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HomeMy WebLinkAbout2021-05-17 Police Commission Minutes POLICE COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES May 17, 2021 PRESENT: Mayor Richard Meehan, Police Commission Chairman Lloyd Martin, Council President Matthew James, Council Member Peter Buas, City Manager Douglas Miller, Chief Ross Buzzuro, Captain Elton Harmon, Jr., Heather Stansbury, Esquire, Director of Emergency Services Joseph Theobald, Deputy Communications Manager Ashley Miller, Planning & Community Development Director Bill Neville 1. The meeting was called to Order at 9:00 AM in the Yd Floor Administrative Conference Room of the Public Safety Building. 2. Minutes of the April 12, 2021 Meeting: Mayor Meehan made a Motion and Council President James Seconded to approve the minutes of the March April 12, 2021 Police Commission meeting. The motion passed unanimously. 3. Chief Buzzuro's Update: Chief Buzzuro reviewed the statistics for March 2021. He noted that the statistics now include a 3rd year to allow for a more accurate comparison since the numbers from 2020 were skewed because of the pandemic. During April 2021, there were 1, 116 Officer Calls for Service which is a slight increase of 21 calls when compared to 2019. Citizens Calls for Services were 949 which is right in line with the 2019 statistics. The majority of the Top 25 Calls for Service saw a slight increase, however traffic stops had a drop off of 20%. April Enforcement: custodial arrests 149; 6 criminal citations, 21 drug arrests, 15 drug citations (marijuana); 24 DUI arrests and 17 weapon arrests. Smoking Citations were 14 for 2021 with 2019 and 2020 being zero. Littering citations were still at zero, however, Chief Buzzuro mentioned that our PSA's will be on the boardwalk by May 30 and these types of citations are expected to increase. It was agreed by all that there are more people in town, that room tax collected in March of this year was high and we should expect a big number again once the numbers are in for April. Citizens all over the country have been boxed in and without freedoms and with more people we will see more arrests. The good news is that OCPD is very pro-active in keeping crime off of our streets. 4. Seasonal Hiring pdate: Seasonal Police Officers: As of May 11, 2021, we have hired 46 new and returning police officers. Public Safety Aides: As of May 11, 2021, we have hired 60 new and returning Public Safety Aides. We are slightly lower this year than in 2020 with a total combined of 106 seasonal employees, compared to last year we had 1.14. 5. June and Pop-Up Rally:Discussion: Discussion began with Chief Buzzuro assuring the PC members that OCPD is at full force with the Special Event Zone in place for Spring Cruisin' with all roads lowered to 30 mph, unless designated at 25 mph in residential areas. There is assistance being provided by Maryland State Police and Worcester County Sheriff's Office as well as towing companies are assisting if needed. Captain Harmon informed the Commission that OCPD will be ready for June with the seasonal and full-time positions. Summer Deployment begins on May 23, 2021 at 2200 hours. There continues to be internal discussions concerning June and Pop-Up Rally. There are 9 recruits attending the Full-Time Academy who will graduate during the 2nd week of June. They will then spend four weeks with a full-time officer completing their field training. We are expecting to send 4 recruits to the July Academy. There is also a lateral officer who is interested in joining the department. 6. Municipal Infraction Collections: City Attorney Heather Stansbury informed the commission that OCPD had begun tracking municipal infractions and learned that because of changes made with the State's Attorney's office and how they prosecute municipal infractions, that much of the debt is not being collected. It appears that approximately $200,000 is going uncollected. It is the request of the City Attorney's office and the City Manager, that the Police Commission make a recommendation to have the City Attorney's office look into a local collection agency and she will report back to the City Manager with her findings. Mayor Meehan made a MOTION and Council President James SECONDED to have City Attorney Stansbury and City Manager Miller explore the options and report back at the next Police Commission meeting. The Motion passed unanimously. 7. Residential Parking Permits: Bill Neville brought maps of St. Louis Avenue which shows 200 parking spaces with potentially 423 owners. Each owner would get 2 parking passes so that would mean 846 passes for only 200 spaces. Mr. Neville has been asked to look at the side streets west of St. Louis Avenue between 4d' and 15'h Streets as there are spaces on the side streets. This endeavor is not to guarantee anyone a parking spot. It is more to deter sleeping in vehicles overnight as the permit will allow a vehicle to be parked on the street between 3:OOAM and 6:00 AM. There would be much work to be done to allow this to happen and we want to get it right. A new District recommendation would be done at the Parking Commission level with the Mayor and Council having the authority to create a new district. The existing Ordinance would need to be amended. The City Clerk's office would be tasked with this permit program which could also be administratively heavy. It was suggested that a hanging placard would be easiest for enforcement over using the Park Mobile app. OCPD will have maximum enforcement this June (and all summer) for sleeping in cars. Mayor Meehan suggested that No Sleeping in Vehicles signs should be installed along the side streets. 8. Taxi Medallion Issues: Continuing the discussion from the previous month, City Manager Miller shared that Uber/Lyft has decimated the taxi industry. Kelly Allmond 2 called other Maryland counties to conduct research on what other municipalities are doing. Police Commission Chairman Martin stated that the value of taxi medallions is not what they were because of Uber/Lyft. All agreed that the system works, but the fees should be reduced. Mayor Meehan made a MOTION and Council Member Buas SECONDED to recommend to the Mayor&Council to reduce the medallion fee to $50.00 and reduce the transfer fee to $100. Also any changes to the Ordinance shall be done by resolution. The Motion passed unanimously. A MOTION was made by Council President Matthew James and seconded by Mayor Meehan to adjourn the meeting at 9:58 AM. The vote was unanimous. The next regular meeting of the Police Commission will be held on Monday, June 14, 2021 at 9:00 AM in the 3 d Floor Administrative Conference Room at the Public Safety Building, 6501 Coastal Highway, Ocean City, MD 21842. 3