Ocean City to crack down on H2Oi event participants this weekend
OCEAN CITY, Md. – This weekend drivers will be heading into Ocean City for the annual H2Oi event. While some may be excited – others are concerned about troublemakers. “Everybody understands what the problem is. It’s unfortunate. We invite everybody to Ocean City. We only ask that they obey our laws,” said Mayor Rick Meehan.
The Ocean City Police Department says they’re anticipating heavy traffic and unruly behavior from event participants. “You will see a lot of traffic delays and it will be uncomfortable. You might end up sitting for a while – stuff like that. Bear with us. Bring patience to everything because everybody that drives or is a pedestrian – just be patient with the traffic congestion,” said Deputy Communications Manager for OCPD Ashley Miller.
Mayor Meehan says the town will beef up police presence and is planning to make more arrests. “We will have an increased presence of police personnel with allied agencies, as well as a full compliment of Ocean City Police Department personnel,” said Miller.
Mayor Rick Meehan says the Ocean City Police Department will be joined by the Worcester County Sheriff’s Department and Maryland State Police. The mayor also says that Ocean City worked with the state legislature to be able to increase fines, make more arrests, and impound vehicles. “We’ll have the largest support number of officers in town this year that we’ve ever had. We have a very strong commitment from Maryland State Police to be here,” said Mayor Meehan.
Miller says that police will also be closely monitoring social media to prevent any illegal behavior. She also says that people can report any illegal behavior seen on social media to them. They can also report to the social media platforms. “If they do see anything on social media – Facebook, Instagram, things like that – they have ways that they can report posts if you see something encouraging illegal behavior,” said Miller.
Mayor Meehan says he invites anyone who is coming to town to celebrate responsibly. But those who are planning to act recklessly aren’t welcome. “Enjoy time in Ocean City like everybody else does. Respect the Ocean City Police Department and all law enforcement officers. If everybody did that, that would be a simple solution to making this more palatable,” said Mayor Meehan.
The mayor says that in the future, he could be open to the idea of setting up an official H2Oi event. But because it’s mostly organized via social media and there doesn’t appear to be any official organizers, he says that Ocean City isn’t at that point yet. Last year Mayor Meehan floated the idea of a state of emergency. He says this year, that’s not off the table.