The population of Ocean City, Md., explodes every summer, creating the need for a much larger police force — but leaving the city patrolled by seasonal cops with only a month's training.
This year's crop of about 100 seasonal officers hits the boardwalk and surrounding streets June 6, almost doubling the size of the force for a city that has swelled to some 250,000 residents.
In most jurisdictions across the nation, police recruits get six months of training, followed by up to eight weeks of supervision from Field Training Officers before they're allowed to patrol on their own.
In Ocean City, seasonal cops get four weeks.
"We have very high quality and demanding standards," said Chief Bernadette DiPino, who told FOX News "we go through extensive background investigations, recruiting and training ... we only get the cream of the crop."
She described the four-week course as "intense" and "rigorous" and said it meets or exceeds all state requirements. The seasonal recruits are trained in emergency vehicle operations, the use of force, deadly force and defense tactics and take classes in constitutional law, criminal law and traffic law, among others.
But their firearms training is packed into four days including shooting a thousand rounds on the range. Some critics, including current Ocean City Police officers, say they're trying to pack too much in over too short a time.
"You don't know what you don't know," said Cpl. Glen McIntyre, a 15-year veteran of the department who's now president of the local Fraternal Order of Police, and who himself started out as a seasonal cop.
"Most of us (former seasonal officers), the first thing we realized there was a tremendous amount of knowledge we weren't given or didn't know at the time we were actually put on the street," McIntyre told FOX News.
"You'll hear a lot of our full time officers kick it around in the hallway, wondering if or when we're going to have a bad circumstance. We hope that it doesn't ... (but) there's a number of scenarios that could play out in this that would be horrific."
McIntyre wasn't aware of any other jurisdiction in the nation allowing seasonal officers to carry firearms. FOX News found one, coincidentally in Ocean City, N.J., where some seasonal cops are allowed to carry guns in some situations, depending on their training.
When asked, the new hires speak confidently of their training and their ability to perform their duties without incident. Christopher Curley, on the boardwalk for his third summer in uniform, said "the training we go through is intensive enough, puts enough confidence in us as officers to handle the jobs that we're given."
Currently attending law school in Buffalo, Curley also says it's a great way to determine if this is what he wants to do for the rest of his life.
Chief DiPino says her youngest officers do get plenty of supervision while on the job and there's never been a serious problem with any of them.
"Knock on wood," she added.