chief said his department is on target to meet, and possibly exceed, last year’s seasonal recruitment totals for the coming summer.
On Monday, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) Chief Ross Buzzuro presented the Ocean City Police Commission with an update on seasonal recruitment for the coming summer season.
For decades, the OCPD has enhanced its workforce with seasonal officers and public safety aides (PSA) during the summer months. And while interest in the seasonal law enforcement program has waned in recent years, officials have pointed out positive trends in recruitment statistics for the 2021 season.
In a monthly report presented this week, Buzzuro told commission members the police department recently concluded its test dates for the program. In February, the OCPD reported having 42 seasonal officer applicants and 24 PSA applicants.
“The numbers that came in were very promising,” he said.
In terms of seasonal officer recruitment, Buzzuro said 53 candidates remain in the process while 28 have been given conditional offers for employment.
He noted the number of applicants for seasonal officer positions increased from 158 last year to 198 this year.
“That’s a pretty good jump,” he said, “up about 20% from last year.”
On the PSA side, 42 candidates remain in the process while 20 have been given conditional offers for employment.
“With public safety aides, we’re just about on par with where we were last year,” he said. “This year we’ve have 81 applicants through the door, total. Last year we had 89. But the failure rate balances that reduced number. We had 13 this year versus 19 last year.”
Last year, the department hired 114 seasonal officers and PSAs. Buzzuro told commission members he hopes to at least meet, if not exceed, that number for the coming year.
“All things considered, given some of the challenges that we faced, all in all we are in a pretty favorable condition for the upcoming season.”
Mayor Rick Meehan agreed. He pointed out that the number of conditional hires had increased for both seasonal officers and PSAs.
“I think that’s exactly what we were hoping to achieve,” he said. “We’re moving in the right direction.”
When asked about the department’s virtual recruitment efforts this year, Buzzuro said it was successful.
In addition to video conferencing, he said, the department increased its advertising and expanded its territory to reach more people.
“We had to do that given the challenges we faced coming into the year,” he said. “So it’s worked out well.”
Buzzuro added the department also leaned on its relationships with colleges and universities in its recruitment efforts.
“They’ve also come through,” he said. “That relationship is there, and it’s given us a helping hand.”
Meehan said the department could continue its new recruitment practices in the years to come.
“Hopefully some of those things are things we can continue,” he said.