OCPD MOURNS THE LOSS OF RETIRED K9

Tacko

Tacko

(January 9, 2014) – The Ocean City Police Department is mourning the loss of veteran police K9, Tacko, who passed away on December 2, 2013. Tacko, originally from the Czech Republic, joined the police department in early 2005 after attending ten weeks of basic police K9 training with his partner, Pfc. Kevin Flower. He retired in November of 2012.

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 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.

In a press release announcing Tacko’s retirement, Pfc. Flower said, “I really believe he put a smile on everyone’s face that he encountered. Tacko attended numerous shift roll-calls and greeted every officer he could.”.

The Ocean City Fraternal Order of Police and the Ocean City Police Department recently presented Pfc. Flower with a commemorative urn and recognized Tacko’s accomplishments at the 2013 Neighborhood Watch Officer of the Year Banquet on January 7, 2014. “He worked so hard for so many officers,” Flower continued. “He was the best partner an officer could ever hope to have and he will be truly missed.”

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OCPD CPL. JAMES RUNKLES NAMED 2013 OFFICER OF THE YEAR

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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!”

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BE CAUTIOUS OF SCHOOL BUSSES WHILE TRAVELING

bus_safety(January 3, 2014) – With the holiday vacation ending and Worcester County students heading back to school on January 6, the Ocean City Police Department would like to remind motorists to be cautious while traveling. Motorists should do their part to keep children safe while they are getting on and off school busses.

Citizens are reminded that school bus pick-up and drop-off times may vary, however; citizens can generally expect to see busses on the road between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. then again between 2:45 p.m. and 4 p.m. While on Coastal Highway, motorists traveling in the same direction as a school bus must stop when the bus activates flashing red lights.

“Additional OCPD patrols are continuously assigned to enforce school bus safety each school day,” said Ocean City Police Chief Ross Buzzuro. “Drivers are reminded slow down and be especially alert in residential neighborhoods and school zones. Also, take extra time to look for children at intersections, on medians and curbs. Children should remember to stay off the street while waiting for the bus and wait for the bus driver’s signal before crossing in front of the bus.”

OCPD AND SANTA HOUSE TOY DRIVE A SUCCESS

(December 20, 2013) –The Ocean City Police Department’s Holiday Food and Toy Drive proved to be a blessing to many local families this holiday season. OCPD partnered with the Santa House, Inc. this year. The Santa House took in the many toys and donations and OCPD served as both a drop off and a distribution point. On December 17, OCPD gave food, toys and clothes to over 50 families and the Santa House served a combined total of over 500 families throughout the three distribution points: OCPD, Showell Fire Department and the Santa House warehouse in Snow Hill.

“The community we live in is a very benevolent one and it was extraordinary to witness the giving spirit during the holiday season,” said Ocean City Police Chief Ross Buzzuro. “Partnering with the Santa House was a great idea and we hope to continue this partnership in the future. We were able to serve the families of Ocean City as well as throughout Worcester County.”

Several Ocean City businesses and organizations contributed to the success of the Food and Toy Drive. Contributions were made by the Toys for Tommy campaign, Delmarva Condominium Managers Association, Atlantic Physical Therapy, Ocean City Parrotheads Clubs, Fager’s Island, Caine Woods Association, Ladies Hibernians, and the many people who donated directly to the Santa House. We would also like to thank all of the community members who dropped off toys and donations throughout the holiday season. Thanks to all of these donations, families all over Worcester County will have a joyous holiday season and children will have a gift to open Christmas morning. OCPD would like to thank each and every one of you.

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THREE OCPD PUBLIC SAFETY AIDES GRADUATE FROM CORRECTIONAL ACADEMY

Michael Newcomb, Damian Priznar, Chief Ross Buzzuro, Ashley Clark

Michael Newcomb, Damian Priznar, Chief Ross Buzzuro, Ashley Clark

(December 18, 2013) – On December 16, 2013, three Ocean City Police Department Public Safety Aides graduated from the Eastern Shore Criminal Justice Academy’s jail and corrections officer academy.

This is the first time that the OCPD has sent Public Safety Aides that work primarily in a corrections capacity to the Academy. This is in an effort to improve our detention facility and properly train our employees that staff it.

Public Safety Aides Ashley Clark, Michael Newcomb and Damian Priznar each completed over six weeks (263 hours) of intense training at the Academy. Ashley Clark was recognized for completing the Academy at the top of her class with an academic average of 95.7%.

“The OCPD has numerous employees who work primarily in our detention section that have many of the same duties as a correctional officer,” said Captain Greg Guiton, commander of the Support Services Division which includes the Detention Section. “This training will prove to be tremendously beneficial to our employees and our detention section as a whole.”

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OCPD WELCOMES TWO NEWLY GRADUATED OFFICERS

New Graduates Dec. 2013

Officer Erica Specht, Chief Ross Buzzuro, Officer Jacob Fetterolf

(December 17, 2013) – On December 17, 2013, two new Ocean City Police Department officers graduated from the Eastern Shore Criminal Justice Academy’s 71st police academy class.

Officers were formally recognized as certified police officers of the Ocean City Police Department, after 24 weeks, approximately 950 hours of intense training. The recruit class stemmed from various law enforcement agencies throughout Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

These officers continued the long established tradition of OCPD officers by graduating from the police academy with top honors. Officer Erica Specht earned both the Physical Fitness Award and Pistol Expert Award. Officer Jacob Fetterolf also earned the Pistol Expert Award and was recognized for having an overall 100% for pistol proficiency during the course.

“Each of the two new officers we welcomed this week is a perfect example of what we look for in new police recruits,” said Ocean City Police Chief Ross Buzzuro. “We are very confident that they will serve the Ocean City community with honor, integrity and pride.”

After their graduation from the police academy, the two new officers will enter into a nine week field training program. During this time, they will hone the skills they have acquired in the police academy under the direct supervision of a veteran OCPD field training officer. They will be routinely evaluated and critiqued on their performance and will be exposed to the various shifts and divisions that make up the OCPD.

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OCPD CLOSE EIGHT MONTH INVESTIGATION OF SNOW HILL MAN

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Billy Conn Davis, Jr.

(December 10, 2013) – On December 7, 2013 at approximately 5:50 p.m. the Ocean City Police Narcotics Unit brought an eight-month drug distribution investigation to an end with the arrest of Billy Conn Davis, Jr., 50, of Snow Hill, MD. Over the course of eight months, police received information that Davis was selling controlled dangerous substances in Ocean City.

On December 7, Ocean City Police Narcotics Unit conducted surveillance on Davis and initiated a traffic stop in the area of 67th Street and Coastal Highway. During a search of Davis’ vehicle, police recovered over 150 bags of heroin and a large amount of cocaine and crack cocaine. Police also recovered marijuana, oxycontin and seized over $900.

Ocean City police have charged Davis with multiple drug possession and distribution charges. Davis was seen by a Maryland District Court Commissioner and transferred to Worcester County Jail on $75,000 bond.

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OCPD NARCOTICS DETECTIVES CONCLUDE HEROIN DISTRIBUTION INVESTIGATION

120413(December 4, 2013) – On November 26, 2013, at approximately 4:55 p.m. the Ocean City Police Narcotics Unit, with the assistance of the Special Enforcement Unit, concluded a heroin distribution investigation with the arrest of Timmy Morris, 30. Morris has no fixed address.

Morris was arrested after a three week undercover investigation in which detectives made purchases of heroin from Morris. Police arrested Morris in the area of 58th Street and Coastal Highway without incident. At the time of arrest, Morris was in possession of 39 bags of heroin, a small amount of crack cocaine and over $300 in US currency.

A second subject, Mathew Kyle Anderson, 23, of Selbyville, DE was also arrested during this incident. Anderson was with Morris at the time of his arrest and was found to be in possession of Suboxone.

Morris has been charged by Ocean City Police with three counts of heroin possession, two counts of distribution of heroin, and possession with intent to distribute heroin. Anderson was charged with possession of Suboxone. Both were seen by a Maryland District Court Commissioner. Morris was transferred to the Worcester County Jail on $50,000 bond and Anderson was released on his own recognizance.

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OCPD ARREST MILLSBORO MAN FOR KEG THEFTS

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Jason J. Wilz

(December 3, 2013) – Beginning in July 2013 through November 2013, Ocean City Police received several reports involving thefts of empty beer kegs from bars and restaurants in the north end of Ocean City. The empty kegs were stolen from the rear of each bar and restaurant that was victimized.

During the investigation, officers made contact with Rehoboth Beach Police Department detectives who shared information about similar reports from bars and restaurants in Rehoboth Beach. Together with Rehoboth Beach police, officers were able to determine that the suspect, Jason J. Wilz, 33, of Millsboro, DE, committed the thefts in both areas.

Wilz has been charged by Ocean City police with second and fourth degree burglary, two counts of theft ($1,000-$10,000), two counts of theft scheme ($1,000-$10,000) and three counts of theft under $1,000. Wilz is currently in custody at Sussex Correctional Institute in Georgetown, DE, for similar charges from Rehoboth Beach police.

Ocean City police would like to remind our local bars and restaurants to take the proper precautions with empty beer kegs. Owners are reminded to secure the kegs by putting them in a locked cage, using a chain or keeping them in a secure location within the establishment to avoid becoming a victim.

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OCEAN CITY MAN ARRESTED FOR BURGLARY

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Donovan Smith

(November 21, 2013) – On November 20, 2013, at approximately 10:00 a.m., Ocean City police responded to the area of Baltimore Avenue and 1st Street for a report of a burglary. The victim reported that the suspect had entered his room, a nearby office space and another room of the hotel and had stolen numerous items.

During the investigation, Ocean City Communications broadcast a description of the suspect over police radio. Shortly after the broadcast, the suspect, who was later identified as Donovan Smith, 46, of Ocean City, was spotted in West Ocean City. Police responded to the area and arrested Smith without incident.

Ocean City police have charged Smith with multiple counts of breaking and entering and theft. Smith was seen by a Maryland District Court Commissioner and transferred to Worcester County Jail on $50,000 bond.

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