Police statistics for the past five years show massive summertime spikes in crime: noise complaints, traffic stops, aggravated assaults, thefts, drug and alcohol arrests, and weapons seizures.
In 2011, 936 adults ages 18 to 20 were given citations for alcohol possession. Of those, 877 were cited from June through August — 714 in June alone, when many high school graduates spend their "Senior Week" in town.
There were 239 traffic stops in the town in November, the slowest month, compared with 3,213 in July, the busiest. Of 1,166 drug arrests in 2011, 911 — or almost 80 percent — occurred from June through August.
While the crime varies, much of it is alcohol- or drug-related, DiPino said.
"The challenge of ours is you have individuals coming to go on vacation and have a good time, and they sometimes forget the rules they follow and obey at home are the same rules they should follow at the beach," DiPino said.
As the recent Friday afternoon dampened into a rainy night, Speigle cruised along Coastal Highway, watching calls come in on a laptop computer mounted in front of his dashboard. As a full-time corporal, Speigle is a supervisor who often responds to the same calls as the seasonal officers, to make sure they "have what they need," he said.
Some calls are easy — a group of middle-aged Howard County teachers making too much noise in a residential neighborhood; a local woman in a spat with her husband.
Others are more difficult. In the past two months, four deaths have rocked the town.
A 22-year-old New York man was found dead in Isle of Wight Bay after he was last seen at a local bar. A 26-year-old Howard County man was found dead after a fall from a hotel balcony. A 22-year-old Towson University student from Howard County was struck and killed by a drunken driver on Coastal Highway, and a 15-year-old girl was struck by a car and killed trying to cross the town's main traffic thoroughfare.
More routine calls also can be tough — tamping down raucous parties or stopping drunken drivers before they hurt someone, police said.
On one call, seasonal officer Brian Haluska, a recent Washington College graduate from New Jersey in his second summer stint with the department, moved his large frame in front of a drunken Baltimore man who had caught his attention after screaming at another man in front of a local bar.
The man told Haluska it was just a misunderstanding. Haluska told him to chill out and head back to his hotel.
"I've learned a lot," Haluska said of his seasonal experience, which he's hoping will help him get a full-time police job. "All the full-timers are really good at helping us, keeping us safe, making sure we're using what we learned in the academy."
This summer's crop of seasonals is strong, Speigle said, including Rachel Harman, who at 27 is older than most of her peers.
Harman graduated from Liberty High School in Sykesville in 2003, then enlisted and served in the Navy, mostly in Japan, for four years. When she returned in 2007, she moved to Federal Hill and began taking forensic science classes at the University of Baltimore and took an interest in law enforcement.
After finding the Ocean City seasonal program, she moved to town, and last month completed the department's four-week academy course at Wor-Wic Community College. Just a few weeks into the new gig, Harman said she hopes to parlay her seasonal experience into a full-time position with the department.
When she began patrolling, she encountered a learning curve, but her military experience helped, she said. She had been to Ocean City many times on vacation, but policing the town gave her a "totally different perspective," she said.
"They go out and deal with a lot more than just partyers and drunks," she said of her full-time colleagues. "They do a lot of legit police work."