Ocean City Today

Police Commission Briefs

By Greg Ellison | May 17, 2018
Photo by: Greg Ellison Mayor Rick Meehan welcomes Evan Lucas along with cohort Walker Gray, center, both returning seasonal police officers, as Interim State’s Attorney Bill McDermott observes, during a swearing-in ceremony for a class of recruits at Ocean City Police headquarters Monday.

(May 18, 2018) Among the topics discussed during the Police Commission meeting on Monday were crime rates, officer recruitment and dock-less bicycles.

Crime rates

Chief Ross Buzzuro said calls for service this April showed a 12 percent decrease as compared to the same month last year.

“Citizen calls for service decreased as well,” he said.

Attributable largely to subpar weather, Buzzuro said traffic stops were down as well, with 300 fewer than there were last April.

“Drug arrests were down 75 percent and DUI’s were [cut] almost in half,” he said.

With the summer season inching closer, Buzzuro said the statistics have been positive.

“We had four consecutive months of lower crime this year versus last year,” he said.

Officer recruitment

Expanding the police ranks to address the large summer crowds is also on track, Buzzuro said.

“We’ve had 19 returning [seasonal] police officers that are coming on board this month,” he said.

With 64 seasonal officers approaching readiness, and about 90 public safety aides in house, Buzzuro said all systems are go despite hitting a few bumps in the road.

“There have been several that resigned … the first week of training on the seasonal police officer side,” he said. “We will have the same numbers as last year [but] that could change as we get closer to the season.”

Dock-less bikes

Councilman Dennis Dare discussed the growing trend of dock-less bicycle rentals, which unlike traditional bike-sharing services are GPS-equipped and can be dropped anywhere.

“They’re coming into cities across the United States from overseas,” he said. “It’s not like the first wave of bicycle sharing where you … unlocked a kiosk to get the bike out.”

The rental bikes employ smart phones with users subscribing to a service for automatic billing.

While Ocean City has regulations governing where bikes are allowed to be ridden, Dare said no rules exist regarding where cyclists must drop their rides.

“A lot of cities are having problems with them getting littered around,” he said.

Dare suggested City Manager Doug Miller could examine the topic in greater detail.

“What’s happened in a lot of these cities, companies come in and just do it,” he said. “Under the same premise like Uber … you don’t ask permission you just do it and ask for forgiveness.”

Buzzuro said from his initial research on the topic, although the trend is more prevalent in larger urban areas with year-round populations, Maryland has yet to adopt statewide regulations.

“At the town or local level, there is the ability to regulate or even prohibit,” he said. “Moving forward, if we have an issue we’ll be able to get on top of it.”

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