Police, Lifeguard Recruitment Continues

OCEAN CITY – An update on police and lifeguard recruitment efforts highlighted this week’s meeting of a resort commission.

On Monday, Ocean City Police Chief Ross Buzzuro and Emergency Services Director Joe Theobald presented the Ocean City Police Commission with an update on recruitment efforts for the coming summer season.

As testing concludes, Buzzuro said he believes the number of seasonal officers and public safety aides (PSAs) would be consistent with workforce numbers in 2022.

“It’s been sluggish all along, but in the last testing date we actually saw more public safety aides come out then we did last year in March,” he said.

For decades, the Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) has enhanced its workforce with seasonal officers and PSAs during the summer months. And while interest in the seasonal program gained some momentum two years ago, recruitment, particularly for PSAs, continued to lag.

“This year we’re seeing fewer failures,” Buzzuro reported this week.

Through the most recent March testing date, the police department reported having 88 seasonal officer applicants, with 24 total failures, 13 conditional hires and 33 remaining in the process. Last year, OCPD had 115 total applicants and 42 hires, five of which were returning to the force.

“The number on the seasonal officer side will be fairly close to where we were last year,” Buzzuro said.

In terms of PSA recruitment, the department reported having 40 applicants with five total failures, 18 conditional hires and 23 remaining in the process. Last year, OCPD had 50 applicants and 48 hires, 20 of which were returning PSAs.

Compared to last year, Buzzuro said the number of returning seasonal officers had increased from five to six, while the number of returning PSAs had decreased from 20 to nine. He noted, however, that the department had yet to hear responses from five seasonal officers and six PSAs.

“If you look at the combination of both, optimistically we could be fairly close to where we were last year in terms of the number of seasonal officers and public safety aides,” he said. “I don’t think we’re going to go over that.”

In his report this week, Theobald said efforts continue to recruit new lifeguards ahead of the coming summer season.

He reported the beach patrol is currently behind on the number of new guards it needs.

“Again, I don’t want it to sound as if we’re not going to get where we need to be,” he said. “But I am also looking at how we are going to handle the summer because we need X number of guards to be able to guard this beach every day. Knock on wood we’ll get where we need to be.”

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

Alternative Text

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.