Resort Police Ramping Up Seasonal Recruitment Effort

OCEAN CITY – With another summer long in the books, the Ocean City Police Department is now seeking seasonal recruits for 2022.

On Monday, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) Chief Ross Buzzuro presented members of the Ocean City Police Commission with an update on recruitment efforts for the 2022 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 program has waned somewhat in recent years, officials say they are eager to renew their efforts ahead of next summer.

“We’re really getting started in terms of our seasonal employment,” Buzzuro said.

Buzzuro told resort leaders this week the agency had 62 seasonal police officer applicants and 11 PSA applicants. It should be noted, however, that 35 of those officer candidates and seven of the PSA candidates have yet to go through testing.

“Last year we had slightly more police officer applicants at 82,” he said, “and we had the same number of public safety aides.”

Buzzuro said the department hopes to bolster those recruitment numbers in the coming months as the OCPD visits college campuses.

“We are in the midst of visiting 60-plus colleges and universities …,” he reported. “Although the environment remains challenging, we remain optimistic moving forward and having folks for the upcoming 2022 season.”

Mayor Rick Meehan explained the town would be reviewing wage recommendations, including those for seasonal positions. He noted the OCPD should have that information during its recruitment process.

“The first question everybody asks is how much,” he said. “So let’s make sure we’re giving them 2022 salaries.”

Commission members this week also reviewed Buzzuro’s monthy report on police activity.

Buzzuro noted officer calls for service decreased from 1,570 in October 2019 to 1,202 in October 2021. Citizen calls for service also decreased slightly, from 867 in October 2019 to 863 in October 2021.

“We are slightly down in terms of one year versus the other,” he said. “Those two are very important gauges.”

In the top 25 calls for service, Buzzuro reported traffic stops decreased from 1,104 in 2019 to 726 in 2021. The remaining top 25 calls for service, however, saw little change.

“We are pretty close to where we were two years ago in terms of individual calls for service,” he said.

Under October enforcement, Buzzuro noted that DUI arrests increased from 10 in 2019 to 27 in 2021 and custodial arrests increased from 101 in 2019 to 130 in 2021.

“You have an uptick in arrests, and, as I’ve mentioned earlier, traffic stops were reduced,” he said. “So it’s a little bit of a shift in enforcement, but nonetheless we are keeping busy.”

Buzzuro noted the police department continues to use 2019 statistics, the most recent pre-COVID data, when comparing 2021 police activity.

“We really look at 2019 as a gauge to where we want to be, and if not cut it down even further,” he said. “We had a lot of historic crime lows and decreases in 2019, so we want to get below that.”

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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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.