OCEAN CITY, MD – On Friday, January 25, 2019, the Neighborhood Watch Associations of Ocean City gathered together with Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) employees at the Grand Hotel for their annual Officer of the Year Ceremony. Nearly 200 guests gathered together to recognize OCPD personnel and volunteers for their accomplishments in 2018 and named Pfc. Nathan Kutz as the 2018 Officer of the Year.
Pfc. Nathan Kutz was chosen as the Officer of the Year by the seven Neighborhood Watch area coordinators. Also nominated were Cpl. Chip Green, Cpl. Jeffrey Heiser, Pfc. Corey Gemerek, Pfc. Michael Karsnitz, and Pfc. Edward Newcomb.
Pfc. Kutz joined the OCPD as a seasonal officer in 2009 and was hired full-time in 2012. He joined the Traffic Safety Unit that same year and became a certified crash reconstructionist. He is a breath test operator, trained in crash investigation, and is a member of the department’s social media outreach group. Since his law enforcement career began, Pfc. Kutz has made 350 arrests for impaired driving and is deeply committed to keeping Ocean City streets safe for residents and visitors. Upon accepting the award, Pfc. Kutz credited his award to his fellow officers. He also thanked his family, who were present, for their support and for instilling in him a strong work ethic.
Volunteers of the OCPD Auxiliary Unit were also recognized for their contribution of 2,483 volunteer hours in 2018. Since the Unit’s inception in 1999, Auxiliary Officers have volunteered a total of over 62,000 hours which translates to a cost saving of over $2.2 million to the taxpayers of Ocean City. Kathy Grimes received an additional award for volunteering a remarkable 1,216 hours of service. This year, the Auxiliary Officer of the Year was awarded to Charlie Judd, Dorothy Morse, and Tonja Sas. Each of them have been active volunteers in the program for 20 years, since the program was created.
As part of Friday’s ceremony, many officers were awarded departmental commendations for exemplary service. The following officers were recognized:
- Meritorious Service Commendation: Pfc. Michael Karsnitz
- Special Commendation: Lt. Dennis Eade, Sgt. Joseph Bushnell, Sgt. Charles Kelley, Pfc. Ryan Flanagan, Pfc. Jacob Fetterolf, Ofc. Connor Finch.
- Excellent Performance Commendation: Lt. Greg DeGiovanni, Sgt. Freddie Howard, Cpl. Jeffrey Johns, Cpl. Michael Kelly, Cpl. Kyle Murray, Pfc. Likeke Arlington, Pfc. Joseph Centofranchi, Pfc. Ryan Flanagan, Pfc. Kevin Flower, Pfc. Amy Gutowski, Pfc. Daniel Jacobs, Pfc. Nathan Kutz, Pfc. Sean McHugh, Pfc. Edward Newcomb, Pfc. Carl Perry, Pfc. David Whitmer (2), Pfc. Joseph Zurla, Ofc. Harry Miller, Ofc. Riley Scott, SO Christopher Palmer
- Unit Citation: K-9 Unit
- Certificate of Outstanding Service: Daniel Burt
- Certificate of Appreciation: Lou Lombardo
Employees were also recognized for their retirements and promotions at Friday’s event. Captain Kevin Kirstein, Captain Greg Guiton, Lt. Scott Kirkpatrick, and Sgt. Mark Paddack each retired this year after serving a collective total of nearly 125 years to the Town of Ocean City. The following officers were promoted in 2018: Captain Ray Austin, Captain Elton Harmon, Lt. Greg DeGiovanni, Lt. Dennis Eade, Lt. Frank Wrench, Sgt. Allen Hawk, Sgt. Freddie Howard, Sgt. Jim Runkles, Sgt. Rick Wawrzeniak, Cpl. Jeffrey Heiser, Cpl. Jeffrey Johns, Cpl. Kyle Murray, Cpl. Chris Wrench, Pfc. Herbert Jenkins, Pfc. Jessica Johnson, Custody Officer, Mary Chaney, and Custody Officer Lucinda Kuehn.