The Ocean City Police Department has opted to forgo its exclusion from Maryland's strict hands free driving law, and passed a general order banning handheld cellphone usage by its patrolling officers.
We've all pulled up to a red light before, and while fiddling around with our blue tooth or our ear buds connected to our trusty smart phones, we catch a peripheral glimpse of a police officer chatting away on a cellphone just a car way. That burning sense of frustration is often called a double standard by many folks in the realm of public opinion.
But the Ocean City Police Department has opted to forgo its exclusion from Maryland's strict hands free driving law, and recently passed a general order banning handheld cellphone usage by its patrolling officers.
"It would be a contradiction if we allowed our officers to just freely and arbitrarily just use their handheld devices while driving, while the public was unable to do so ," says Chief Ross Buzzoro.
He says the OCPD is one of only a few departments in the state that have gone completely hands free.
"But it's quickly gaining momentum," he says. "You'll see a shift in that in a relatively short period of time."
However, even if departments across the state follow suit, technology has become the Catch-22 in the modern day police cruiser.
"Technology remains our friend, but we just have to be mindful to not lose our focus, and it can't be at the detriment of our safety or anyone else's when we are driving the vehicle."
Buzzoro hopes this move will not only make Coastal Highway a little safer, but will also help to strengthen the relationship and the trust between the public and the police.