2018 Annual Report
The Charles County Sheriff’s Office is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.
2018 Fast Facts
County Population: 161,503*
Sworn Officers: 313
Corrections Officers: 153
Court Security Officers: 13
Automated Enforcement Unit (AEU) Deputy: 1
Civilian Employees: 222**
Calls for Service: 235,604
Motor Vehicle Citations / Warnings / Parking Tickets: 15,007 / 25,049 / 379
DUI Citations: 369
Automobile Fatal Crashes / Deaths: 5 / 6***
Alcohol-Related Automobile Crash Deaths / Drug-Related Automobile Crash Deaths: 0 / 0***
*Number based on the 2018 U.S. Census Bureau estimate.
**Full Time and Part Time, includes Court Security Officers and AEU Deputy
***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
It is my pleasure to present our 2018 Annual Report.
For more than twenty-five years, I’ve had the good fortune of working alongside the men and women of the Charles County Sheriff’s Office. Leading this Agency is a great source of pride and enthusiasm for me, and with good reason. The remarkable work done here every day makes our community a better place and helps to ensure the safety of my family and yours.
I take pride in knowing our success is the result of a hardworking and professional staff and of a strong alliance with citizens, businesses, community organizations and government officials. The evidence of this success surrounds us. You can find it in our lowered crime rate, in the homes of families who benefit from our outreach programs, on the streets where officers patrol day and night to protect us and in our detention center where our staff works hard to ensure the safety of inmates while finding ways to help those who seek a positive change in their lives.
While keeping our communities safe is our primary responsibility, our employees also contribute to keeping our communities connected. We are invested in almost every aspect of community relations. We participate in community outreach programs such as Special Olympics Maryland, United Way of Charles County, the American Cancer Society, March of Dimes, and the Southern Maryland Food Bank. Further, we work side-by-side with the Center for Abused Persons and Charles County Crime Solvers. We are not only happy to help raise money to support these causes but we also welcome the opportunity to interact with the people of our community. We truly cherish the time we spend helping our friends and neighbors.
As I reflect on 2018, I take pride in the Charles County Sheriff’s Office and in the community we serve. Our alliance with our community and the success we achieve together gives me great confidence in our future.
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
As 2018, the 360th anniversary year for the CCSO, has come to a close, Sheriff Troy Berry and the Charles County Sheriff’s Office look back on the events of the last 12 months. For 2018, many successes stand out: crime in Charles County has decreased; employees were recognized for award-worthy work; new outreach efforts were made to educate the public on the dangers of heroin and opioids; several officers graduated from prestigious leadership and training programs; and we’ve continued to remain actively involved with our community and with our youth.
Decrease in Crime: Preliminary crime numbers show that in comparison with 2017, overall crime decreased by 2.5% in 2018. “Every person who works for the CCSO, from dispatchers and station clerks to patrol officers and detectives, from correctional officers to civilian employees, plays an important role in crime prevention. I’m very proud of the women and men of the CCSO and what they are able to accomplish when faced with an ever-increasing population,” said Sheriff Troy D. Berry. “While our work is never over, it is encouraging to see hard work reflected in the numbers.” The CCSO was again recognized this year by the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention for outstanding crime prevention programs.
Above and Beyond the Call of Duty: In early November, 65 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, three officers received medals of valor, our highest honors. M/Cpl. John Freeman, PFC Michael Wagner, and PFC Michael Beall were awarded the Bronze Medal of Valor for their actions on February 21, 2018, which directly contributed to the capture of the killer of a police officer from a neighboring jurisdiction. There were also 25 retirees honored at the banquet, who served a combined 593 years at the Charles County Sheriff’s Office.
Officers also received accolades throughout the year from the CCSO and other organizations. PFC Andrew Coulby was named the 2017 Officer of the Year by the Sons of the American Legion Squadron 82 for his extraordinary bravery and courage when responding to the scene of a murder/suicide in March of 2017. Cpl. Justin Davis was recognized as the 2017 Correctional Officer of the Year as a result of his work ethic, initiative, and dedication to the Charles County Detention Center. Detective George Higgs received the Department of Justice Missing Children’s Child Protection Award recognizing his relentless work in the investigation of a child sexual predator and the identification of 42 child abuse victims. Detective Higgs was also awarded the Meritorious Service Award by the CCSO in December for his work on this case. Sgt. Jon Burroughs, Pfc. Patrick McPherson, Cpl. Kris Syvertsen, and Cpl. Ray Brooks were honored at the Maryland Department of Transportation’s ADAPT (Aggressive Drivers Are Public Threats) Aggressive Driving Prevention Awards Luncheon. They received awards for their efforts in reducing aggressive driving on our roadways in 2018. In October, the Maryland Police & Correctional Training Commissions (MPCTC) held its 18th Annual Awards & Instructor’s Conference where Lt. Harry Ivers received an Academy Instructor of the Year Award and Sgt. John Arcadipane received a Non-Academy Instructor of the Year Award.
HOPE for the Heroin Epidemic: Opioid addiction is an epidemic affecting all parts of the country. While the number of overdoses continues to rise on a national level, the number of
overdoses and fatalities linked to opioids saw a decrease in Charles County in 2018. Although it’s too early to determine if this will be a long-term trend, the agency is committed to prevention and education as part of its efforts to prevent abuse. As part of these efforts and by the hard work and dedication of many, the CCSO unveiled the HOPE (Heroin Overdose Prevention Education) trailer in the fall. This mobile educational tool was designed to raise awareness and inform parents of the warning signs related to drug abuse. The trailer – designed to resemble a teenager’s bedroom – offers parents the opportunity to see where teens are likely to hide drugs.
Major Achievements: In July, Sheriff Berry was pleased to announce the graduation of Lt. Jeffrey Wood (Shift Commander, Patrol Operations), Sgt. Jon Burroughs (Supervisor, Traffic Operations), Sgt. Scott Grove (Supervisor, Domestic Violence Unit), and Sgt. Caroline Baker (Supervisor, Patrol Operations) from Northwestern University’s Center for Public Safety School of Police Staff and Command, Session 438. The 10-week course is designed to prepare top and mid-level law enforcement managers and supervisors for senior agency positions. Students from Southern Maryland resided at the facility for the entirety of the school and earned 16 college credits for completing the course. More than 10,000 national and international officers have graduated from this program since its inception in 1983.
In December, Lt. Joseph Pratta graduated from the National FBI Academy. Less than 1 percent of the nation’s law enforcement executives are selected to attend this program, which is free of charge. The FBI sponsors four sessions of the National Academy every year. Each session is comprised of a 10-week program in which attendees take classes in leadership programs such as police management, advanced communications, criminal law, behavioral science, and forensic science. The program also includes a rigorous physical training component.
Community Outreach: “The relationships we have within our local community are critical to our success as an agency,” said Sheriff Berry. “Our mission to protect and serve would not be possible without the people and organizations who support us through various means.” The CCSO continues to join forces with organizations such as the Center for Abused Persons (CAP), Charles County Crime Solvers, Parents Affected by Addiction (PABA), and Lifestyles of Maryland. Citizens showed their support by participating in events such as the Crime Watch Kickoff, Citizens Advisory Council Meetings, and National Night Out.
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 and Cops on Rooftops in September. The Corrections Division spearheaded many of its own outreach projects, 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. On December 1, the Charles County Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 24 hosted its 11th 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 70 Charles County children to Walmart where each child was able to purchase gifts for themselves and their families.
Engaging with our Youth: For the third straight year, Sheriff Berry paid a special visit to each and every elementary and middle school in Charles County in order to conduct “wellness visits.” “This is one small way I can show my support for our School Resource Officers, as well as for the students and staff at our schools,” he said. “Charles County has the best and brightest students, and it really makes my day to talk to them.”
Other Sections also took part in strengthening relationships with our youth. In light of a tragic school shooting which took place in Florida in February, members of the Traffic Operations Unit stopped by several schools to let the kids know they were there for them. Many officers participated in Career Days or other special events at the schools.
Our School Resource Unit continued its tradition of hosting several camps for the elementary and middle school students throughout the year. In June, after school let out, they kicked off the summer with the Ladies Leadership soccer camp, held at Laurel Springs Regional Park. The Badges for Baseball camp took place in late June and was held also at Laurel Springs, followed by Cops for Kids at St. Charles High School in early July. They also hosted the Summer Youth Achievement Program for four weeks during the summer at St. Charles High School, and the Just Say No Camp in August at the College of Southern Maryland.
“We are grateful to have had a successful 2018. The CCSO has certainly come a long way in our 360 years, and we will continue our tradition of excellence in 2019,” said Sheriff Berry. “We have a lot to be thankful for, and a lot to look forward to.”
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 first elected as Sheriff in 2014. He was re-elected in 2018. 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. Mr. Hinkle is a retired police officer having served 26 years with the Maryland State Police and previously served the Charles County Sheriff’s Office as the General Counsel.
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 Stephen Salvas.
Internal Affairs (IA) handled twenty-seven (27) cases in 2018. Of those, three (3) were exonerated, two (2) were unfounded, seven (7) were sustained, five (5) were not sustained, one (1) was handled within the division, one (1) was exonerated for use of force but sustained for required reports, one (1) was exonerated for one correctional officer but sustained for another, and seven (7) remained open. The IA cases involved twenty-three (23) police officers, four (4) correctional officers and two (2) 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 82,382 calls for service in 2018, which included a variety of emergency and non-emergency situations.
Patrol officers made 3,070 arrests in 2018. 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.
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 is the division’s commander. 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, K9 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, 2018, and December 31, 2018, the Charles County Sheriff’s Office investigated five (5) motor vehicle crashes resulting in fatalities, a decrease of over 64% from 2017.
- 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, 2018, and December 31, 2018, the Charles County Sheriff’s Office used MHSO grant funds to conduct approximately thirty-one (31) impaired driver patrols, two (2) sobriety checkpoints, four (4) distracted driver patrols, and one (1) seatbelt enforcement detail. Additionally, the CCSO conducted forty-three (43) aggressive driver details.
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 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 2018, the unit conducted 75 building searches, 45 drug searches, and 70 tracks, and it provided 6 demonstrations for various groups around the county. Each K9 team is certified by the United States Police Canine Association (USPCA).
The Special Events Response Team (SERT) is comprised of 40 CCSO officers and 5 La Plata Police Department (LPPD) 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 William Edge, 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, Crime Prevention 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 one sergeant 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 Crime Prevention Unit started in May of 2018 it includes Teen Court, The Community Organizer, Alcohol Enforcement, Electronic Fingerprint Unit, and Criminal Justice Program (at North Point High School) . The unit is tasked with coordinating various events such as National Night Out, The Charles County Fair Display, Project Graduation, Crime Watch Kickoff and Citizens Advisory Council. The Crime Prevention Unit is responsible for the Project Lifesaver Program, various safety presentations for the commercial and residential community, Neighborhood Crime Watch Training and residential and commercial security assessments. From May through December of 2018, the Crime Prevention Unit made 39 presentations, attended 31 community meetings and events, and performed 886 commercial security assessments and 911 information updates for local businesses.
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, DARE conference, a Summer Youth Achievement 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 2018, Teen Court heard 126 cases and sentenced youth offenders collectively to 3,531 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. In 2018, the Honor Guard participated in 18 assignments ranging from community events to Line of Duty death funerals. Additionally, the team trained on 12 separate days for 2 hours each time.
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 Michael Almassy, the division operates four sections — Persons Crimes, Property Crimes, Homeland Security, and Narcotics Enforcement. In 2018, CID as a whole conducted 363 search warrants.
The Persons 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 eleven homicides in 2018, eight of which were closed by the end of the year.
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. Detectives in the SVU were assigned 278 cases in 2018 and made 68 arrests.
The Robbery Unit investigates citizen and commercial armed robberies. In 2018, the unit conducted 83 investigations, made 54 arrests, and had 3 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 2018, the Property Crimes Unit investigated 212 residential burglaries, 67 commercial burglaries, and 160 stolen vehicles. As a result of their investigations, detectives made 118 arrests in 2018.
The Financial Crimes Unit investigates fraud schemes, identity theft, and embezzlement. In 2018, detectives investigated 244 cases. Of these investigations, 46 resulted in criminal charges, 51 were still active investigations at the end of the year, 4 were closed exceptional, 7 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. Chris Schmidt, 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 2018, NES investigations led to the seizure of 38 pounds of marijuana, 14 grams of PCP, 156 DU of oxycodone, 18 grams of heroin, 118.3 grams of crack cocaine, 137.2 grams of cocaine, 3 grams of MDMA, 45 handguns, 16 rifles, and about $124,972.43 in cash.
The CCSO employs a full-time Heroin Coordinator as part of the Opioid Addiction Program. In 2018, there were 118 overdose incidents in Charles County. Narcan was administered 78 times, and there were 26 overdose deaths. The average age of the involved parties was 35.
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 Robert Studds. The CCDC is a secure facility that opened in 1995 and stretches 135,000 feet with 203 cells. In 2018, Corrections processed 7,906 arrests through intake and booked 2,632 incarcerated individuals into the facility. The CCDC maintained an average daily population of 306 inmates.
The Custody and Security Section, commanded by Captain Ryan Ross, is responsible for internal and external security of the facilities. This section is comprised of four security teams which are the main operational element of the Corrections Division.
Four Lieutenants serve as Shift Commanders to ensure there is always a commander on duty. The Shift Commanders manage the daily security operations of the detention center. The four Shift Commanders are Lt. Jonathan Palmer, Lt. James Kelly, Lt. Tony Oliver, and Lt. Matthew Irby.
The Special Services Section, commanded by Captain Gerald Duffield, is responsible for standards and accreditation, training, security maintenance, inmate commissary, and supplies.
The Standards and Accreditation Commander is Lt. Richard Hulvey. He 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.
Lt. Matthew Becker serves as the Corrections Division’s Training Commander. He ensures all correctional officers fulfill training obligations mandated by the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commissions (MPCTC).
Lt. Brian Gardiner serves as the Corrections Division’s Facilities Management Commander. He ensures the facilities are well maintained and properly supplied. He also works closely with contractors who maintain various systems and equipment within the detention center.
The Support Services Section, commanded by Captain Amy Stine, is responsible for central processing and inmate programs and services. This section also oversees the inmate library and the law library.
Lt. Matthew Dixon serves as the Central Processing Commander. He 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.
Lt. Stacy Kelly serves as the Inmate Services Commander. She strives to reduce 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.
Lt. Ryan Taylor serves as an Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) investigator to ensure the integrity of Corrections Division personnel.
The Corrections Division operates the Detention Center Annex adjacent to the primary Detention Center. The Annex houses inmates assigned work-release and school release. 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. In 2018, the Judicial Services section served 8,180 summons, 1,623 warrants, 3,865 evictions, and 681 peace orders.
The Property Management Section, commanded by Lt. Scott Fetterolf, manages the CCSO’s Quartermaster, Fleet Management, Property Held Unit, and Firearms Tracking Operations.
Executive Services Division: The EXECUTIVE SERVICES DIVISION, commanded by Captain David Kelly, 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. At the end of 2018, the CCSO reached approximately 60,000 people through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Nextdoor.
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 Accounting Section, managed by Deputy Director Rita Williamson, is made up of a cross-trained team of financial professionals who work in partnership with upper management, division commanders / directors, and staff both within the agency and county government to achieve the Sheriff’s Office mission and activities. The section is responsible for work completed within the following major areas: Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, Payroll, Fixed Asset Recordkeeping, Grant and Inmate Accounting. The work performed supports sound financial management practices, accounts for Agency owned property, and assists in meeting the operating needs of the Sheriff’s Office.
The Budgeting Section, managed by Deputy Director Erin Shoemaker, provides leadership on all accounts and projects which affect the budget for the Office of the Sheriff. This section is responsible to prepare the annual budgets and financial analyses of the Sheriff’s Office operations for upper level management and County agencies. A well trained team of budget professionals promotes the sound budgetary management practices, oversees the budget preparation process, and assists in meeting the CCSO’s personnel and operational needs.
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.