From L to R: Lt. Mark Pacini, Ofc. Daniel McBride, Cpl. James Runkles, Lt. Scott Harner and Cpl. Allen Hawk
(January 8, 2014) – On Tuesday, January 7, 2014, the Neighborhood Watch Associations of Ocean City gathered at the Roland E. Powell Convention Center Bayfront Ballroom for their annual “Officer of the Year” recognition dinner. Nearly 140 guests attended the event, including Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan and all seven city council members. Also in attendance were OCPD employees, Ocean City residents and members of the eight Neighborhood Watch Associations in Ocean City, which consist of the Boardwalk Association, Bayshore Drive Association, Caine Keys II Association, Caine Woods Association, Edgewater Avenue Association, Little Salisbury Association, Montego Bay Association and Sundowner Park Association.
Ocean City Corporal (Cpl.) James Runkles was selected to be the honorable recipient of the Ocean City Neighborhood Watch Association’s 2013 “Officer of the Year” award. Also nominated were Ocean City Police Lieutenant Scott Harner, Lieutenant Mark Pacini, Corporal Allen Hawk, and Officer Daniel McBride.
Runkles is originally from Baltimore, MD. He served our country in the United States Marine Corps from 1999 until 2004, where he deployed to the theater of operations during Operation Enduring Freedom and again in Africa. Cpl. Runkles began his OCPD career in 2007 and has been assigned to the patrol division since his start. He was promoted to Police Officer First Class in 2010 and Corporal in 2012. Cpl. Runkles became a K-9 officer in March of 2011. He and his K-9 partner, “Breki,” have been instrumental in the seizure of narcotics, weapons and suspects. As an OCPD officer, Cpl. Runkles has received an Excellent Police Performance commendation, a Unit Citation, a Bronze Star and was recognized by the OC Elks Lodge as their Ocean City Law Enforcement Officer of the Year in 2010.
Also recognized during the ceremony were the members of the Ocean City Police Department and Neighborhood Watch groups that passed away in 2013. The families of officers Joshua Adickes, Thomas Geoghegan and Animal Control Officer Donald Spence received memorial items from Chief Ross Buzzuro and Ocean City Fraternal Order of Police. OCPD K-9 officer, Pfc. Kevin Flower, was also given a commemorative urn from his former partner “Tacko” who passed away this year. Finally, Dan Donatelli and Dorothy “Dot” Healey were also remembered as dedicated members of their Neighborhood Watch groups for many years.
Numerous officers received commendations for distinguishing themselves by going above and beyond what is normally required during various incidents that occurred throughout 2013. These officers were awarded through unit citations, awards of excellent performance and meritorious services. Lastly, six employees from the OCPD were also recognized for promotions.
Receiving recognition for promotions were:
- Police Officer First Class: Joshua Adickes, Amy Gutowski, Richard Gutowski, Justin Hoban and Christopher Wrench
- Sergeant: Charles “Josh” Kelley
“The Ocean City Police Department would like to thank the citizens of Ocean City and the eight Neighborhood Watch Associations for taking their time to recognize the officers of the OCPD at last night’s event,” said Ocean City Police Chief Ross Buzzuro. “We are extremely thankful for the time these citizens take throughout the year to maintain the very special partnership that exists between the citizens of Ocean City and their police. We are lucky to live in a community with an outstanding police department and extraordinary residents. It’s a great team!”