OCEAN CITY, Md. —The Ocean Metropolis Police Division acquired approval Tuesday afternoon to rent 10 extra law enforcement officials from the Ocean Metropolis City Council. The transfer comes after one other 12 months of chaos from a pop-up automobile rally generally known as H2Oi.
OCPD’s request for extra full-time law enforcement officials is not instantly as a consequence of H2Oi, however somewhat years of declining curiosity within the division’s seasonal police officer program, mentioned Chief Ross Buzzuro.
Every summer time Ocean Metropolis depends on three forms of officers to patrol the city: full-time law enforcement officials, seasonal law enforcement officials and public security aides.
“In the event you simply return seven years, we had extra law enforcement officials in the event you embrace the seasonal program than we do now due to the year-to-year decline in seasonal law enforcement officials,” Buzzuro mentioned. “We have been in a position to leverage that with public security aides, however the backside line is we nonetheless have much less law enforcement officials 12 months after 12 months.”
As OCPD has dealt with a declining variety of seasonal law enforcement officials, the division additionally confronted extra demand from the group and particular occasions, mentioned OCPD Capt. Mike Colbert.
Consequently, OCPD needs to rent 33 full-time law enforcement officials all through the subsequent three years to deliver the overall variety of officers from 107 to 140, Colbert mentioned.
“Our proposal is to extend the variety of full-time OCPD officers as a way to cut back our reliance on the seasonal officer program with the intent to slowly displace seasonal officers and attempt to substitute them with full-time officers,” Colbert mentioned.
Starting this 12 months OCPD will rent 15 new law enforcement officials, 10 of which have been authorised Tuesday and 5 from positions that have been already authorised, Buzzuro mentioned.
OCPD’s request was authorised unanimously, however some council members did specific concern on the thought of scrapping the seasonal police officer or public security aide applications.
“I imagine we should always maximize all three classes — year-round law enforcement officials, seasonal officers and PSAs — and I do not suppose we should always do something close to abandon the seasonal officer program,” mentioned Mayor Rick Meehan.
Ocean Metropolis cannot afford to not rent extra law enforcement officials, Meehan argued. Given what the city’s seen in the previous few months, together with H2Oi and the spike in violent crime in June, the city wants to present OCPD extra manpower.
Meehan and others argue that many full-time law enforcement officials come from the seasonal police officer roles and that is helped the city traditionally.
OCPD would not plan to alter its public security aide program, Buzzuro mentioned, however the aides do not have the authority to do many public security duties the city wants.
OCPD wants extra folks with the ability to arrest or perform officers’ duties, Buzzuro mentioned.
“We will proceed to rent public security aides as a complement, however the precedence for safety and safeguarding must be executed by a police officer,” Buzzuro mentioned. “As we proceed ahead, our quantity was even decrease this 12 months than it was final 12 months, we’re not shifting in the proper path.”
The “elephant within the room,” in accordance with Metropolis Supervisor Doug Miller, was how the city plans to pay for the brand new law enforcement officials.
Every new officer will price the city roughly $86,000 in simply wage and advantages, which comes out to greater than $800,000 total.
The rise represents a couple of penny-and-a-half on the tax charge, Miller mentioned. With restricted income sources, Ocean Metropolis might offset a few of the prices with the newly elevated room tax however that will not cowl every part.
Councilman John Gehrig supported the choice to rent extra law enforcement officials however warned the council and public that the transfer would “greater than possible imply some stage of a tax improve.”
“We won’t discuss all of the completely happy stuff on one hand with out speaking concerning the different hand,” Gehrig mentioned. “I simply wish to be sincere. We’re gonna have to speak about paying for it, and until we provide you with some actually massive concepts right here, it could effectively contain property taxes.”