By Greg Ellison
(Jan. 16, 2020) Taking a momentary step back to fuel pending progress, the Ocean Pines Police Department is in the midst of temporarily relocating operations to an adjacent trailer as work progresses to renovate and expand the current facility located next to White Horse Park .
Ocean Pines Police Chief Dave Massey said the recently commenced construction project, which is slated to increase space by up to 3,400 square feet, requires relocating law enforcement activities.
“Last week we started emptying the building,” he said.
The project scope includes both building a new section and renovating the existing structure, which previously housed both the police department and administrative services.
“We’ll end with 5,400 square feet [and] when you look back, we only had less than 1,800 square feet,” he said. “It’s a nice size renovation and it’s going to bring us up to modern standards.”
Massey said the current building, which was erected in the mid-1980s, fell short of typical safety protocols followed by modern police agencies.
“It wasn’t designed as a public safety facility,” he said. “It was kind of slapped together.”
Massey said unlike the last undertaking more than a quarter century ago, the current endeavor will incorporate design input from criminal justice consultants.
“Right now we’ve used criminal justice consultants,” he said. “It will all be high security and include the safety for our officers and for the public.”
The current facility fell short of security requirements in some instances.
“The safety features … there we’re none really,” he said. “The old facility we actually had a prisoner that escaped because he was handcuffed to the wall and pulled the handcuffs out of the wall and ran out the back door.”
On tap for completion in under a half year, the updated building design looks to correct those wrongs, Massey said.
“Hopefully we’ll be in by sometime in late May or early June,” he said.
In the interim, the police department will make do with a trailer set up next to the soon to be razed existing structure.
“It’s small but adequate until we move into our new facility,” he said.
Notably absent from the short term arrangements are holding cells for arrestees.
“We’re not going to be able to hold any prisoners,” he said.
In light of the deficiency neighboring law enforcement agencies are stepping up to lend assistance.
“Officers making arrests for the next few months they’re going to take them to a secure facility,” he said. “We’re going to transport them to Ocean City or Berlin.”
Massey, who prior to coming onboard in Ocean Pines served an extended term with the Ocean City Police Department, said the spirit of cooperation abounds across Worcester County.
“Ocean City and Berlin have been a big help to us and they always have been,” he said. “I came from Ocean City, so I have a few roots there.”