OCPD Officer Of Year Announced

OCPD Officer Of Year Announced
Pictured at the recent ceremony are, from left, Senator Mary Beth Carozza, Corporal Michael Kirkland, Chief Ross Buzzuro and Delegate Wayne Hartman. Submitted Photo

OCEAN CITY – The Ocean City Police Department hosted its annual Officer of the Year Ceremony at the Princess Royale last month, recognizing Corporal Michael Kirkland.

Also nominated were PFC Edward Newcomb, PFC Mark Cutter, PFC Kevin Herbert and Officer Benjamin Panitch. Nominees were interviewed by Larry Yates, Tonja Sas, Charles “Newt” Weaver, Danny Robinson, and Lee Gerachis and then the group selected the honoree.

Kirkland has been a member of OCPD since April 2012. Kirkland was assigned to the Narcotics Unit in 2016, and then to the Worcester County Criminal Enforcement Team (CET) in 2018. Kirkland was promoted on Aug. 1, 2022 and reassigned to the patrol division. During Kirkland’s tenure in Narcotics and CET, his primary duties included the undercover purchase of CDS, covert surveillance, tactical response, technical investigative techniques, and the management of complex CDS investigations. Kirkland made countless undercover buys and handled numerous felony CDS cases. Kirkland exposed himself to danger repeatedly to accomplish the mission.

Volunteers of the OCPD Auxiliary Unit were also recognized for their contribution of 1,338 volunteer hours in 2022. Since the unit’s inception in 1999, Auxiliary Officers have volunteered a total of over 65,000 hours which translates to a cost saving of over $2 million to the taxpayers of Ocean City. This year, the Auxiliary Officer of the Year was awarded to Tonja Sas, an auxiliary officer since the program began and has donated over 5,000 hours to the department and community. She has retired from the unit after 23 dedicated years of service.

As part of last month’s ceremony, many officers were awarded departmental commendations for exemplary service. The following officers were recognized:

Silver Star: Cpl. Michael Karsnitz.

Meritorious Service: Cpl. Michael Kirkland and PFC Carl Perry.

Special Commendation: PFC Nathan Thompson, Ofc. Jessica Wieber (twice), PFC Christian Rodden, Ofc. William Mossop, Ofc. Anthony Helias, Ofc. Benjamin Panitch, Sgt. Kyle Murray, Ofc. Justin Koser and Ofc. Devin Bartrom

Excellent Performance: PFC David Whitmer, Cpl. Christopher Snyder, Ofc. Hailie Brumley, Natural Resource Police Ofc. Charles Tyler, PFC Patrick McElfish, PFC Christian Rodden, Cpl. Nathan Kutz and PFC Mark Cutter.

Employees recognized for their promotions included Captain James “Art” Grady, Captain Shawn Jones, Lieutenant Todd Speigle, Lieutenant Charles “Josh” Kelley, Lieutenant Allen Hawk, Sergeant Christopher Wrench, Sergeant James Rodriguez, Sergeant Kyle Murray, Sergeant Nicholas Forsyth, Corporal Nathan Kutz, Corporal Sean McHugh, Corporal Michael Kirkland, Corporal Justin Hoban, Corporal Neshawn Jubilee, Corporal Jacob Fetterolf, PFC Patrick McElfish, PFC Noah Friedkin, PFC Nathan Thompson, PFC Megan McHugh, PFC Nicholas Fleming, PFC Sierra Stevens and Police Records Management Supervisor Catherine Potter.