2017 Annual Report
The Charles County Sheriff’s Office is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.
2017 Fast Facts
County Population: 157,705*
Sworn Officers: 306
Corrections Officers: 143
Court Security Officers: 10
Civilian Employees (Full Time and Part Time): 218
Calls for Service: 257,806
Motor Vehicle Citations / Warnings / Parking Tickets: 48,444 / 28,733 / 328
DUI Citations: 391
Automobile Fatal Crashes / Deaths: 14 / 17**
Alcohol-Related Automobile Crash Deaths / Drug-Related Automobile Crash Deaths: 3 / 1**
*Number based on the 2016 U.S. Census Bureau estimate. The 2017 estimate is not available as of this writing.
** Statistics do not include Maryland State Police traffic fatality investigations.
Crime statistics for Charles County, to include crimes investigated by the Maryland State Police and the La Plata Police Department, are available in the Maryland Uniform Crime Report. Citizens can also search for crimes investigated by the Charles County Sheriff’s Office using CrimeReports.com, which provides citizens with near instant access to calls for service data.
A Message from the Sheriff
If I had to describe 2017 in one word to convey the theme for the year in Charles County, it would undoubtedly be community. The Charles County Sheriff’s Office worked tirelessly in all capacities to serve our community at the highest level. Our community partners and local organizations continued their efforts to see our community thrive through their outreach. Citizens, neighbors, and law enforcement worked together to combat crime and make Charles County a safe place to live, work, and visit.
Despite a slight increase overall in crime in 2017 over 2016, crime in Charles County is at a more than 20-year low. Since 1995, Charles County Uniform Crime Report (UCR) statistics have decreased by more than 40%. The CCSO established the CompStat program in 2009. Each week at CompStat, members from various components of the agency, including Patrol, Criminal Investigations, and Special Operations, come together to discuss crime trends and ways to combat them. Since the inception of this program, UCR statistics have decreased 27%. With a county population that has increased by more than 12% since 2006 coupled with tight budgetary restrictions, we have to be very strategic with our resources in order to continue to prevent, respond to, and investigate crime in Charles County. The men and women of the Charles County Sheriff’s Office are dedicated to serving in their particular roles, and this is evident in our statistics.
In addition to the good people who work for our agency, there are a number of good people and organizations who work with our agency to accomplish shared goals. Groups such as the Charles County Crime Solvers, Center for Abused Persons, Parents Affected by Addiction, Lifestyles of Maryland, the United Way of Charles County, the Charles County Children’s Aid Society, the numerous churches and faith-based communities in our area, and many others are an imperative part of our crime fighting efforts. We work together on a number of projects throughout the year to assist people in our community who need our help or support. I’m honored to work with so many good friends, neighbors, and citizens. They truly make Charles County a better place.
At the individual level, Charles County is home to the best citizens around. We see great participation at our Crime Watch and Citizens Advisory Council events. We receive growing interest each year from those interested in our Citizens Police Academy. Many engage with us regularly on our social media platforms, and even more join us as we rally behind causes like Special Olympics Maryland through the Law Enforcement Torch Run and other fundraisers. We encourage our citizens to report suspicious activity, and if they “see something” to “say something.”
We could not do what we do without the active involvement of our community. Community relationships and an active citizenry are what make Charles County truly a special place, and I am looking forward to even more great partnerships in the future.
Thank you for your support.
Sheriff Troy D. Berry
As the primary law enforcement agency in Charles County, the Charles County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO), one of the oldest law enforcement agencies in the United States, is a full-service operation. The CCSO provides all the services commonly associated with police departments and sheriffs’ offices and also operates the Charles County Detention Center.
The CCSO has a hallowed obligation to maintain law and order and to protect life and property. Centuries of growth and innovation have transformed how the CCSO fulfills its mission, but its rich history is an indelible element behind its modern achievements.
When the CCSO was established in 1658, it was staffed by only one law enforcement officer, Sheriff Nicholas Gwyther, who served dually as sheriff in St. Mary’s County. Sheriff Gwyther’s responsibilities were collecting taxes, serving warrants, apprehending criminals, and occasionally investigating witchcraft. He conducted business wherever he could, usually at his home.
Nearly 100 sheriffs have served as Charles County’s chief law enforcement officer since Sheriff Gwyther, and throughout the years these sheriffs have addressed the perpetually growing demand for law enforcement services, most of which are a result of commercial and residential growth. As the responsibilities of Charles County sheriffs grow, so too grows their contingent of personnel. Today, the CCSO employs more than 650 police, corrections, and civilian personnel.
As the CCSO transformed from a one-man operation into one of its community’s largest employers, it expanded its physical presence in Charles County. In the 20th century, the Sheriff’s Headquarters moved from the County Courthouse to an abandoned military site and then to a renovated truck stop, which now serves as the La Plata District Station. The current Headquarters, which sits adjacent to the La Plata Station, opened in 2000 and is the first building erected specifically as the CCSO’s flagship. Additional district stations are operated in Waldorf and Bryans Road. A Community Services and Property Management annex opened in 2005 beside the Charles County Emergency Operations Center, a state-of-the-art facility for police communications officers and the county’s Emergency Services Department personnel.
The first county jail was built next to the county’s original courthouse in Port Tobacco, the former county seat. The second jail was built in 1897 behind the current courthouse in La Plata and a third, which the CCSO still uses for Court Holding, was built beside it in 1926. A detention center behind the La Plata Station operated from 1981 to 1995 and reopened in 2007 as an annex of the current detention center.
The CCSO earned accreditation from the Commission on the Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) in 2001 and was successfully audited in 2004, 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. The CCSO earned CALEA’s flagship status in 2010, designating it as one of the best among accredited agencies worldwide.
Mission and Values
The men and women of the Charles County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) are dedicated to service through superior performance. We believe mutual respect, trust and pride in our organization, combined with traditional values and innovative techniques, will ensure the community’s right to a safe environment.
The men and women of the Charles County Sheriff’s Office are bound by a higher standard of conduct as exemplified in the following values:
Life: We believe the protection of life is our highest priority.
Respect: We believe in individual human dignity and the preservation of human rights under the rule and spirit of law, always treating others as we would like to be treated.
Integrity: We believe in maintaining the public trust by holding ourselves accountable to the highest moral and ethical standards.
Fairness: We believe in maintaining the delivery of service that provides fair and equal treatment to all citizens without regard to age, gender, race, creed, color, religion, or national origin.
Trust: We believe in order to provide effective service we must develop and maintain the confidence of the community.
Partnerships: We believe in working in partnership with the community and each other to identify and resolve problems and issues which affect the safety of our citizens.
Loyalty: We believe in an allegiance to the community, to the organization and to each other.
Professionalism: We believe in delivering a level of service which will reflect the pride we have in our community and organization.
The Year in Review
CRIME NUMBERS: Preliminary crime numbers show that while overall 2017 saw a slight increase in crime over 2016 (during which there was an 11% decrease in crime compared to 2015), violent crimes such as rape, robbery and aggravated assault decreased. “While it is encouraging to see drops in violent crime, we know we will always have work to do with regard to keeping overall numbers down,” said Sheriff Troy D. Berry. “Leaders from our agency meet regularly with law enforcement partners in the community to discuss trends and how to address them.” The CCSO was recognized in December by the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention for outstanding crime prevention programs.
NEW ENDEAVORS: The CCSO launched new programs in 2017 which enhanced our crime fighting and crime solving strategies. In late summer, we announced that we would be utilizing Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) to assist in high-risk situations and police-related investigations. Five officers are trained and certified UAS pilots, and they deploy the drones in critical situations such as missing persons cases, searches for suspects, and raids involving the Emergency Services Team (EST). “Public safety led us to the use of UAS. With them, we will have the capability of viewing critical incidents from vantage points we have never had before. The UAS will provide real-time situational awareness to our staff,” said Sheriff Berry.
In the fall, the Criminal Investigations Division (CID) announced that it was organizing a Cold Case Unit. The unit, comprised of officers from divisions throughout the agency, will utilize new technology to try to solve cold case homicides in Charles County. “New technology may now be able to tell us more about a case using evidence from some of these older cases,” said CID Captain Richard Williams. “It is our hope that this unit will help to bring closure to these families.”
LEGISLATIVE CHANGES: Two Charles County Sheriff’s officers greatly influenced the 2017 legislative process. Detective Jennifer McKenzie and Sgt. Jon Burroughs, after extensive research, drafted proposals which were subsequently passed into law. One bill prohibits scrap metal dealers from paying money for cell tower batteries to unauthorized persons, and the other bill allows Charles County Commissioners to adopt county code to require towing companies to be regulated by permits. Both laws went into effect on October 1. “Suggesting legislation is a tedious process that requires research and answers. I am extremely proud of our employees who take an interest in enhancing laws that help our crime fighting efforts,” said Sheriff Berry.
RAISING AWARENESS: With heroin and opioid addiction on the rise, the CCSO along with several community partners including the Maryland State Police, La Plata Police Department, Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) Police, State’s Attorney’s Office for Charles County, and the Charles County Health Department took a stand against the heroin and opioid epidemic in our community in 2017. Signboards were installed in various locations throughout Charles County which tell a sad story. We responded to hundreds of overdoses that year, and sadly, many lives were still lost despite our best efforts. The CCSO made a commitment to bring these numbers down through efforts in several areas, including:
- Education: We are partnering with Charles County Public Schools, Charles County Government, and Charles County Department of Health to bring forth education and awareness about the dangers of heroin and opioids.
- Prevention: With help from our law enforcement partners, we are cracking down on dealers who are poisoning our community with deadly substances like fentanyl and carfentanyl found in heroin.
- Resources: We are working with local churches, faith-based communities, and other community organizations such as PABA (Parents Affected by Addiction) to provide resources for those facing addiction as well as their families. The Charles County Detention Center educates inmates on these resources so that they can seek help upon their release, which helps to prevent recidivism.
CCSO WELCOMES NEW ADDITION TO K9 UNIT: A new addition to the K9 Unit was welcomed in 2017. Copper, a 10-week-old bloodhound from Lietchfield, KY, arrived and began his training alongside partner Pfc. Darin Behm. Copper is a fifth generation man-trailing bloodhound, meaning that he is trained specifically to follow certain scents. Both of his parents are used for search and rescue across the state of Kentucky as well as surrounding states.
“He will be used mostly for search and rescue efforts to track missing persons,” Pfc. Behm said. Copper will also be trained in aged and extended distance tracks. Copper’s training will take approximately five to six months.
COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS: “The alliances we have with local community organizations as well as our citizens are imperative to our mission of protecting people and property in Charles County and helping those in need,” said Sheriff Berry. “We couldn’t do it without them.” In 2017, the CCSO continued to join forces with organizations such as the Center for Abused Persons (CAP), Charles County Crime Solvers, and Lifestyles of Maryland. Citizens got involved at the Crime Watch Kick-Off in March, the 33rd Annual National Night Out in August, and the Citizens Advisory Council meeting in November.
The CCSO, along with the Charles County Correctional Officers Association (CCCOA) and the Charles County Black Officers Association (CCBOA), also continued its support for organizations such as the Children’s Aid Society through their annual Christmas Connection Program, the United Way of Charles County with employee donations and participation in the annual “Day of Caring,” and Special Olympics Maryland through fundraising at the Torch Run in June, Cops on Rooftops in September, and the Zombie Invasion 5K in October. Through these efforts, more than $70,000 was raised for Special Olympics Maryland. In April, the CCSO joined the Drug Enforcement Administration in the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day – a program held annually to encourage people with unwanted prescription medications to dispose of them safely and in a way that is environmentally friendly. On December 2, the Charles County Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 24 hosted its 10th annual Shop with a Cop event with help from members of the La Plata Police Department, Maryland State Police, and Maryland Transportation Authority Police (Harry Nice Bridge), taking 81 Charles County children to Walmart where each child was able to purchase gifts for themselves and their families.
CORRECTIONS OUTREACH: The Corrections Division made many impacts of its own, to include the annual Toy Drive in support of Christmas Connection, a Reentry Fair for inmates preparing for release, and a Christmas in April project in which an elderly woman’s home was repaired and renovated.
In April, the Charles County Detention Center (CCDC) announced the graduation of three inmates from the STARS program. STARS, which stands for Successful Transitioning and Reentry Skills, is a 12-14 week program during which participants learn a variety of practical skills, such as how to manage money or how to prepare for a job interview, to help them succeed once they are released. Correctional Officers and community members teach the classes. In order to be accepted into the STARS program, inmates must submit an application. Participants are selected based on criteria such as behavior and attitude.
“We (the Corrections Division) have the responsibility of keeping our inmates safe while they are at the Detention Center. However, another very important mission to us is to help them to get back on their feet once they get out,” said Sgt. Jon Palmer, who heads up the program. “We truly want to see them succeed.”
EMPLOYEE VOLUNTEEERS: There were also many employees who volunteered their own time to help the communities they serve. Staff members volunteered with local fire and EMS crews, while others spent their time mentoring children and young adults as coaches or camp counselors. Employees also volunteered with the Department of Social Services, Humane Society, Hospice of Charles County, Crime Solvers, Special Olympics Maryland, Center for Abused Persons, and the United Way, to name a few. Many were active in their churches or participated in events such as the Out of the Darkness Walk and the Walk to End Homelessness.
INVESTING IN OUR YOUTH: For the second year in a row, Sheriff Berry had the opportunity to visit each and every elementary and middle school in Charles County in order to conduct “wellness visits.” “I very much enjoy getting the chance to visit the schools and see how everyone is doing. This is one way I can support our School Resource Officers, and let the teachers and staff know that we are here for them too,” he said. “The kids make every visit so much fun; I really look forward to interacting with them.”
Our School Resource Unit continued its tradition of hosting several camps for the elementary and middle school students throughout the year. They kicked off the summer with the very first ever Ladies Leadership Soccer Camp, held at Laurel Springs Regional Park. The Cops for Kids Football Camp took place later in June at North Point High School, followed by the Badges for Baseball Camp at Laurel Springs Regional Park in July. They also hosted the Summer Youth Achievement Program for four weeks during the summer at St. Charles High School, the Just Say No Camp in August at the College of Southern Maryland, and a 2-day basketball camp held during the students’ winter break at St. Charles High School.
Our efforts extended beyond the classroom, literally. The CCSO and Sheriff Berry supported Beyond the Classroom, a program aimed at helping youth succeed by exposing them to positive environments. Sheriff Berry also met with Inspired Millennials, a local group of youth and adults seeking to build strong communities and strong leaders in Charles County. Sheriff Berry discussed ways to strengthen relationships between the CCSO and the people they serve, and he also shared experiences in his life that led him to a career in law enforcement. He urged young adults to live by L.I.T.E. – Leadership, Integrity, Teamwork, and Excellence – characteristics taught to him by his parents which he believes helped him succeed.
HONORING OUR OWN: In October, forty-two CCSO employees were honored at a banquet for saving lives, bravery, superior field service, and going above and beyond in their job duties. Of those award recipients, five officers received medals of valor, our highest honors. PFC Andrew Coulby received the Bronze Medal of Valor for his courageous and selfless response to an incident in which there had been several people shot, including two children, inside a home. Corporal Gregory Champaign, Jr. received the Bronze Medal of Valor for pulling a woman out of a vehicle which was completely engulfed in flames and getting her to safety moments before the vehicle was completely destroyed, all while off-duty. Master Corporal Donald Kabala, PFC Eric Scuderi, and PFC Christopher Morris received Bronze Medals of Valor for pulling a trapped driver from a vehicle that was on fire and filled with smoke. There were also 15 retirees honored at the banquet, who served a combined 362 years at the Charles County Sheriff’s Office.
COMMANDERS RECEIVE AWARDS FOR EXEMPLARY INSTRUCTION AT MPCTC: In March, Lieutenant Jason M. Stoddard and Lieutenant Louis C. Schmidt, III, were honored by the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commission’s (MPCTC) Leadership Development Program for their commitment to providing exemplary instruction to newly promoted law enforcement and criminal justice supervisors and administrators. Lieutenant Stoddard teaches during the First Line Administrator (FLA) program and the First Line Supervisor (FLS) program, which includes courses on leadership, strategic planning, conflict resolution, conducting effective meetings, coaching and mentoring, and management. Lieutenant Schmidt teaches in the FLA program and focuses mainly on policy writing, selection and retention of employees, and performance evaluations. “Lieutenants Stoddard and Schmidt are dedicated employees who do an exceptional job teaching. It is an honor to teach at the MPCTC, where instructors are considered to be among the best in their fields,” said Sheriff Berry.
CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS RECEIVE AWARDS FOR COMMUNITY SERVICE FROM MARYLAND CORRECTIONAL ADMINISTRATORS ASSOCIATION (MCAA): Master Corporal David Baden and Correctional Officer First Class Al Davis were honored by the MCAA for their outstanding community service efforts at an awards luncheon held on May 9 in Timonium, MD.
M/Cpl. David Baden, an 18-year veteran of the CCSO, was recognized for his service as a Deacon at the Hughesville Baptist Church and also as a member of the church’s Benevolence Committee. He participates in several church outreach projects which include providing food for the underprivileged and repairing homes for church members, and he also volunteers his time for the Annual Sportsman Banquet, the Paralyzed Veterans Fishing Tournament, and Turkey Shoot Tournament. His supervisor, Sgt. Thomas Bailey, said, “M/Cpl. Baden manages his volunteer work while working shift work as a correctional officer. He is an example for his peers to strive for.”
CFC Al Davis, a 7-year veteran of the CCSO, has served as an advisor, mentor, and training facilitator for the Charles County Explorers Post 1658, and is also an advocate for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA). In June of 2016, CFC Davis used a week of vacation time to volunteer at the MDA’s week-long overnight camp held at Camp Maria in St. Mary’s County, MD. He also participates in the Bounce Out Stigma Basketball Camp hosted by the Greater Waldorf Jaycees as well as the CCSO’s Shop With a Cop and Christmas Connection Programs.
MASTER CORPORAL PATRICK MCCUE RECOGNIZED FOR BRAVERY DURING 2016 INCIDENT: Master Corporal Patrick McCue was recognized in 2017 for his brave actions during a 2016 incident which took place in Waldorf. On April 9, 2016, M/Cpl. McCue was on a special saturation detail in the Wakefield neighborhood, when he was flagged down by a citizen who stated a man was walking toward the Wakefield Recreation Center with a long gun. M/Cpl. McCue responded to the center, where he observed the man walking with an AR-15 rifle. Upon seeing M/Cpl. McCue coming toward him, the suspect ducked behind a vehicle in the parking lot. M/Cpl. McCue immediately engaged the suspect, ordering him to the ground. The suspect, who had hidden the rifle under another vehicle, gave himself up and was placed under arrest. M/Cpl. McCue searched the area and located the gun, which was loaded with 27 rounds and had been reported stolen through Fayetteville, NC.
Further investigation revealed the suspect was attending an event at the recreation center when he was punched by another man. The suspect left the event to retrieve the assault rifle. People inside the center saw the suspect approaching with the rifle and, fearing for their lives, quickly locked the doors to keep the suspect from entering. It was at this time the citizen flagged down M/Cpl. McCue to report the armed suspect in the area.
In February 2017, M/Cpl. McCue was recognized as the Sons of the American Legion (Squadron 82) Police Officer of the Year for 2016. Commander David Tatman, Adjutant Gary Shupe, and First Vice Commander Gale Willett presented an award plaque to M/Cpl. McCue during a CCSO command staff meeting on February 8. In June, M/Cpl. McCue was named Policeman of the Year during the Waldorf Moose Family Center #1709 Annual Law Enforcement and Firefighter/EMS Awards Ceremony. Mr. Larry Dean, Prelate and Valor Awards Chairman, served as emcee and presented M/Cpl. McCue with the award.
M/Cpl. McCue received a Meritorious Service Award at the CCSO Annual Awards and Retirement Banquet in November of 2016.
MPCTC AWARDS “INSTRUCTOR OF THE YEAR” TO SERGEANT SEAN CRAIG: In October, the MPCTC held its 17th Annual Instructors’ Awards and Training Conference, where officers from all over the state were recognized for their work as academy and non-academy instructors.
Sergeant Sean Craig of the Corrections Division received a Non-Academy Instructor of the Year award. Sgt. Craig has dedicated 20 years of service to the Agency. During his career, he has provided general instruction on corrections topics and acted as one of the primary firearms instructors for the division. In 2017, Sergeant Craig used his experience from his time at the University of Maryland as an English major to create a course of instruction geared toward improving incident documentation and written communication. The course focused on clarity, conciseness, and technical writing formats. The division greatly benefited from Sergeant Craig’s efforts as seen in the ensuing uptick of written report quality and consistency.
“Sergeant Craig is very deserving of this recognition,” said Brandon Foster, Director of the Charles County Detention Center. “His commitment to his profession has earned him the respect of his peers. We are thankful for his hard work and initiative.”
MASTER CORPORAL SHAWN GREGORY NAMED CORRECTIONAL OFFICER OF THE YEAR BY THE MARYLAND SHERIFF’S ASSOCIATION (MSA): In September, M/Cpl. Shawn Gregory was named the Correctional Officer of the Year by the Maryland Sheriffs’ Association and Maryland Chiefs of Police Association at their annual conference held in Ocean City, MD. The award was presented by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, Riverdale Park Police Chief David Morris, President of the MD Chiefs of Police Association, and St. Mary’s County Sheriff Tim Cameron, President of the MD Sheriffs’ Association. In total, 18 officers from all over Maryland were honored at the ceremony in various categories.
M/Cpl. Gregory, who was named the 2016 Correctional Officer of the Year by the CCSO, began his career in Corrections in December of 2001 and has been a member of the Emergency Response Team (ERT) since 2002. M/Cpl. Gregory is also a member of the Charles County Correctional Officers Association and serves in dual roles as the Vice President and Sergeant at Arms. He continually demonstrates his commitment to community service by participating in the Christmas in April program, visiting local high schools to put on demonstrations, and coordinating the first ever Family Tour Day at the CCDC for CCSO employees and family members.
“We were so proud to see M/Cpl. Gregory recognized at the statewide level for the outstanding work that he has done in Charles County,” said Sheriff Berry. “We’d like to thank the Maryland Sheriffs’ and the Maryland Chiefs of Police Associations for honoring these individuals who go the extra mile to make Maryland a better, safer place.”
TRAFFIC OPERATIONS UNIT OFFICERS RECEIVE AGGRESSIVE DRIVING PREVENTION AWARDS: In August, four members of the Traffic Operations Unit were honored at the Maryland Department of Transportation’s ADAPT (Aggressive Drivers Are Public Threats) Aggressive Driving Prevention Awards Luncheon. Sgt. Jon Burroughs, Cpl. Kris Syvertsen, Cpl. Brad Saunders, and Pfc. Patrick McPherson received awards for their efforts in reducing aggressive driving on our roadways in 2017.
“Our Traffic Operations Unit works tirelessly to curtail aggressive driving and speeding in Charles County,” said Sheriff Troy Berry. “We are proud of these exemplary officers for doing their part to keep our roadways safe.”
ASIS INTERNATIONAL HONORS OFFICERS: In December, four CCSO officers, along with a Maryland State Police Trooper, were the recipients of valor awards and outstanding performance awards by ASIS – an international organization that promotes excellence and leadership in the security management profession. Officer Lamar Hamilton, Corporal William Saunders, PFC Justin Bottorf, and Maryland State Police Trooper Matthew Milich were presented the Valor Award for rescuing five people from a fiery car crash on September 2, 2016. The driver of a passenger vehicle was traveling southbound on St. Charles Parkway when he lost control of the car and struck a tree. The vehicle burst into flames. One passenger was ejected and the driver, who had a fractured leg, was dragged to safety by an officer. The other officers rescued two toddlers and another adult who were still inside the burning car. The heroic actions and bravery of the officers helped save the lives of the occupants.
Detective Cheyanne Harris of the Narcotics Enforcement Section was awarded the Exceptional Performance Award for her tenacity and hard work investigating an opioid-related fatal overdose. Detective Harris’ thorough investigation led to the first conviction in Charles County for manslaughter as it relates to opioids.
PATROL SERGEANT APPOINTED AS STATE COMMANDER CHIEF OFFICER FOR DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AIR NATIONAL GUARD: Sgt. Charles Gass of the Patrol Division, a 13-year-veteran of the CCSO and 25-year veteran of the District of Columbia Air National Guard (DCANG), was appointed to serve as the State Command Chief Master Sergeant (SCCM). The DCANG has approximately 1200 personnel, 900 of whom are enlisted. “I am extremely proud of Sgt. Gass and his commitment to serve in the National Guard. This appointment speaks volumes to his strong work ethic both here at the Charles County Sheriff’s Office and in his military assignment,” said Sheriff Troy D. Berry.
The Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force represents the highest level of enlisted leadership, and as such, provides the direction for the enlisted corps and represents their interests to those in all levels of government. These positions carry a broad scope of responsibility and influence. Chief Master Sergeants selected to serve in a Command Chief Master Sergeant position become the senior enlisted leader for their respective commander, chain of command and non-commissioned officer support structure. They are responsible for channeling communications from the commander to all enlisted members. “I am honored to have been appointed to this position, and I will dutifully serve in this new capacity to the best of my abilities,” said Sgt. Gass.
About Our Agency
Office of the Sheriff: The OFFICE OF THE SHERIFF is comprised of the Sheriff, the Chief of Staff, two Assistant Sheriffs, the Office of Professional Responsibility, and the Office of the General Counsel.
Sheriff Troy D. Berry is a 25-year veteran of the Charles County Sheriff’s Office and was elected as Sheriff in 2014. He leads an Agency of over 650 employees and is the final authority on all matters of policy, operations, and discipline.
Mr. Phillip Hinkle serves as Sheriff Berry’s Chief of Staff. He is the highest responsible senior administrative and supervisory authority of all employees of the Agency.
Two Assistant Sheriffs are responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Agency. Major David Saunders serves as the Assistant Sheriff of Operations and is responsible for Patrol Operations, the Criminal Investigations Division, and the Special Operations Division. Mr. Brian Eley serves as the Assistant Sheriff of Administration and is responsible for the Corrections Division, the Special Services Division, the Information Services Division, the Executive Services Division, the Training Division, and the Administrative Services Division.
The Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) is an independent component of the CCSO and maintains the integrity of the Agency by ensuring the professional conduct of Agency personnel. OPR’s two functions include Internal Affairs and Standards and Audits and operate under the command of Captain Mike Almassy.
Internal Affairs (IA) handled 41 cases in 2017. Of those, four (4) were exonerated; three (3) were unfounded; twenty (20) were sustained; six (6) were not sustained; one (1) was handled within the division; and five (5) remained open. There was one (1) case of a lost badge which was not investigated. There was also one (1) investigation completed for another agency. The IA cases involved twelve (12) police officers, fifteen (15) correctional officers, and five (5) civilian employees.
The Office of the General Counsel is assigned to represent the Office of the Sheriff and serves as the Agency’s liaison with the County Attorney’s Office and the Maryland Attorney General’s Office. Mr. Jerome Spencer, a former prosecutor and Circuit Court Judge, serves as the Agency’s General Counsel, and Ms. Misty Good serves as Associate Counsel.
Patrol Division: When life or property is in peril, citizens rely on the protection of the CCSO’s first responders — the officers of the PATROL DIVISION — whose chief responsibilities are maintaining law and order and restoring peace when public safety is threatened. The Patrol Division prevents and investigates crime, responds to calls for service, and enforces traffic laws. It is the CCSO’s most visible component. Captain Ronald Farrell serves as the Commander of the Southern District and Captain Charles Baker serves as the Commander of the Northern District.
Five shifts of 22 patrol officers (ranked corporal and below) and four sergeants each provide police services day and night throughout Charles County. Each officer is assigned to either the Northern District or the Southern District of the county. Additionally, 11 lieutenants serve as shift commanders in the Patrol Division, ensuring a commander is always on duty in both the Northern District and Southern District. Shift commanders coordinate the Patrol Division’s response to major incidents and make critical operational decisions.
Patrol officers responded to 257,806 calls for service in 2017, which included a variety of emergency and non-emergency situations.
Patrol officers made 9,325 arrests in 2017. These include not only arrests made on-scene after responding to calls but also those made after interrupting crimes in progress during proactive patrols; during traffic stops where more serious crimes like drug or weapon possession are uncovered; and as a result of extensive investigations.
The K9 Unit is comprised of nine officers, a sergeant, a trainer, and 12 dogs. With their keen sense of smell, K9s perform narcotics detection, patrol work, and/or explosives detection and respond to both verbal commands and hand signals. In 2017, the unit handled 2,772 calls and assisted with 4,998 calls. It conducted 136 building searches, 203 drug searches, and 102 tracks, and it provided 38 demonstrations for various groups around the county. Each K9 team is certified by the United States Police Canine Association (USPCA).
Special Operations Division: The SPECIAL OPERATIONS DIVISION performs tactical assignments and provides community and school-based services that engage citizens and businesses in public safety activities. Captain Robert Kiesel was named the division’s commander in 2017. The division includes two sections: Special Operations and Community Services.
The Special Operations Section is supervised by Lieutenant Ray Aportadera and includes the Traffic Operations Unit, Marine Unit, and the Emergency Services, Hostage Negotiations, and Special Events Response Teams.
The Traffic Operations Unit investigates traffic fatalities, school bus crashes, school bus complaints, and abandoned vehicles; conducts radar operations and commercial vehicle inspections; manages crossing guard assignments; provides funeral escorts; and manages all traffic-related grants awarded to the CCSO.
- Between January 1, 2017, and December 31, 2017, the Charles County Sheriff’s Office investigated fourteen (14) motor vehicle crashes resulting in fatalities, an increase of 55.55% over 2016.
- County-wide, there were twenty-eight (28) fatal crashes yielding thirty-five (35) fatalities. Fatal crashes county-wide (investigated by the Charles County Sheriff’s Office or Maryland State Police) increased by 7.692% over fatal crashes reported in 2016.
- The CCSO conducts selective enforcement using funding provided by the Maryland Department of Transportation, Maryland Highway Safety Office (MHSO). This funding is provided via grants to enforce laws combating aggressive driving, distracted driving, seatbelt violations, pedestrian area patrols and impaired driving.
- Between January 1, 2017, and December 31, 2017, the Charles County Sheriff’s Office used MHSO grant funds to conduct approximately thirty-one (31) impaired driver patrols, five (5) sobriety checkpoints, eleven (11) distracted driver patrols, and one (1) nighttime seatbelt enforcement detail. Additionally, the CCSO conducted over forty-eight (48) pedestrian area patrols using MHSO funding.
The Marine Unit is a specially-trained team of officers and civilians who provide law enforcement services on the waterways of Charles County. The vessels are specially designed for law enforcement use and are equipped to handle a variety of possible situations.
The Special Events Response Team (SERT) is comprised of 28 officers who respond to large-scale demonstrations, natural disasters, and other significant events that require additional manpower and resources.
The Hostage Negotiations Team is specially trained to bring situations involving barricaded individuals and hostages to peaceful conclusions. Negotiators volunteer for the team in addition to their regular duty assignments.
The CCSO’s Community Services Section, under the command of Lieutenant David Kelly, administers innovative and effective crime prevention programs, provides instruction and security in county schools, and leads numerous community outreach efforts. As a testament to the success of the Community Services Section’s programs and its commitment to working closely with citizens and businesses to prevent crime, the CCSO has received the Maryland Governor’s Crime Prevention Award each year since 1988. The Community Services Section oversees the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Unit, School Resource Unit, Teen Court, the Honor Guard, and the Criminal Justice program.
The Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Unit is comprised of nine officers and two sergeants who maintain ties with neighborhoods that participate in the program. Each neighborhood works with one COPS officer who helps implement crime prevention programs; addresses problems and concerns; attends community meetings; and conducts foot, bicycle, and ATV patrols. As a result of their diverse training, these officers are often assigned to special details to address specific crime trends in the county.
The School Resource Unit facilitates the strong alliance between police and Charles County school students. As part of an agreement with Charles County Public Schools, officers are assigned to each elementary, middle, and high school to provide programs such as Safe Schools, Truth and Consequences, and Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE). The officers host a basketball camp, Ladies Leadership Soccer Camp, Badges for Baseball Camp, Cops for Kids Football Camp, Just Say No Camp, a Summer Youth Program, and We Care, a program designed to reduce teen traffic fatalities by using innovative methods to encourage young motorists to drive safely. This unit also operates a Student Crime Solvers program, which provides an opportunity for reward money when students anonymously submit information about crimes in schools. The program is offered in conjunction with Charles County Crime Solvers.
Teen Court provides first-time youth offenders with an opportunity to accept responsibility for traffic offenses, misdemeanor crimes, and tobacco and alcohol offenses without the stigma of a formal criminal record. Youth offenders are represented by youth defense attorneys, prosecuted by youth prosecutors, and sentenced by youth juries. An adult volunteer serves as a judge. The program teaches students about the criminal justice process, helps them better resolve problems, and reduces recidivism. In 2017, Teen Court heard 124 cases and sentenced youth offenders collectively to 3,537 hours of community service.
The Community Services Section also supervises the Honor Guard, which was originally formed to assist families of fallen officers at funerals. It is now a dignified presence at many CCSO and community functions including police and correctional officer graduations and an annual candlelight vigil hosted by the Center for Abused Persons.
High school students considering a career in law enforcement have an opportunity to learn about the criminal justice system as part of their academic curriculum in the Criminal Justice Program offered through an alliance between the CCSO and Charles County Public Schools. The program is held at North Point High School.
Criminal Investigations Division: The CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS DIVISION (CID) investigates complex crimes and crime trends. Under the command of Captain Richard Williams, the division operates four sections — Major Crimes, Property Crimes, Homeland Security, and Narcotics Enforcement. In 2017, CID as a whole conducted 328 search warrants.
The Major Crimes Section, commanded by Lt. Don Stahl, includes the Major Crimes, Special Victims, Robbery, and Forensic Science Units.
The Major Crimes Unit investigates homicides, deaths, shootings, stabbings, life-threatening assaults, cold cases, missing persons, and the rare occurrences of police-involved shootings. Detectives investigated eight homicides in 2017, which were all closed with arrests. Detectives made 45 arrests for major crimes in 2017.
The Special Victims Unit (SVU) investigates rapes, sexual assaults, physical and sexual child abuse, and the exploitation of the elderly. The circumstances of these investigations can be difficult and very emotional for detectives.
The Robbery Unit investigates citizen and commercial armed robberies. In 2017, the unit conducted 78 investigations, made 70 arrests, and had 5 open warrants at the end of the year.
The Forensic Science Unit (FSU) is comprised of a sergeant, evidence technicians, and latent fingerprint examiners who provide critical support to patrol officers and detectives by processing crime scenes and analyzing evidence.
The Property Crimes Section, commanded by Lt. Chris Bean, investigates property and financial crimes; analyzes crime trends; and provides services to crime victims.
In 2017, the Property Crimes Unit investigated 80 residential burglaries, 51 commercial burglaries, and 69 stolen vehicles. As a result of their investigations, detectives made 114 arrests in 2017.
The Financial Crimes Unit investigates fraud schemes, identity theft, and embezzlement. In 2017, detectives investigated 402 cases. Of these investigations, 62 resulted in criminal charges, 114 were still active investigations at the end of the year, 12 were closed exceptional, 9 were closed as unfounded, and the remainder were closed after investigative leads were exhausted.
The Crime Analysis Unit collects, analyzes, and disseminates crime data for the CCSO’s CompStat program. The CCSO introduced CompStat, an analysis-driven method of proactively addressing crime problems, in 2009. District Commanders use the Crime Analysis data as part of weekly CompStat meetings to address crime in their districts.
The Victim Services Unit works with local, state and regional agencies including the Center for Abused Persons, the Center for Children, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, and Victims Information and Notification Everyday (VINE) to ensure victims understand their rights and have access to counseling and compensation.
The Homeland Security & Intelligence Section, commanded by Lt. Jason Stoddard, investigates street gangs, outlaw motorcycle gangs, extremist activities, threats against public officials, terrorism, and organized crime. The Section receives and disseminates intelligence information and publishes law enforcement bulletins for the CCSO and allied agencies nationwide. An investigator from the Homeland Security & Intelligence Section is also part of the Southern Maryland Information Center (SMIC), a regional operation that facilitates information sharing between the CCSO, the Calvert and St. Mary’s County Sheriffs’ Offices, the Maryland State Police and the Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center. Representatives from each agency analyze reports and identify cross-jurisdictional crime trends.
The Narcotics Enforcement Section (NES), commanded by Lt. Ben Voorhaar, works covertly and aggressively to disrupt drug trafficking in Charles County. The effective disruption of drug trafficking is vital to the reduction of crime overall. The section includes the Major Narcotics Unit and the Narcotics Street Enforcement Unit. In 2017, NES investigations led to the seizure of $255,416 worth of marijuana, $100 worth of PCP, $2,420 worth of oxycodone, $6,837 worth of heroin, $8,870 worth of crack cocaine, $6,590 worth of cocaine, $3,050 worth of MDMA, 38 vehicles, 27 handguns, 25 shotguns, 19 rifles, and about $68,000 in cash.
Corrections Division: The responsibility of keeping inmates at the Charles County Detention Center (CCDC) secure rests with the CORRECTIONS DIVISION under the command of Director Brandon Foster and Deputy Director Deborah Dofflemyer. The CCDC is a secure facility that opened in 1995 and stretches 135,000 feet with 203 cells. In 2017, Corrections processed 9,185 arrests through intake and booked 2,999 incarcerated individuals into the facility. The CCDC maintained an average daily population of 318 inmates.
The Custody and Security Section, commanded by Captain Ryan Ross , maintains the general inmate population. Lt. Matthew Becker, Assistant Commander of the Custody and Security Section, serves as the Corrections Division’s training coordinator. He ensures all correctional officers fulfill training obligations mandated by the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commissions (MPCTC).
Four Lieutenants serve as Shift Commanders to ensure there is always a commander on duty. The four Shift Commanders are Lt. Matthew Dixon, Lt. James Kelly, Lt. Tony Oliver, and Lt. Matthew Irby.
The Standards and Accreditation Section, commanded by Lt. Richard Hulvey, conducts audits and inspections to ensure the CCDC operates according to the hundreds of standards set by the Maryland Commission on Correctional Standards (MCCS). In 2001, the CCDC became the first detention facility in Maryland to score 100 percent on an MCCS audit and achieved 100 percent scores after audits in 2004, 2006, 2009, 2012, and 2016.
The Support Services Section, commanded by Captain Gerald Duffield, is responsible for central processing, inmate programs and services, the commissary, and security maintenance. This section also oversees the inmate library, the law library, inventory, and supplies.
Lt. Ryan Taylor serves as an Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) investigator to ensure the integrity of Corrections Division personnel.
Central Processing, under the direction of Lt. Amy Stine, ensures the completeness, accuracy, and security of inmate records and maintains communication with court systems, police agencies, and other correctional facilities. The unit is comprised of Records, Intake, Finance, Transportation, and Court Holding.
Inmate Programs and Services, commanded by Lt. Brian Gardiner, reduces recidivism by offering programs that help inmates re-enter society as productive citizens. One program, Successful Transitioning and Reentry Skills (STARS), provides inmates with skills and knowledge to help them succeed in life. Inmates who apply for the program write a resume and appear before an interview panel. Other inmate programs include the Diamonds Program, a faith-based life-skills and transitioning program that addresses specific issues for female inmates, a General Equivalency Diploma (GED) program, and an annual Re-Entry Fair.
The Corrections Division operates the Detention Center Annex adjacent to the primary Detention Center under the command of Captain Robert Studds and Assistant Commander Lt. Stacy Kelly. The Annex houses female inmates, work-release and school-release inmates, inmates sentenced to weekend service, and inmates serving fewer than 60 days. The building served as the county jail from 1981 to 1995 and reopened as the Annex of the current detention center in 2007 to better utilize bed space and alleviate overcrowding in the primary detention center.
Information Services Division: The employees of the INFORMATION SERVICES DIVISION, commanded by Captain Michael McGuigan, are the critical link between citizens and the police and between officers and the information they need to do their jobs safely and efficiently. The division also manages the Agency’s computers and software.
The Communications Section, commanded by Lt. Craig Stillwell, provides police radio communications to officers and clerical coverage of the district stations in La Plata, Bryans Road, and Waldorf. Each district station is staffed by Station Clerks responsible for answering the CCSO’s non-emergency telephone lines and for helping citizens who visit the district stations. The station clerks’ training prepares them to handle a variety of citizen reports and inquiries, from life-threatening emergencies to the occasional non-police matter. Their primary mission is to obtain clear and concise information and relay that information to Police Communications Officers (PCOs), who dispatch the information to officers conducting patrol or other assignments.
The Management Information Systems Section (MIS), managed by Deputy Director Dave Hanna, is vital in ensuring the CCSO functions efficiently in our digital world. The highly knowledgeable staff assigned to the Applications Support, PC Operations, and Systems Operations Support Units maintain hundreds of PCs, printers, networks, complex servers, and software applications. Every function of the CCSO relies on the daily use of computers, and MIS personnel are always on-call after regular business hours to ensure law enforcement services are uninterrupted.
Special Services Division: The SPECIAL SERVICES DIVISION, commanded by Captain Daniel Gimler, handles judicial matters, ensures the security of the Charles County Courthouse, and maintains the Agency’s fleet, supply stock, and property inventory.
The Judicial Services Section, commanded by Lt. Jason Carlson, serves arrest warrants, civil papers, and other legal documents; addresses child support and domestic violence problems; and provides Courthouse security services.
The Property Management Section, commanded by Lt. Brian Herlihy, manages the CCSO’s Quartermaster, Fleet Management, Property Held Unit, and Firearms Tracking Operations.
Executive Services Division: The EXECUTIVE SERVICES DIVISION, commanded by Captain Stephen Salvas, oversees the presentation of information to the Sheriff and manages Planning and Accreditation, Media Relations, and Chaplain Services programs.
Planning and Accreditation, directed by Deputy Director Danny Johnson, writes and maintains the policy contained in the CCSO’s Administrative and Operational Manual and ensures the CCSO maintains its internationally recognized accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA).
The Media Relations Office coordinates the distribution of information about police investigations, crime prevention, and CCSO events to the news media and public. The office issues regular press releases; manages the content of the CCSO’s website; produces the Annual Report, an internal newsletter, advertisements, brochures, posters, and fliers; and manages the CCSO’s social media accounts.
Local clergymen offer guidance and inspiration to CCSO personnel and the public through Chaplain Services. Chaplains minister to CCSO personnel in times of personal need or strife and provide comfort to those who are injured or afflicted. They accompany officers who must notify families of the death of a loved one and would assist in notifying the family of an officer who was seriously injured or slain. Chaplains also provide invocations and benedictions at CCSO ceremonies.
Administrative Services Division: The CCSO is committed to maintaining a highly qualified workforce, to utilizing financial resources efficiently, and to thorough and accurate record keeping. The ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES DIVISION, commanded by Captain Billy Caywood, is responsible for helping the CCSO meet its strict personnel, budgetary, and records management standards.
The Financial Services Section, managed by Deputy Director Erin Shoemaker, ensures the integrity and accuracy of the CCSO’s financial operations. A well-trained team of finance professionals promotes sound financial management practices, accounts for CCSO-owned property, effectively allocates resources, oversees the budget preparation process, and assists in meeting the CCSO’s operational needs.
The Red Light and Speed Camera Financial Section is responsible for the financial review of the CCSO’s red light camera and school zone speed enforcement camera programs.
The Human Resources Section, managed by Deputy Director Brian Daniels, handles administrative personnel tasks for potential and current employees. Once the Human Resources Section determines an applicant meets position requirements, the Pre-Employment Investigations Unit performs an extensive background investigation of the applicant. The unit’s mission is to ensure only the applicants with the highest levels of integrity are awarded positions with the CCSO. Background investigations involve polygraphs, psychological examinations, physical examinations, and drug screenings.
The Records Management Section, managed by Deputy Director Judy Torney, preserves and maintains thousands of reports filed through the CCSO each year.
The Pre-Employment/Recruitment Unit seeks the best potential police and correctional officer candidates for employment with the CCSO. The unit attends job fairs and other events to engage those who are interested and to guide those who have decided to pursue careers in law enforcement.
Training Division: The TRAINING DIVISION ensures the CCSO meets state-mandated requirements and provides a variety of other training needs. Commanded by Captain Kevin Leahy, the division is comprised of the Southern Maryland Criminal Justice Academy, the Firearms Instruction Detail, and the Cadet Program.
The Southern Maryland Criminal Justice Academy (SMCJA) provides entry-level training to all police and correctional officers in Southern Maryland. The SMCJA is funded and governed by the sheriffs’ offices in Charles, Calvert, and St. Mary’s Counties, which provide the Academy’s full-time staff of instructors and support personnel.
Once officers have completed entry-level training, they must complete a required number of hours of “in-service” training. The Training Division handles all annual in-service training classes and ensures all required documentation is submitted to the Maryland Police Training Commission (MPTC) to maintain each officer’s State certification.
The Firearms Instruction Detail is comprised of highly-skilled instructors who must maintain expert proficiency in firearms. The unit provides regular firearms training to all new and veteran officers and to Correctional Officers who carry firearms in the performance of their duties. In addition to the required qualifications courses officers must complete twice annually for the handgun, shotgun, and rifle, officers are also trained in tactical scenarios, shooting on the move, shooting behind various types of cover, general marksmanship skills, and various other courses of fire related directly to the performance of duties as a police officer.
College students who want to pursue a career as a CCSO police officer gain invaluable on-the-job experience in the Cadet Program, which employs college students between 18 and 21 years of age. Cadets perform a variety of duties while learning law enforcement techniques, CCSO policy and procedure, and criminal and traffic law. These duties include traffic direction and enforcement, seatbelt and child safety seat inspections, flagging abandoned vehicles, and truck and school bus safety inspections.
ALL GAVE SOME, SOME GAVE ALL
Deputy Sheriff Lawrence H. McParlin
Deputy Sheriff Lawrence McParlin is the first Charles County Sheriff’s officer known to have fallen in the line of duty. On May 21, 1918, a short time after becoming a police officer, Deputy Sheriff McParlin and Metropolitan Police Department Officer John Conrad attempted to serve a court summons in Washington, D.C. As they entered the building, the suspect, who was wanted, shot and killed both officers. Learn more about Deputy Sheriff McParlin by reading “A History Lesson.”
Patrolman First Class Dennis L. Riley, #49
On January 11, 1977, PFC Riley was killed in a crash at the intersection of Route 228 and U.S. Route 301 in Waldorf. As he waited for a traffic light to change, a tractor-trailer fuel tanker skidded to a stop and overturned on his cruiser, killing him instantly. PFC Riley was survived by a wife and four children.
Sergeant Francis “Leo” Yates, #40
On June 8, 1988, Sgt. Yates suffered a fatal heart attack as he left the Charles County Courthouse. He was survived by a wife and four children.
Sergeant Joseph E. Stine, Jr., #62
On May 12, 1990, Sgt. Stine arrested a disorderly subject and transported the resisting prisoner to the Charles County Detention Center. Sgt. Stine then collapsed and suffered a fatal heart attack. He was survived by a wife, two children and three step-children.
Sergeant Timothy C. Minor, #109
On February 12, 1996, Sgt. Minor was killed when a vehicle pulled in front of his police motorcycle on Route 257 in Newburg as he was responding to a call near Cobb Island. Sgt. Minor was survived by a wife and two children.
Station Clerk Willard C. Keesee, #1123
On January 23, 1998, Mr. Keesee was on-duty at the Indian Head District Station when he suffered a fatal heart attack. He was survived by two sons and a daughter.
Corporal Jamel L. Clagett, #447
On December 21, 2014, Cpl. Clagett was killed in a single-vehicle crash on Route 218 near Route 641 in King George, Virginia, while returning home from working a midnight shift. He was survived by his mother, two brothers, and a sister.