Monthly Archives: March 2012

OCPD’S CPL RICHARD WAWRZENIAK NAMED 2011 AMERICAN LEGION OFFICER OF THE YEAR

On Wednesday, March 28, 2012, Ocean City Police Cpl. Richard Wawrzeniak was named Officer of the Year by the American Legion Post 166.  Commander of Post 166, Sarge Garlitz, presented the Officer of the Year award to Cpl. Wawrzeniak, in addition to the presentation of awards for Ocean City Emergency Services Paramedic of the Year Ocean Pines Volunteer Firefighter of the Year, Maryland State Police Trooper of the Year and Ocean City Firefighter of the Year. 

Pictured from left to right: OCPD Captain Kevin Kirstein, Corporal Rick Wawrzeniak and American Legion Sinepuxent Post 166 Commander William “Sarge” Garlitz

Pictured from left to right: OCPD Captain Kevin Kirstein, Corporal Rick Wawrzeniak and American Legion Sinepuxent Post 166 Commander William “Sarge” Garlitz

“I am extremely proud of Cpl. Wawrzeniak,” said Chief Bernadette DiPino.  “He demonstrates the high qualities and standards expected of an Ocean City Police Officer. He is a hero.”

Cpl. Wawrzeniak is from Bowie, MD.  He joined the OCPD full time in 1999, after two summers as a seasonal officer.  He is an active member of the department’s Bike Unit and Quick Response Team.  He is currently assigned to the Patrol Division’s evening watch.

In addition to being named “2011 Officer of the Year” by the American Legion,  Cpl. Wawrzeniak was recently named “Officer of the Year” by the Knights of Columbus and was a finalist for the Neighborhood Watch Officer of the Year.  In addition, he received a Silver Star for his quick and decisive action on December 10, 2010 when he witnessed Marvin Mitchell assaulting his wife with a knife. 

Cpl Wawrzeniak neutralized Mitchell by gunfire, saving the lives of four persons. 

“I am deeply honored to receive this award,” Cpl. Wawrzeniak said.  “It really has been a special year for me.  I’m proud to be a part of such a professional organization.  Our officers strive to give their best each and every day. I would like to thank Chief DiPino, all my fellow officers, and my family for their support; and of course, the American Legion for this award.”

OCPD RECOGNIZES NATIONAL SEXUAL ASSAULT AWARENESS MONTH IN APRIL

The Ocean City Police Department is supporting the U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) by recognizing April as National Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The 2012 Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) campaign centers on promoting healthy sexuality to prevent sexual violence by proclaiming “It’s time…to talk about it!”

“This year’s campaign encourages individuals and communities to participate in the conversations on how we connect with and respect one another in order to prevent sexual violence,” said Ocean City Police Chief Bernadette A. DiPino.  “By talking about this topic we are making the connection that promoting a healthy behavior encourages relationships that are consensual, respectful and informed.”

Sexual violence, including child sexual abuse, crosses all ages, genders, races, ethnicities and economic backgrounds.  According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, among college women, nine in ten victims of rape and sexual assault knew their offender. In addition, almost 12.8 percent of completed rapes, 35 percent of attempted rapes, and 22.9 percent of threatened rapes happened during a date.

The Ocean City Police Department, in partnership with Atlantic General Hospital, Worcester County SART (Sexual Assault Response Team) and the Life Crisis Center, raise awareness for sexual assault year-round through the Sexual Offense/Assault and Rape Reduction Project, also known as SOARr. “The purpose of SOARr, is to educate people about the dangers of sexual assault and teach ways it can be prevented. It targets teens and young adults, those at highest risk of a sexual assault, by providing messages such as “No means No,” “No Friend Left Behind,” and “Hand Over Your Drink,” Chief DiPino continued. “We want to help people to use good judgment, remind them not to trust strangers and encourage them contact the police immediately if they are the victim of a crime.”

For more information about National Sexual Assault Awareness Month, please visit http://www.nsvrc.org/.  In addition, victims seeking help should visit http://rainn.org, for live, one-on-one advice, support and information helplines.  The service is anonymous, secure and available 24/7 – providing victims with the help they need, via online, telephone or text message.

OCPD PROUDLY ANNOUNCES 2011 AUXILIARY OFFICER OF THE YEAR

On Thursday, March 22, 2012, the Ocean City Police Department celebrated its annual “Auxiliary Officer of the Year” banquet. The OCPD Auxiliary program, which began in 1999, boasts 16 members who generously donate their time to the Ocean City Police Department and the Ocean City community.

The title of “Auxiliary Officer of the Year” is awarded to the person who best demonstrates a devotion to duty and public service, and whose conduct and contributions exemplify the purpose of the Auxiliary Unit.  This year, the honor was awarded to Shalimar Kufchak, who has been a member of the Auxiliary program since 2010.

OCPD Auxilary Officers 2011/12

OCPD Auxilary Officers 2011/12

During 2011, Kufchak distinguished herself by contributing over 500 hours in support of public safety with the Ocean City Police Department.  Auxiliary Officer Kufchak assisted with many public safety functions, spending most of her time supporting the Services Section by answering phones at the front desk and assisting the property and evidence manager.   In addition, Kufchak donated her time to participate in special events such as the Ocean City Police Department’s Annual Christmas Food andToy Drive and the Play It Safe program.

“The Auxiliary Officers are an invaluable asset to our department,” commented Chief Bernadette DiPino.  “The nearly 3,000 hours in which they donated in 2011 not only benefited the men and women of the Ocean City Police Department, but their contribution to public safety impacted the Ocean City community as a whole. I commend Auxiliary Officer Kufchak for her dedication to our department and our community.”

Since its inception, the Auxiliary Officer Program has saved the Town of Ocean City nearly $1.5 million in service hours.  In 2011, a total of 2,944.5   hours of service to the Ocean City Police Department was donated, bringing the total hours of service to over 45,000.

OCEAN CITY POLICE SEEKING PUBLIC’S ASSISTANCE TO IDENTIFY BURGLARY SUSPECT

On Wednesday, March 7, 2012, at approximately 1:30 p.m., Ocean City Police responded to 3701 Atlantic Avenue for a burglary that had occurred at the Castle in the Sand hotel.  An investigation revealed the suspects made entry into numerous units of the hotel and stole 48 televisions, three flat screen wall mounts and five DVD players.  The televisions, which were a combination of 26” and 32” flat screens, were of the “Samsung” brand. 

In addition to the stolen electronics, police learned that approximately 14 Electrolux industrial strength vacuum cleaners were stolen from a storage room. In all, an estimated $35,000 in property was reported stolen.

Ocean City Police are actively pursuing leads in the burglary, which was believed to have taken place between late October 2011 and early March 2012.  The OCPD is asking for anyone with information about this incident, to please contact Detective Simpson at 410.520.5349.

OCPD SEEKING THEFT SUSPECTS’ IDENTITY

On March 17, 2012 at approximately 4 p.m., Ocean City Police responded to the Wine Rack, located at 8501 Coastal Highway, in reference to a theft.

The manager of the Wine Rack advised that a bank bag containing a large amount of money was stolen from the Wine Rack.  The money was in a blue colored bank bag in the back office of the Wine Rack.  The Wine Rack’s video surveillance system captured the suspect taking the bag. 

The OCPD has recovered video surveillance footage of the suspect committing the crime as well as several still images. 

Clip number 1 – Shows one of the unidentified suspects entering the office and stealing the blue bank bag containing the money.

The subsequent investigation has revealed a total of four suspects working together to steal the bank bag.  The suspects are described as follows:

SUSPECT 1: black male, medium build, wearing a knee length black colored coat, light blue knit hat, black shoes, bracelet on right wrist, blue jeans with designer torn knees.

SUSPECT 2: black male, medium build wearing a light grey sweatshirt, blue jeans and light colored boonie/fisherman’s hat.    

SUSPECT 3: black male, medium build, short cropped hair cut, wearing blue jeans, dark colored jacket.

SUSPECT 4: black male, yellow construction hardhat, black hooded sweatshirt, blue jeans, yellow safety reflective vest.

Wine Rack Suspects and Suspect Vehicle Images

Wine Rack Suspects and Suspect Vehicle Images

The suspects were seen leaving the scene in the following vehicle describe as a: tan or gold colored older model four door passenger vehicle.

Clip number 2 – Shows the suspects’ vehicle as well as one of the suspects in the front parking lot of the Wine Rack just prior to the theft.

 The OCPD is asking anyone with information related to this crime or the identity of the suspect, to contact the OCPD Criminal Investigation Division Detective Todd Speigle at: 410-520-5353 or 410-723-6604 or Detective Speigle directly by email: tspeigle@oceancitymd.gov

You do not have to leave your name.

OCEAN CITY POLICE WARNING CITIZENS OF OVER-THE-COUNTER DRUG

The Ocean City Police Department is warning citizens of an over-the-counter cold medicine which has become a popular drug for juveniles and young adults. The medicine, known as coricidin or chlorpheniramine, is taken orally to treat the common cold. Also known as Dextromethorphan (or “DXM”), coricidin is a cough-suppressing ingredient in a variety of cold medications.  Depending on the dose, DXM’s effects may vary. 

Dextromethorphan is a safe and effective cough suppressant when used as indicated on the product label. However, when taken in doses that far exceed the amount recommended, the ingredient may produce feelings of euphoria that some seek to get “high.” A teenager looking to get high or experiment with drugs may turn to over-the -counter cough and cold preparations that contain dextromethorphan because they are readily available at home or the local drug store. Dextromethorphan can also be purchased in a bulk powder form on the Internet. Some websites encourage teenagers to abuse dextromethorphan and actually offer “recipes” for the best way to achieve a high.

The misuse of the drug creates both depressant and mild hallucinogenic effects.  Users report a set of distinct dose-dependent “plateaus” ranging from a mild stimulant effect with distorted visual perceptions at low doses to a sense of complete disassociation from one’s body. If a child consumes large doses of a product containing dextromethorphan, it may cause a number of adverse effects, including impaired judgment and mental performance, loss of coordination, dizziness, nausea, hot flashes, disassociation and hallucinations.

Parents should be concerned if you notice that your child is taking excessive amounts of a cold and flu remedy, or if he or she continues to take medicine even after symptoms have subsided. Likewise, if cough and cold medications seem to disappear from the medicine cabinet or if you find packages of cough and cold preparations in the child’s room or backpack, he or she may be abusing the product.

In order to help prevent the abuse of dextromethorphan, parents should be mindful of children who are using medication outside of cold and flu season.  In addition, check and frequently inventory your medicine cabinets, monitor your child’s internet use and talk to your kids about drug abuse.  Additional prevention techniques include knowing your child’s friends and their parents and monitoring your child’s outside activities and whereabouts.

For more information, please visit www.naddi.org, www.dfaf.org and www.theantidrug.com.

OCPD & FOP LODGE 10 PARTICIPATE IN 5th ANNUAL MARCH MADNESS MINI-GOLF FUNDRAISER TO BENEFIT PLAY IT SAFE

The Ocean City Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention Committee sponsored its 5th annual “March Madness Mini-Golf” fundraiser on Monday, March 12, 2012 at Old Pro Golf on 136th Street and Coastal Highway. The fundraiser, which benefits Play It Safe, had an estimated turnout of nearly 50 people, with the Ocean City Police Department and the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Lodge 10, making up five participating teams.

Also in attendance, were members from the Ocean City Recreation and Parks Department, the Worcester County Health Department, Ocean City Special Events,AtlanticGeneralHospitaland several volunteers from the Ocean City Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention Committee.  In addition, golf pros from Glen Riddle and Ocean City Golf and Yacht were in attendance. 

Play It Safe will be celebrating its 23rd year in Ocean City in 2011. Play It Safe began in 1989 as a program for the latest high school graduates. Play It Safe joins several Town of Ocean City departments, as well as local businesses and organizations, to encourage high school graduates to make informed, healthy choices while having responsible fun without the use of alcohol and other drugs.

To find out how you can volunteer or donate to Play It Safe, please contact Ocean City Police Public Affairs Specialist Jessica Waters at 410.520.5395 or visit www.playitsafeoceancity.com.

DON’T PRESS YOUR LUCK ON ST. PATRICK’S DAY – DESIGNATE A SOBER DRIVER

St. Patrick’s Day has become a popular night to celebrate with family and friends.  Unfortunately, due to the large number of drunk drivers, St. Patrick’s Day has also become a very dangerous night to be on the roadways.

According to the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA), 37 percent of drivers and motorcyclist involved in fatal crashes in 2009 had a blood alcohol content above the legal limit.  Additionally, NHTSA statistics show in 2009 alone, there were 103 crash fatalities on St. Patrick’s Day. 

“St. Patrick’s Day is a wonderful time to celebrate in Ocean City,” commented Chief Bernadette DiPino. “However, before you choose where you will go for your celebration, you should choose a designated sober driver.”

The Ocean City Police Department recommends the following tips to ensure you have a safe St. Patrick’s Day.

  • Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin.
  • Before you begin drinking, designate a sober driver and leave your car keys at home.
  • If you are impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or take the bus so you are sure to get home safely.
  • If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, don’t hesitate to contact your local law enforcement agency.
  • Remember, if you know someone who is about to drive while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get where they are going safely.

OCEAN CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT REMINDING CITIZENS TO EXPECT DELAYS ON ST. PATTY’S DAY

The Ocean City Police Department is reminding citizens to expect traffic delays this St. Patrick’s Day, as the Delmarva Irish-American Club host their 31st Annual Parade and Festival.  The tradition, which has become one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day Parades in the state, will take place on March 17, 2012 and begins at 12 noon at 61st Street and marches south on Coastal Highway to the 45th Street Shopping Center.

In order to offer an ample amount of space for the parade’s participating floats, bands and motorized units, southbound traffic with be reduced to one lane from  62nd Street to 45th Street.  Northbound traffic will remain open, however, no left turns or u-turns will be allowed along the parade route from the northbound lane.

Residents and visitors are likely to see traffic delays on southbound Coastal Highway as early as 10 a.m. and should expect congestion until after 2 p.m.  Ocean City Police are encouraging people entering the Town of Ocean City to take Route 50, as traffic is not expected to be as heavy. In addition, heavy pedestrian traffic is also expected along the parade route and in surrounding areas. Pedestrians are encouraged to use the crosswalk and cross with caution.

 

OCEAN CITY POLICE MOURN THE LOSS OF RETIRED K9

The Ocean City Police Department is mourning the loss of veteran K9, Jester, who passed away on February 18, 2012, one day after his 11th birthday.  Jester, who retired from the department in 2008, came to the OCPD from Augsburg,Germany, at which time he became the courageous and loyal partner to Pfc. Christine (Plant) Kirkpatrick.

Jester, who achieved the highest level of certification (Schutzhund) before joining the OCPD in 2004, spent hundreds of hours in training in Patrol/Narcotics Division.  During his career he completed over 250 drug searches, including one incident in which he found a half-pound of marijuana concealed amidst engine parts and a handgun on the front seat of the vehicle, which resulted in significant jail time for the suspect. 

With a skill for tracking, Jester was successful at locating 13 people on tracks and although he was tough on the road, he was also known throughout the community for demonstrations for children and community groups. “I have never seen a dog so loved by all who met him,” commented (Plant) Kirkpatrick, former OCPD officer and partner to K9 Jester.  “I never intended to stay in police work very long, Jester is the reason I did. I loved being a K-9 handler from the first moment I got him and I couldn’t have asked for a better first partner.”

Since his retirement, Jester  lived a very happy life at home with Kirkpatrick.  He enjoyed playing ball in the backyard, relaxing on the couch and playing with his buddy Chance.  “His passing has left a hole in my heart that I think will never go away, he was a great work dog, loyal partner, and best friend,” Kirkpatrick said.