Ocean City Today

What is causing police turnover?

Sep 21, 2017


Printed 09/22/2017



Without having read the exit interviews given by departing police officers, not knowing the officers’ length of service or whether that service in Ocean City was a first, second of third job in law enforcement, it’s difficult to argue either side in the City Council debate concerning the impact of special event assignments on police department turnover.

For all anyone on the outside knows, one or two of the seven people who left the department last year simply didn’t like being a resort police officer. Others may have realized they just aren’t cut out for police work, and still others might have left because the rate of departmental turnover wasn’t sufficient to provide for quicker advancement.

And that’s the other question: how much turnover is too much? Obviously, turnover is good in some instances, because it helps keep payroll from bloating out of control. Steady turnover is particularly good, if you happen to have an upper tier job, because keeping payroll costs down in one area allows an employer to pay a little more at the other end of the organizational hierarchy.

Constantly training new employees is a tiresome and often exasperating business, especially when that employee’s job involves special skills and requirements, as is the case in law enforcement.

At the same time, however, Ocean City is a starting point for many people, police officers included, who want to climb the career ladder out of here at some point.

In that regard, it’s easy to see how traffic duty would be irksome to anyone with loftier goals. Then, too, someone with experience who’s stuck monitoring traffic might believe it’s beneath him or her, even though it’s all part of the employment package.

An overwhelming amount of overtime on a regular basis, however, is an entirely different situation, as it suggests there aren’t enough officers available to handle the increased summer and shoulder-season workload or not enough to cover for those who take time off in the offseason.

Most likely, turnover is generated by many different circumstances, and, if the idea is to limit that, local government must look at everything before concluding that special event assignments are its leading cause.

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