After a string of violent incidents on the city’s boardwalk, the mayor of Ocean City, Maryland, said Monday that it is time to grant the police department’s request for more officers.
Mayor Rick Meehan said what happened last week was “ugly.”
“Yes, we expected June, but we didn’t expect June on steroids, and that’s what we got,” Meehan said.
Last week, an attack caught on video showed a young man being punched in the face repeatedly. Other incidents included assaults on the boardwalk and a stabbing.
Meehan said police chief Ross Buzzuro has been asking for additional officers for years, and it’s time to grant his request to hire more officers.
“These problems don’t just occur in June,” they happen at other times, Meehan said.
Buzzuro posted a message online saying visitors can expect more officers on the boardwalk, on patrol and throughout the town. Officers will “strictly, yet professionally” enforce the law, he said.
Buzzuro said the behavior the town has seen recently will not be tolerated.
The city could consider imposing a curfew to clear the boardwalk, but that is something under consideration for next year rather than now, Meehan said. The concept would be advertised in advance with the goal of discouraging visitors from coming.
Meehan said the city is seeing many first-time visitors, likely because of the effects of the pandemic, including cancellation of events that led to lower hotel rates.
He also called on businesses to be involved with ensuring guest safety, saying they are part of the solution and urging some to take action, such as having additional security in parking lots.
Plus, the community can also play a part in the long-range plans, he said.
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WTOP’s Michelle Basch contributed to this report.