OCPD teams up with HERO Campaign - Ocean City Sentinel: News

OCPD teams up with HERO Campaign

By ERIC AVEDISSIAN/Sentinel staff | Posted: Wednesday, June 12, 2019 11:20 am

OCEAN CITY – The Ocean City Police Department and the John R. Elliott HERO Campaign combined to promote designated driving on one of the city’s patrol cars.

The police vehicle, touted as the first of its kind to feature HERO Campaign signage aimed at preventing drinking and driving, was unveiled at a June 5 ceremony in front of the Ocean City Music Pier.

The HERO Campaign is a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing impaired driving by promoting the use of safe and sober designated drivers. 

The HERO Campaign was established by the family of Navy Ensign John R. Elliott of Egg Harbor Township who was killed in a July 2000 collision with a drunk driver two months after graduating from the United States Naval Academy. The campaign is saving lives in seven states in partnership with law enforcement, schools and colleges federal and state highway safety organizations, the licensed beverage industry, and professional sports teams. 

Since its inception, the HERO Campaign has worked to prevent impaired driving and received national recognition and awards. 

Mayor Jay Gillian thanked Elliott family for “all the lives they saved” with their HERO Campaign.

“Anything we can do to help avoid the tragedy the Elliott family went through is very important,” Gillian said. 

Ocean City Police Chief Jay Prettyman said the partnership between the city and HERO Campaign is the first in the area between a first police department and a nonprofit group.

“We chose the HERO Campaign because we believe in everything they stand for. We’ve got a strong relationship with the Elliott family and we’re proud to enter this partnership with them,” Prettyman said.

HERO Campaign chairman and co-founder Bill Elliott, whose son John was killed by a drunk driver, said Ocean City Police Capt. Charles Simonson called him a month ago and suggested putting a HERO Campaign wrap on a patrol car.

“It took me about a half a second to say yes. What a great idea,” Elliott said. “I think in a very real way it’s a symbol of our partnership with the City of Ocean City that goes back to the beginning of the HERO Campaign.” 

Jane French, a longtime volunteer and supporter of the HERO Campaign, donated the wrap for the police car. 

Elliott said other cities are also embracing similar HERO Campaign-themed patrol cars.

“I think you will soon see many of these but this is the first,” Elliott said. “This is a very real expression of our relationship with the police department, with law enforcement.” 

Elliott, Gillian, Prettyman and Simonson removed a tarp from the vehicle to the delight of photographers and a small crowd. The Crown Victoria police cruiser boasted a colorful design featuring the HERO Campaign logo and the words “Ocean City, a HERO Safe Ride Community.” The rear side windows featured the words “Be the Life of the Party,” while the message “Be a HERO. Be a Designated Driver” ran along the side. In addition to the wording, the vehicle has blue racing stripes and images of Ocean City, including lifeguard boats, a lifeguard stand, and children walking along the beach. 

The HERO wrap fits in with the ongoing Community Safety Partnership Program, a collaboration between the Ocean City Police Department and the Ocean City Free Public Library. The city is using iconic images from Ocean City on box trailers and vehicles along with safety messages to increase the public’s perception and participation in keeping the city safe.