Ocean City Today

OCPD finds new police academy has better timing

By Katie Tabeling | Nov 02, 2017

(Nov. 3, 2017) The Ocean City Police Department will send five recruits to a police academy hosted by the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office this month, breaking with a longstanding practice of training them through a local program.

Since 1978, Ocean City officers participated in the Eastern Shore Criminal Justice Academy at Wor-Wic Community College. The majority, if not all, police agencies on the Eastern Shore attend this academy.

The timing of Carroll County’s academy, however, is such that it would get the full-time officers on the streets by April, rather than in the middle of the summer.

The Eastern Shore Criminal Justice Academy has two sessions a year. One begins in January and finishes at the end of June while the other starts in July and ends in December.

“Due to several recent and upcoming retirements, we felt it was necessary to explore this new option to ensure that we are more fully staffed by the time summer 2018 begins,” Police Public Affairs Specialist Lindsay Richard said. “Not to mention it is another opportunity to work closely with another agency and build relationships that could benefit us in the future.”

This is the Carroll County sheriff’s office first training academy. Previously, the sheriff’s office sent recruits to several academies in the area, such as the one run by the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commissions in Sykesville and one in Frederick.

The opportunity to launch an academy arose when the North Carroll High School in Hampstead closed, Sheriff Jim DeWees said. The school was an ideal spot for a training academy, complete with a gymnasium, track, weight room and classrooms.

“I know firsthand how hard it is to hire for police departments. I have a handful of recruits that I’m waiting on. The academy is a four to six-month process,” he said. “Ocean City Police was the first the first to jump on board because their needs are more unique than other agencies, and they’re trying to get all the training done in the fall.”

Twenty-five recruits will study at the academy, with most of them coming from Hampstead, Berlin Heights Police, Frostburg and Allegany County. The sheriff coordinated with McDaniel College in nearby Westminster to house attendees who, like the resort’s recruits, have a long drive.

DeWees estimated that would save agencies roughly $85,000 in hotel charges.

“I know it’s unusual to send recruits so far away, but I believe it will be cost-effective with the housing we provide,” DeWees continued. “I’m extremely pleased that Ocean City trusts us to give their officers the best experience.”

The curriculum includes constitutional law, defense tactics, traffic stops and officer survival, in addition to other courses outlined in the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commissions guidelines. Driving and shooting training will occur off-campus and at a controlled area at the end of the county.

DeWees said he hoped that this is the start of a strong relationship with Ocean City Police, as the next academy is scheduled in September 2018.

“Putting out those dates early definitely helps other agencies because there’s always retirement and turnovers that create positions that need to be filled,” he said. “It makes recruiting that much easier, knowing you have another academy coming up. I know that we can give recruits the best experience here, and I hope our partnership with Ocean City Police can flourish.”

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