Ocean City Police Department

R.A.A.M. Project

Every summer week, Ocean City's five square miles of land supports upwards of 300,000 visitors at the height of the season. In June, tens of thousands of high school and college students visit our resort to celebrate the completion of their school year. Although most of these young people behave, too many engage in a pattern of conduct which jeopardizes their safety and others enjoyment of the community.

The RAAM Project is a community policing initiative addressing underage drinking and its related unacceptable behavior. The OCPD, civic organizations, the business community, and many divisions of City government are working together, supporting each other's efforts to reduce the problematic behavior affecting the image of Ocean City.

Ocean City is a very safe community considering the millions of visitors coming to the resort each year. However, the community was concerned that some disruptive youths could hurt the family image upon which Ocean City has built its hospitality reputation. The OCPD feels that by reducing the level of underage alcohol consumption, we can improve the quality of life in our community.

An essential component of this program is the partnership formed with the lodging industry and rental property community. Their cooperation is important to monitor their units rented to minors for alcohol usage and disorderly behavior. We encourage them to exercise their authority over the activity occurring on their properties.

Another equally important component of the program is the relationship formed with the alcohol retailers. This sector is a vital link to the problem-solving efforts necessary for the success of the program. The Town has encouraged the members of the Worcester County Licensed Beverage Association, a private group of alcohol retailers, to be vigilant about illegal purchases and to help spread the word to legal purchasers about the consequences of supplying alcohol to minors.

Ocean City Police Officers spent many hours traveling to high schools throughout Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Virginia spreading the message about RAAM. They explained the reasons behind the enforcement effort, as well as described the posture of the community. These efforts were well received by the students who seemed to appreciate that these officers took the time to come and speak with them.

We could also see the difference in the attitude of those who did come to Ocean City. Many of these kids chose not to drink at all. Consequently, the behavior during these weeks in June was much more tolerable.

During the high school visitations, our officers found that the students asked a number of questions regarding beach week. Almost all found the presentations worthwhile. School administrators have also been complimentary about the program. If you would like members of the Ocean City Police Department to visit a school in your area to speak with students, PTAs, or both, please contact Lindsay O'Neal, Public Affairs Specialist, at 410-723-6665, or email loneal@oceancitymd.gov.

The RAAM Project has been recognized with a Governor's Award for excellence in crime prevention from the Maryland Community Crime Prevention Institute. The program received national recognition from the National League of Cities in their "Excellence in Community Policing" awards competition. Under the category "Community Policing and Business," The RAAM Project placed second out of 398 applicants nationwide.