CAMBRIDGE — Deputies from the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office answered a call for assistance from Ocean City Police to help with “unruly and destructive” crowds late Saturday night, Sept. 26.
Large crowds descended on Ocean City for the pop-up H2Oi car rally. The event features “tricked-out” and “souped-up” cars akin to those featured in the popular “Fast and Furious” movies.
According to Sheriff Jimmy Phillips, 11 Dorchester deputies responded to the call for “all available assistance” that Ocean City Police Department sent at about 11:50 p.m. in order to control the large crowds.
“That’s unheard of,” Phillips said of the call for any available help. “You don’t hear that anymore.”
A statement from OCPD said more than than 100 participants at the weekend rally were arrested and charged with various criminal and traffic offenses, with minor issues during the day turning into crowds of hundreds becoming rowdy in the evening, particularly in the downtown area. Police also impounded a number of cars over the weekend, according to social media posts by H2Oi attendees.
“This is not a car show, and the majority of these visitors are not car enthusiasts,” said Ocean City Police Chief Ross Buzzuro. “They are here to disrupt, destroy, and disrespect our community and our law enforcement.”
Phillips said many law enforcement agencies have MOU (memorandum of understanding) agreements that allow them to assist each other if needed.
During the 2015 riots in Baltimore, the Maryland State Police sent troopers to respond after confirming with local agencies that they could cover MSP’s areas of responsibility, Phillips said.
Phillips said that after the 2015 riots, he and his counterparts in Easton, Wicomico, Worcester, and elsewhere worked together to create a mobile field force by training officers in riot control, and equipping them with the gear required to do so. Of the weekend’s assistance, Phillips said, “This is what we had prepared to do.”
Dorchester’s deputies were cleared from the assistance call at around 4:30 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 27.