Ocean City Expands Police Powers of Arrest - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Ocean City Expands Police Powers of Arrest

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Ocean City Police patrolling the boardwalk (WBOC) Ocean City Police patrolling the boardwalk (WBOC)

OCEAN CITY, Md.- Town officials in Ocean City have expanded the resort's police officers' powers of arrest for municipal infraction violations. The new emergency ordinance passed upgrades minor violations, such as smoking on the boardwalk in undesignated areas and not complying with boardwalk performer rules from warning violations to misdemeanor arrestable offenses. 

Ocean City police spokeswoman Lindsay Richard said the crackdown was needed to address ongoing issues.

"Our officers at a few times would run into problems where there would be repeat offenders; where there would be offenders continuously smoking on the boardwalk day after day and continuously our officers would have to give them a citation," Richard said. 

The new ordinance makes it against the law not to comply immediately with a police officer's order for municipal infractions. Whether to arrest someone or give them a warning is at the discretion of the officer.

This does not sit well with visitors to Ocean City, such as Eva Foster.

"I think that would be too much of having a broad power it's kind of open to their discretion. I don't feel as a citizen that, that would be fair, because then you wouldn't know what to do and what not to do," Foster said. 

Mark Martin is homeless and visits the boardwalk often; he disagrees with the new laws.

"Basically, we struggle everyday just to survive and now they're going to crackdown harder on us and it makes...it makes our world just a little bit harder," Martin said. 

Beachgoers, like Dan Streckfus, said more enforcement is needed. 

"They know what the rules are and anyone with any common sense knows that when they put rules out there you have to follow them," Streckfus said. 

According to Richard, the new ordinance went into effect immediately and she officers will be out doing enforcement to ensure public safety. Richard also stated the circumstances surrounding each incident regarding the municipal infractions will be taken into account in an officer's decision to either give a warning or make an arrest in Ocean City. 

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