Ocean City Today

OCPD ramps up search for summer recruits

By Katie Tabeling | Nov 16, 2017

(Nov. 17, 2017) After the Ocean City Police Department filled its seasonal officer ranks this summer, the administration has stepped up the program’s social media advertising and expanded its radius for recruitment trips.

Chief Ross Buzzuro informed the Police Commission during Monday’s meeting that planning for summer 2018 started early this year, as recruiters began visiting colleges and universities on Sept. 25.

So far, the police department’s efforts have paid off – 140 students have applied. Of that number, 80 applications were for seasonal officers.

“We’re going to hit 80 colleges, but we’ve already hit 56 universities, and we already have good news,” he said. “It’s higher than where we were at this point last year.”

There was a time where Ocean City officials boasted that they brought on 100 officers for the summer, but fewer qualified recruits made the cut in recent years. A combination of tougher hiring standards and the statewide law enforcement prohibition on previous marijuana use cut a large portion of candidates at the testing stage.

The program hit a low point in 2015, as 153 applied for the position, but 50 seasonal officers were hired.

As a result, Ocean City Police expanded its recruitment visits by 375 miles. The department also boosted its online marketing campaign last November by airing videos that highlighted the seasonal program on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Last fiscal year, $5,000 was set aside for social media advertising.

The aggressive campaign worked, as Ocean City Police hired 70 seasonal officers and 73 public safety aides.

Although the police department has $7,500 allocated for advertising, it has yet to spend any money and instead used its ads from last year. Between late September and Halloween, the ads had 142,076 impressions, 123,195 reactions and 7,627 views.

Demographics show the social media ads are reaching West Virginia, New York City area, western and central Pennsylvania and colleges like Mount Aloysius College in Cresson, Pennsylvania and Stevenson University.

The next police academy testing date is Nov. 18-19, where the Police Commission will be able to properly measure the quality of the applicants — and the success of the recruitment plan.

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