(June 21, 2013) After a months-long process of screening and interviewing, the City Council voted in a closed-door meeting this week to hire Lt. Col. Ross Buzzuro of the Baltimore City Police Department as the Ocean City Police Department’s next chief of police.
“On behalf of the City Council, I am very pleased to welcome Chief Buzzuro to Ocean City,” Mayor Rick Meehan said in a press release. “We had a number of very qualified candidates apply for the position and this was a very tough decision to make. However, Chief Buzzuro’s knowledge, experience and leadership stood out amongst the rest.”
Buzzuro’s appointment comes after the departure of former OCPD Chief Bernadette DiPino, who was selected in October of last year as the next head of the Sarasota, Fla. police department. DiPino had been with the OCPD for 25 years after beginning her career in Baltimore as well.
Since then, the OCPD’s three captains have been rotating the chiefs’ duties amongst themselves until a replacement is named. Two of those captains – Capt. Kevin Kirstein and Capt. Michael Colbert – applied for the chief’s position and were in the final running along with three outside candidates.
Those five applicants were interviewed by City Council last week, and the selection was put to vote in an executive session before Monday night’s meeting.
Buzzuro began his career in law enforcement in 1985 as a rookie with the BCPD, working his way through the ranks until he was promoted to lieutenant colonel in 2007. He has served as a commander in Baltimore City’s Special Enforcement Section, Patrol Division, Criminal Investigation Division, and Internal Investigations Division.
Most recently, Buzzuro was named in February as the new head of Baltimore’s police academy following an incident in which a training officer accidentally shot a recruit in the head by using a live weapon instead of a practice pistol. The incident revealed what were alleged to be massive oversights and a lack of regulation in the department’s training methods
Following the removal of the academy’s then-director, the BCPD appointed a new head for the school, but that commander left for another department after only a few days and Buzzuro was named as his successor, with city leaders saying he would work to reform the management and procedural discipline of the academy.
Buzzuro is slated to begin his position in Ocean City on July 2.
“I am honored to serve the residents and visitors of Ocean City as Chief of Police,” Buzzuro said in the release. “As Chief, I understand a key component of public safety is partnering with the community and understanding the dynamic of Ocean City’s unique environment. I look forward to accomplishing public safety through teamwork, professionalism, and discipline of the fine men and women who serve the Ocean City Police Department.”