OCEAN CITY – The general order outlining restricted duty status for the police department underwent further scrutiny last week at the Ocean City Police Commission meeting after being sent back to the commission from the Mayor and Council.
General Order 500 H-3 was presented to the council for approval at the beginning of July, but after concerns arose, it was decided to send the order back to the police commission for further review.
At last week’s commission meeting, the order was addressed with Police Chief Bernadette DiPino and Captain Kevin Kirstein explaining the purpose of the order.
The general order addresses restricted duty status and the positions offered to those injured in the line of duty as well as those injured outside of the line of duty. DiPino explained that there formerly was no restrictive duty status for those injured outside of the line of duty.
Despite objections from the labor attorneys, the decision was made to provide restrictive duty status for those injured outside of the line of duty. To prevent an overabundance of officers in the restrictive duty positions, limitations were set.
Restrictive duty status provides sworn personnel of the police department the opportunity to perform administrative tasks in lieu of taking leave. Although those injured outside of the line of duty have the opportunity for the restricted duty status, those injured in the line of duty still take priority. If, for instance, someone injured in the line of duty needs a restricted duty position, and there are none available, the position could be taken from someone who was injured outside of the line of duty.
DiPino explained that only 5 percent of the police force is allowed to be on restricted duty status, which at this time would be five people. Kirstein added that the department has never had more than three or four officers on the restricted duty status at one time.
Councilman Lloyd Martin suggested that a list of designated restricted duty positions be created. The list would provide limitations and outline what positions could be utilized.
“There is no job that is designated a restricted duty position in our department,” DiPino said, explaining that there are no jobs that could be set-aside for that purpose only.
After ironing out the kinks of the general order and addressing any concerns, the general order was agreed upon and will be presented again to the Mayor and Council.