OCEAN CITY — Mayor Rick Meehan this week fondly recalled former councilman and former police chief Lee Duggan, who served both positions twice in his decades of service to Ocean City.
Duggan passed away peacefully last Wednesday at the age of 96. Services were held on Wednesday in Ocean City. At the close of Tuesday’s work session, Meehan took the opportunity to fondly recall Duggan’s service to the town. He was appointed chief of the Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) in the 1970s, ran for and was elected to the city council in 1980, and stepped down from the council to return has chief as the request of his colleagues, becoming the first to serve two stints as police chief in Ocean City.
“I served with Lee Duggan and met him in the 1970s when he was appointed police chief,” said Meehan. “I believe he served as chief until 1978. He resigned in 1978 and was elected to the council in 1980.”
Meehan said Duggan was pressed back into service as OCPD chief and graciously agreed to do so.
“He served on the council until 1987, at which time the police chief that was in place at the time resigned prior to the season,” he said. “The season was approaching, and we didn’t have a police chief, so we turned to Lee Duggan. The council asked Lee if he would consider stepping off the council and becoming police chief again so we could keep some continuity with our police force moving forward. Lee Duggan agreed to do that. He had been an excellent chief.”
Meehan said Duggan agreeing to walk away from the council to return to the rigors of running the town’s police department came at a critical time for the town.
“At that time, that was very important for the town of Ocean City,” he said. “That was a big move for somebody to make, but he was committed to the Ocean City community.”
Duggan served as police chief until he was replaced by Chief David Massey, but his service to the town was not yet complete.
“In 1992, he ran for council again and was re-elected and served until 2000,” he said. “Lee was an excellent councilmember and an excellent police chief. He was an old school kind of guy, and he was always open to discussion. He wasn’t a man of many words, but when he spoke, everybody listened. We all owe debt of gratitude for his service.”