Monthly Archives: November 2012

PRACTICE PROACTIVE CRIME PREVENTION DURING THE HOLIDAYS

It that time of year again, the Christmas holiday season is upon us.  We shop for gifts and make plans to visit family and friends. For most, our homes and its contents contain our most valuable assets, heirlooms and memories and protecting it with the following crime prevention tips is an inexpensive way to maintain value and safety.  In addition to taking steps to protect your home, the Ocean City Police Department asks you to remain vigilant and alert by reporting any suspicious people, activities or circumstances in your neighborhood. 

It is important to continue following simple crime prevention techniques that will protect you and your property from being a victim of a crime.

  • Remember to lock all doors and windows to your home and vehicle.
  • If you have an alarm system, please make certain you use it, even at night when you’re sleeping and when you leave your home unattended for short periods of time.
  • Keep inside and outside of your home well lit.  Lighting is an inexpensive crime prevention strategy and often deters criminals, so keep your lights on.
  • Keep trees and bushes trimmed below windows.
  • Never post vacation or travel plans on social media sites, Facebook, Twitter etc.  Instead, share your plans with a trusted neighbor, family member or friends who will keep an eye on your property while you are away. 
  • If you are away from your residence, don’t “check-in” on social media sites indicating your location.
  • Consider notifying your trusted neighbors of your travel plans and providing them you’re your emergency contact information.

Citizens should consider becoming an active member of an Ocean City Neighborhood Watch Association.  Currently, Ocean City boasts eight Neighborhood Watch Associations, including Caine Woods, Caine Keys II, Bayshore Drive, the Boardwalk Association, Edgewater Avenue, Little Salisbury, Montego Bay and Sundowner Park.  Neighborhood Watch groups have been instrumental in reducing crime and keeping citizens informed of various public safety issues.

If you plan on leaving the area for any extended period of time, the Ocean City Police Department encourages residents to take advantage of the “Residential Security Check Program.”  This free program is available to all Ocean City residents whether you own or rent, live in a condominium or single-family home.  To participate in this program, call the OCPD Public Affairs Office at 410-723-6663. Registration may also be done online by visiting the OCPD website at: http://oceancitymd.gov/Police/securitycheck.html

The OCPD knows a well-informed citizen and a proactive community is the best form of crime prevention. Please join the team to keep Ocean City a safe and fun place to live, work and visit.

Holiday Charity Scam Advisory 2012

Every holiday season, criminal charity scams seem to reach a feverish peak.  The Ocean City community’s reputation for its generosity is well known and therefore disreputable, deceptive opportunistic scammers often target local citizens.  Since the creation of the Internet and e-commerce technology, most citizens have enjoyed a new wonderfully convenient way to communicate, shop, book travel, and be charitable, however; there is a dark side as well. 

The Ocean City Police Department is reminding citizens to be cautious when giving to charities and when shopping, particularly on-line.

According to Scambusters.org, (http://www.scambusters.org/charityscams.html) there are 4 popular holiday charity scams to avoid:

  • The Donate a Car Deal - Action: The best way to donate a vehicle is to identify a charity that actually uses vehicles in its programs, for example, delivering meals to the homebound, taking elderly or blind people to the doctor or on errands, or training future auto mechanics.
  • The Email Charity Scam - Action: If you want to help the charity mentioned in the email, contact them directly with a phone call or use a Google search to find their real website.
  • Police and Firefighter Charities - Action: Before you give, make sure you know whether the group is a local, state or national organization. Get specifics on the programs your donation will fund and make sure you understand how they will help your local officers.
  • Prospect Fundraising - Action: Before you give, make sure you know whether the group is a local, state or national organization. Get specifics on the programs your donation will fund and make sure you understand how they will help your local officers.

Ocean City police remind citizens not to provide anyone, particularly persons you have no affiliation with, personal or bank information either over the telephone or internet.   Scam artist often target persons who they have obtained some information about and then try to confirm the information or even obtain what they need to falsify a person’s identity and or access to personal banking and credit card information.

Never use credit cards that are directly linked to checking, savings or money market accounts.  Citizens should be particularly weary of a charity asking donors to you use a wire transfer service such as “Western Union” to send donations, especially overseas.  The OCPD reminds citizens when they use the Internet or telephone to make and monetary transactions either donations or purchases, only make it to a reputable well-established charity or businesses or internet site.  If you use a credit card to make donation or purchase check your statement and ensure that your charges are legitimate.

The Federal Trade Commission recommends that consumers review the credit history annually to ensure they have no unauthorized credit accounts. For additional credit and purchase safety information go to http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/menus/consumer/credit.shtm.

If you believe there has been suspicious activity involving a charitable donation or a purchase you have made, immediately contact your bank and local police.

ARMED ROBBERY SUSPECT ARRESTED BY O.C.P.D.

Hector Aaron Torres

Hector Aaron Torres

On November 26, 2012, Ocean City police detectives received confidential information that a male, later identified as Hector Aaron Torres, 25, of Ocean City, was planning an armed robbery of the O.C. Dollar Store, located at 203 Philadelphia Avenue.  Police detectives corroborated the information and based upon the detailed information developed, officers immediately removed the store employees from the business.  Ocean City Police concealed tactical officers inside and outside of the business and began surveillance. 

At approximately 8:20 p.m., Torres entered the O.C. Dollar Store wearing a hooded sweat shirt, with the hood pulled over his head concealing his face.  Torres was holding a razor knife in one hand and a kitchen knife in his other hand.  During the attempted armed robbery, Torres walked through the store aisles attempting to locate a store employee.  Officers confronted Torres inside of the business and attempted to arrest him.

Torres immediately attempted to flee on foot, at which time officers ordered him to stop.  After failing to obey verbal commands by officers, Torres was subdued and taken into custody by an officer who used a TASER electronic control device.  Police recovered the razor knife and kitchen knife which were discarded by Torres when he attempted to flee the scene. 

Torres has been charged as follows:

  • Armed Robbery (Felony)
  • Robbery (Felony)
  • Conspiracy to Commit Armed Robbery
  • Conspiracy to Commit Robbery
  • Resisting Arrest
  • Possession of a Concealed Deadly Weapon
  • Possession of a Deadly Weapon With Intent to Injure

Torres is being held on $250,000 bond.

OCPD Executive Assistant to the Chief of Police Retires

Carolyn Beatty is retiring after ten years of faithful and dedicated service to the Ocean City

Carolyn E. Beatty

Carolyn E. Beatty

Police Department and the Town of Ocean City. Beatty, who joined the department in 2003, has spent her career as the Executive Assistant to Ocean City Police Chief Bernadette DiPino.

During her career with the OCPD, Beatty oversaw the operational needs of the Office of the Chief.  She was instrumental in ensuring that key processes, critical to the operation of the department, were accomplished and successful. 

Beatty was selflessly dedicated to overseeing and coordinating critical administrative demands of the department, which included personnel orders, special orders and Chief of Police memorandums.  She was also tasked with additional responsibilities, such as the coordination of the OCPD Christmas Toy & Food Drive, numerous “Maryland Special Olympics” fundraising events, as well as the responsibilities to ensure that all of the public’s correspondence with the Chief of Police were handled in a first rate professional manner.

The men and women of the Ocean City Police Department would like to congratulate Mrs. Carolyn Beatty on her retirement from public service.  “She was always there and always made it possible for me to manage a multitude of projects and endeavors,” said Chief DiPino.  “Over the years, I have received numerous compliments about Carolyn’s demeanor, compassion, kindness and professional conduct, from citizens, politicians and law enforcement professionals.” Carolyn made certain whatever came out of this department was polished and professional.”

Beatty has severed the citizens of Ocean City and the personnel of the OCPD with distinction.  Her charisma, character and charm will be tremendously missed. The singularly distinctive accomplishments of Beatty as the Executive Assistant to the Chief of Police were instrumental in the day to day operations and reflect great credit upon herself and the Ocean City Police Department.

 

OCPD Retire Veteran K9 “Tacko”

On November 9, 2012, the Ocean City Police Department officially retired veteran police

OCPD K9 Tacko

OCPD K9 Tacko

K9, “Tacko”, after almost 8-years of service. 

Tacko was born August 28, 2001 in Czech Republic and came to the U.S. via Tarheel Canine, located in North Carolina.  In early 2005 Tacko was partnered with PFC Flower and both attended 10 weeks of basic police K9 training. After completion in the spring of 2005, PFC Flower and his new partner served the citizens and visitors of Ocean City for eight summer seasons. 

Tacko was certified eight times by the North American Police Working Dog Association (NAPWDA) and the National Law Enforcement Canine Organization (NLECO). During his distinguished police career with the OCPD, Tacko has had over 1500 deployments, which include building and vehicle searches, searches for suspects as well as open field searches for evidence resulting in the detection and recovery of illegal contraband and the arrests of hundreds of suspects.  In addition, Tacko has assisted other Maryland law enforcement agencies, the US Air Force and US Customs Service with drug interdiction and detection. 

“Tacko retires with distinction and honor,“ commented Chief Bernadette DiPino. “The OCPD relies heavily on our K9 partners to do what no other police resource can do. They are invaluable assets in fighting crime.  Tacko will be missed by officers and citizens alike.”

Tacko will remain with PFC Flower and his family. “I really believe he put a smile on everyone’s face that he encountered,” commented PFC Flower. “Tacko attended numerous shift roll-calls and greeted every officer he could.  He worked so hard for so many officers.  He was the best partner and officer could ever hope to have.”

PFC Flower, who is now in the process of selecting and training a new K9 partner, continued “Tacko will have a well-deserved life of leisure; he will settle into a hum drum quiet suburban life far away from his busy police K9 duties, it has been a privileged to have been blessed with such a great K9 partner and friend.”

The OCPD wishes K9 Tacko a happy well deserved retirement and looks forward to welcoming PFC Flower’s new K9 partner in the future.

OCPD is Urging Citizens to Use Seat Belts and Practice Safe Travel Habits This Thanksgiving

The Thanksgiving Holiday is one of the busiest single travel days of the year. Despite the sluggish US economy AAA expects holiday travel to increase this year. The Thanksgiving holiday travel period is marked from Wednesday November 21 through Saturday November 24. 

The US Department of Transportation recommends the following safety tips:

  • Always buckle up. In 2004, an estimated 55 percent of those killed in passenger vehicle crashes were not wearing safety belts.
  • Don’t tailgate. For every 10 mph of speed, stay at least one vehicle length behind the vehicle in front of you.
  • On icy roads, you should allow at least three times more space between you and the vehicle in front of you. Remember that bridges and overpasses are usually the first to freeze in cold conditions.
  • Slow down during bad weather. Each year, there are approximately 6,500 fatalities and 450,000 injuries from crashes that occur during bad weather.
  • Use child safety seats properly.
  • Obey speed limits.
  • Slow-down in construction zones and pay attention to warning signs and road crew flaggers.

 

“Seat belts continue to save more lives than any other single piece of automotive safety equipment,” said Chief Bernadette DiPino.  “But in order for them to work, they have to be used.  This Thanksgiving, and every day and night of the year, make sure you buckle up your seat belt and you’ll have the opportunity to unbuckle that other belt at the feast table with your family and friends.”

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA);

  • During the 2010 Thanksgiving holiday (which ran from 6 p.m., Wednesday, November 24, to 5:59 a.m., Monday, November 29) 337 passenger vehicle occupants were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes nationwide, and 55 percent of those killed were unbelted. 
  • Nighttime hours are the most dangerous.  In 2010 nationally, 61 percent of the 10,647 passenger vehicle occupants who were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes overnight (6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m.) were not wearing their seat belts at the time of the fatal crash, compared to 42 percent during the daytime hours.
  • Unfortunately, nighttime fatalities spike over the Thanksgiving holiday. During the 2010 Thanksgiving holiday weekend, 64 percent of the passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes were unbelted, while only 41 percent of daytime fatalities during those same days involved unbelted passenger vehicle occupants.

“The Thanksgiving holiday is traditionally spent with family, said DiPino.  “But if you hit the highways unbelted, the faces you could be seeing this Holiday might belong to an emergency room physician or nurse instead of the faces of your family and friends.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), regular seat belt use is the single most effective way to protect people and reduce fatalities in motor vehicle crashes.  Research has shown that when lap and shoulder belts are used properly, the risk of fatal injury to front seat passenger car occupants is reduced by 45 percent, and the risk of moderate to serious injury is reduced by 50 percent.

For more information about traveling safely during Thanksgiving, please visit www.TrafficSafetyMarketing.gov.

OCPD Annual Christmas Food and Toy Drive

The Ocean City Police Department is asking for toy donations, as well as monetary

The lobby of the Public Safety Building during last years toy drive

The lobby of the Public Safety Building during last years toy drive

donations, in order to provide gifts and food baskets to local families. Unwrapped, new toys may be dropped off at the Public Safety Building, located at 65th Street and Coastal Highway.

For those who wish to contribute monetary donations, an account for food baskets has been set up at the Bank of Ocean City (the account name is: Town of Ocean City, Ocean City Police Department DBA-Holiday Food and Toy Drive). While you may contribute donations to any Bank of Ocean City branch, we ask you not to bring food to the Department or the bank. You may also send your donations to “OCPD Christmas Toy Drive” at 6501 Coastal Highway, Ocean City, Maryland, 21842.

The Ocean City Police Department is accepting referrals of children or families that are in need of assistance. In order to participate, families must be Ocean City residents or individuals who work in Ocean City

“This communities generosity is always remarkable, it is one of the things I will truly miss when I leave,” said OCPD Chief Bernadette A. DiPino. “the economy continues to be challenging for most Americans including a lot of our residents, the businesses and citizens of the Ocean City community continue to pull together to provide for those ocean city families who are struggling this year. This is what Christmas is all about.”  This has been my family tradition that Chief DiPino has carried on from her father and grandfather, who were both Baltimore City police officers. 

In addition to monetary donations, the Ocean City Police Department is looking for volunteers. Those who volunteer will be assisting other participants with the collection of toys and food on the day of the distribution. The Ocean City Police Department asks that all donations be made by Friday, December 21. Distribution will take place on Saturday, December 22, promptly at 8 a.m.

The OCPD Public Affairs Office will begin taking names of volunteers and those in need on November 13. To submit a donation, volunteer, or refer a family in need, please contact Public Affairs Officer Michael Levy or at 410.723.6665, or call the OCPD Records Section Supervisor Michelle Monico at: 410-723-6631 or Records Technician Tim Coyle: at 410-520-5105.

Ocean City Lifts Declaration of Emergency

After enduring Hurricane Sandy’s arrival and diligently working to assess the resulting damage in Ocean City, Mayor Rick Meehan has lifted the Declaration of Emergency.  The Declaration of Emergency was declared on Sunday, October 28, in anticipation of Hurricane Sandy. 

The order to close the beach is no longer in effect and the Inlet Lot is currently open for residents and visitors.  Town of Ocean City services, including trash pick-up and transportation, have been restored to normal schedules.  In addition, the State of Maryland currently has a contractor on the beach that is responsible for debris removal, clean up, sand fence replacement and dune crossover repair for the entire beach north of 27th Street.  Residents and businesses who wish to discard storm related debris can place debris on the curb, where citizens normally place trash (out of the way of driveways, street ways and fire hydrants) and Public Works employees will conduct pickup on November 5 and November 6.  No storm related debris collection will take place this weekend, Saturday, November 3 and Sunday, November 4. 

Currently, representatives from the Town of Ocean City’s Emergency Services staff and Ocean City Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) volunteers are on scene in Crisfield to assist their community as needed. The formal request of assistance, which came from the State of Maryland, was to primarily offer support with the sheltering operation and serving as a point of distribution for food and water.  In addition, the Ocean City Volunteer Fire Department has sent three volunteers and a utility pick-up to assist with Somerset County’s Hazmat operation.

Again, the Town of Ocean City wants to thank the residents, businesses and visitors for following the advice of the officials and offering patience as the city assess the damage after the storm.  Due to the preparedness of the citizens and the employees, the Ocean City community experienced zero storm related injuries and minimal city-wide damage.