OC Police’s Seasonal Recruitment Woes Continue

OCEAN CITY – Seasonal recruitment remain a challenge for the Ocean City Police Department (OCPD), according to Police Chief Ross Buzzuro.

On Monday, Buzzuro told members of the Ocean City Police Commission recruitment for the upcoming summer season remained challenging. In its most recent testing date this month, the department reported having 14 new seasonal officer applicants and seven new public safety aide (PSA) applicants.

“We still have two more of these testing dates, and we remain optimistic,” he said. “But it’s very challenging, to say the least.”

For decades, the OCPD has enhanced its workforce with seasonal officers and PSAs during the summer months. And while interest in the seasonal program gained some momentum last summer, Buzzuro told commission members last month that recruitment efforts ahead of 2022 were slow-moving.

Last year, Buzzuro noted, the department had a total of 144 officer applicants, with 45 hires, and 52 PSA applicants, with 48 hires.

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Through its Jan. 8 testing date, officials reported having a total of 74 seasonal officer applicants and 36 PSA applicants for the coming summer. Of the 14 new seasonal officer applicants at its Jan. 8 testing date, the department reported having three failures.

“We’re moving right along,” he said.

Buzzuro, however, noted that the department continued to attract candidates, despite recent bouts of bad weather and an ongoing pandemic. He added that the OCPD also had a full complement of full-time officers.

“If there’s any silver lining or good news, it’s that we still are attracting people here,” he said.

Officials note that recruitment challenges continued to plague law enforcement agencies, both locally and nationally.

Just this week, for example, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced the expansion of his Re-Fund the Police Initiative. The three-year, $500 million investment has earmarked more than $200 million for historic salary increases and bonuses for law enforcement officers to help ensure more competitive compensation and to help with recruitment and retention, as well as police scholarship programs.

“Even in the most progressive cities all across the country, leaders are now following our lead and admitting that instead of defunding, they need more investment in public safety,” Hogan said in a news release. “There is nothing more important than addressing the violent crime crisis in our state and our effort to re-fund the police and to give them the support and the resources they need to do their jobs more effectively.”

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.