The Department of Police Services commits itself to the highest levels of professionalism and is dedicated to ensuring public safety. The Department strives toward enhancing the quality of life for all members of the community through the discharge of duties in a manner consistent with fairness and impartiality, while respecting the individual’s dignity, constitutional rights and human rights. The Police Department includes a Patrol, Detective and Records Bureau and a Traffic and Community Police Unit.
Chief of Police
History of Department
Chief of Police
The Police Chief is responsible for ensuring the safety and well being of the residents and visitors to the City of Ocean City. Chief Chad Callahan is the 11th Chief of Police to serve on Ocean City’s Police Department since its first in 1887. Chief Callahan started as a part-time Seasonal Officer in 1993 and was hired full-time and assigned to the Community Oriented Policing Unit in 1994. In Chief Callahan’s current role, he is responsible for a full-time sworn staff of 59 officers, 13 full-time civilian staff, and approximately 15 part-time civilian staff members. In addition to the 72 full-time employees, Chief Callahan employees 45 additional seasonal law enforcement officers during the summer season, due to the influx in population.
Under Chief Callahan, the Department is currently organized into three Divisions; the Patrol Operations Division, the Special Services Division, and the Professional Standards Division. Community Policing and Police Accreditation continue to be the backbone and the philosophy of the Department. Both have resulted in many positive changes throughout the City including enhanced community involvement with the local schools and civic organizations, as well as maintaining the Department’s status as being accredited through the New Jersey State Association of Chief’s of Police.
Chief Callahan is a graduate of Camden Catholic High School and has been the recipient of numerous awards and achievements throughout his career. Chief Callahan scored the highest in the State on the Police Entrance Examination in 1993, as well as number one on both the Police Lieutenant’s and Police Captain’s Examinations. Chief Callahan is a 2002 graduate of Penn State’s Police Executive/Leadership Program, a New Jersey Certified Public Manager, CALEA Certified Accreditation Assessor - Team Leader, and a 2006 graduate of the F.B.I. National Academy in Quantico, Virginia.
Chief Callahan is active in numerous community organizations as well. He is a member of the F.B.I. National Academy Associates, Cape May County Association of Chief’s of Police, New Jersey State Chief’s of Police Association, a steering committee member for Shore Memorial Hospital’s Health Foundation Leaders Alliance, a member of Shore Memorial Hospital’s Health Foundation Stainton’s Society, a member of Ocean City’s Regional Chamber of Commerce, and a member of New Jersey’s Police Accreditation Coalition.
Chief Callahan resides in Ocean City with his wife Denise and two sons, Chad and Ryan.
Patrol Operations Division
The Ocean City Police Department was created in 1884 when the City of Ocean City was incorporated by an Act of the State Legislature. The City’s first Police Chief was Samuel B. “Cappie” Scull.
In 1920, the Department experienced its first and only “In the line of duty” death
when Patrolman Harry Shore, a police motor officer, died in a motorcycle crash while responding to an emergency call.
As the Department expanded, it grew steadily to 35 officers in 1930 including a Police Chief, 2 Captains, 3 Lieutenants, 3 Sergeants, 6 Motor Patrolmen, and 20 Patrolmen.
Over the years, the Ocean City Police Department has maintained 3 separate prisons. The first was a stall in a tool house which was in operation until 1897.
The second was a lock-up named “Naley”. It was named after the first prisoner to be held there, Charles Naley, and it contained two cells. The third is the present cell block which is currently located in police headquarters that has 10 male holding cells, 2 female holding cells, and 2 juvenile holding cells. The current facility houses approximately 512 prisoners per year.
Due to Ocean City’s unique demographic make-up, the Department maintains two distinctly different organizational charts. One for the off-season and one for the summer season, which is commonly known as May, June, July, and August.
OceanCity’s population is reported to range between a low of 15,000 full-time residents in the off season to a high of approximately 150,000 residents during the height of the summer season.
Due to this fluctuation in the population and calls for service, the Department employs approximately 45 Special Law Enforcement Officers to assist the full-time personnel during the summer season.
Over the past few years, Ocean City has also been developing what is now known as “The Second Season”. This time period is often referred to as the “Shoulder season”, and encompasses the months of September, October, November, and December.
Through a highly successful marketing campaign, Ocean City has extended its “Season” well into fall, and hundreds of thousands of visitors experience year-round shopping, a variety of restaurants, and family-friendly special events all the way until the annual First Night and First Day Celebrations on December 31st and January 1st.
Today, the Ocean City Police Department consists of 59 full-time officers led by Chief Chad C. Callahan. Within the ranks there is 1 Captain, 5 Lieutenants, 12 Sergeants, and 40 Patrolmen.
The Department is currently organized into three Divisions: the Patrol Operations Division, the Special Services Division, and the Professional Standards Division.
In November of 2007, the City of Ocean City contracted with Patriot Consulting to conduct a complete assessment of Police Department Operations, our facility, and our fleet management. This assessment resulted in 14 recommendations, one of which was to restore staffing to our previous level of 63 full-time officers.
Due to budgetary constraints, we have been unable to restore our staffing to the appropriate level of 63, and were faced with the elimination of 1 Captains position. This forced the Department to restructure and reallocate personnel.
As of this time, the Department is operating with 59 full-time officers. A copy of the assessment completed by Patriot Consulting is attached, as well as, copies of our previous organizational structure and our current organizational structure.
Police Communications (Dispatch)
The Patrol Operations Division is the largest division within our Department. Under our current organizational structure we have four uniform patrol squads totaling 35 officers assigned to this division.
Each uniform patrol squad consists of 2 Sergeants and 6 Patrolman. The daily operations of the four squads are managed by 3 Lieutenants.
In addition to maintaining supervisory responsibilities of the uniform patrol squads, one of the Lieutenants also manages the Department’s fleet operations.
Patrol Operations are what is mostly known as general police work and is the foundation of any law enforcement agency. These are the officers that perform patrol duties, immediately respond to calls for service, perform emergency medical assistance, and are our first line of defense as they are on duty 24-hours a day, 7- days a week. Patrol Officers responded to and/ or initiated approximately 43,000 calls for service in 2008.
Over the years, we have added many different forms of technology in an effort to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of our officers. In doing so, we have added mobile data computers (MDC), global positioning systems (GPS), mobile video cameras in our patrol cars, instituted an electronic fingerprint identification system, and updated our CODY computer aided dispatch (CAD) system.
These improvements have allowed our officers and/ or dispatchers to gain invaluable information in very short periods of time thus improving the way we deliver police services.
Through the generous private donations from several of our local residents and businesses, the Department was recently able to revive its previously defunct K-9 Unit. In October of 2008, the Department purchased a police K-9.
The Department then partnered with the Ocean City Primary School and had a contest to name the dog. After many entries were submitted by eager kindergarten, first, second, and third graders, the name Duece was selected.
Duece and his handler, Ptl. John Vogt, are scheduled to graduate from an extremely intense Police K-9 training program in the Spring of 2009.
Ptl. John Vogt and K-9 Duece
Also through generous private donations from several of our local residents, businesses, and Harley Davidsonthe Department recently deployed a Harley Davidson Police Motorcycle and two all terrain vehicles (ATV’s).
The Ocean City Police Department’s Communication’s Center is the lifeline between the citizens of Ocean City and Upper Township, and emergency responders. Our Center is comprised of one 1 full-time Supervisor, 9 full-time Public Safety Telecommunicators, and currently 5 active part-time Public Safety Telecommunicators.
The Center is manned twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week with a minimum staffing of two Telecommunicators. During the summer season, the Center is staffed with three Telecommunicators.
All of the personnel assigned to the Police Communication center have completed training courses that are required by the State of New Jersey and attend annual refresher training (also a requirement of the State of New Jersey), as well as acquire CPR recertification.
The initial training consists of 40 hours of Basic Telecommunicator training, CPR certification, and 24 hours of Emergency Medical Dispatch training. In addition, it takes up to six months of in-house training in order to fulfill the requirements of a Telecommunicator and be able to perform all of the duties involved in the Communications Center.
The Ocean City Police Department is the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) and the Public Safety Dispatch Point (PSDP) for Ocean City, Upper Township (including Strathmere), and Corbin City. This includes answering all 9-1-1 calls, dispatching police, fire, and emergency medical service (EMS) for the above jurisdictions.
All police calls for Upper Township and Corbin City are transferred to the New Jersey State Police.
The Ocean City Police Department dispatches five fire departments, one police department, two EMS departments, and animal control for Ocean City.