State’s Attorney Seeks Offices In OC

OCEAN CITY – Growing pains have necessitated the shifting of space needed in Ocean City facilities for two departments including the Worcester County State’s Attorney’s Office.

The Mayor and Council had before them on Tuesday a pair of requests to approve memorandums of understanding (MOUs) for two uses of town-owned property in the midtown area. The first request came from the Worcester County State’s Attorney’s Office (SAO), which is seeking space for satellite offices in the district court building in Ocean City.

The SAO is anticipating a significant spike in its workload when the Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) begins implementing its new body-worn camera system. The SAO will likely have to process hours of body-worn camera footage to be used as evidence in the prosecution of cases, most of which are generated in Ocean City. For that reason, the SAO is seeking additional space in the district court building as part of the larger Public Safety Building campus.

City Manager Terry McGean explained the space in the district court building desired by the SAO has been vacant after being used by the Department of Juvenile Services in the past.

“When the district court was originally put in the Public Safety Building, we actually had space in there for the way juvenile services operated at that time,” he said. “They have since changed how they operate and no longer use that space, so that space has been vacant for a couple of years.”

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McGean said the SAO request was the first of two related requests to come before the Mayor and Council on Tuesday.

“The State’s Attorney’s Office has indicated their desire to have space within the district court to improve the efficiency of their operation,” he said. “This first request is to approve a memorandum of understanding with Worcester County to allow the State’s Attorney’s Office to occupy what is essentially a reception area and two offices in the northwest corner of the district court building.”

The council voted unanimously to approve the proposed MOU with the county to provide the space for the SAO. McGean said the second request was a similar one and related to the Department of Juvenile Services use of town-owned property during the summer season.

“The second item relates to how we have been accommodating juvenile services,” he said. “For the last few years, they have been using temporary trailer space.”

McGean said when the public works campus was redeveloped, space within the facility was identified for juvenile services. When juveniles are arrested or detained during the summer, they are often held by juvenile services until a parent or guardian can arrive to pick them up, often from hours away.

“We have identified with public works and the police department that there is space within the public safety support building,” he said. “In the offseason, it is used by the police department, but it is not used during the season.”

McGean said the space available for juvenile services at the public safety support building on the public works campus could be utilized by juvenile services and recommended the council approve the MOU with the department outlining each party’s responsibilities. He said the proposed location would significantly expand the space used in Ocean City by the department.

“We can allow juvenile services to use that space based on their operations,” he said. “This would be an MOU with the Town of Ocean City and the Department of Juvenile Services. It’s about twice the size of the space they had in the district court building.”

The council ultimately approved the proposed MOU with juvenile services.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.