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Charles County Sheriff's Office

2020 Annual Report

2020 Annual Report

The Charles County Sheriff’s Office is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.

2020 Fast Facts

County Population: 163,257*
Sworn Officers: 299
Corrections Officers: 133
Court Security Officers: 15
Automated Enforcement Unit (AEU) Deputy: 1
Civilian Employees: 296**
Calls for Service: 210,487
Arrests: 3,593
Motor Vehicle Citations / Warnings / Parking Tickets: 3,877 / 6,287 / 117
DUI Citations: 145 
Automobile Fatal Crashes / Deaths: 9 / 10***
Alcohol or Drug-Related Automobile Crashes / Deaths: 4 / 5***
*Number based on the 2019 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

I am proud to present our 2020 Annual Report.

First and foremost, I’d like to commend the more than 650 men and women of the Charles County Sheriff’s Office for all that they were able to accomplish in 2020. From sworn officers to correctional officers to civilian staff, each and every one of them faced significant challenges – both at work and at home – due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Despite continually changing Governor’s Orders, our employees were able to adapt and overcome in order to continue providing services to the citizens of Charles County. We donned personal protective equipment to keep ourselves and those we serve safe. Many employees transitioned into different units in order to fulfill the needs of the Agency. Others converted spaces in their homes into offices so that their duties could be performed remotely. 

While we celebrated successes together, we also mourned together. In May we were heartbroken due to the untimely passing of Ms. Sharele Peters, who had been a CCSO employee for 15 years. In early December, we were deeply saddened to lose Master Corporal Rob Cadrette, a 22-year veteran of the Agency. 

This report is dedicated to Sharele, Rob, and the entire CCSO family. 

Now more than ever, we also attribute much of our success to the positive relationships we foster with the citizens as well as local businesses, community organizations, and government officials in Charles County. Their support means the world to us. I take pride in the Charles County Sheriff’s Office and in the community we serve, and I am confident that we will achieve continued success in 2021 and in the years to come.

Sincerely,

Troy D. Berry

Our History

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 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 was 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 2004, 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. The CCSO earned CALEA’s flagship status in 2010 and in 2020 was accredited with Excellence, the highest rating possible, designating it as one of the best among accredited agencies worldwide.

Mission and Values

Mission Statement

The men and women of the Charles County Sheriff’s Office 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.

Value Statements

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:

PRIDE:

Professionalism – We believe in delivering a level of service which will reflect the pride we have in our community and organization.

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.

Duty – We believe the protection of life is our highest priority.

Excellence – We are dedicated to service through superior performance.

The Year in Review

Many will look back at the year 2020 and wish to forget it, and for good reasons. While we remember the many difficulties and challenges, we come away from the past year grateful and humbled. Amidst a global pandemic and continually changing public directives and orders, the men and women of the Charles County Sheriff’s Office were able to continue operations to provide services to the citizens of Charles County. Our officers on the front lines responded to calls and were recognized for meritorious service and lifesaving work. Most importantly, our community came together, on many occasions, to show support for one another. Here is a positive look back at 2020:

New Protocols, Same Service: In March, the world as we knew it changed drastically. What started as social distancing became orders to stay at home, avoid gatherings, and wear masks when out in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Such orders and directives had great impacts on policing across the nation in terms of how police respond to calls for service and how they interact with citizens and each other. Police officers, who come into contact with many citizens each day, were faced with the challenge of protecting and serving while trying to limit exposure.

Despite these challenges, the men and women of the CCSO were able to quickly shift gears in order to safely provide full law enforcement services to Charles County. Our Command Staff made scheduling changes to limit employees’ exposure to one another, and PPE was distributed Agency-wide. The Planning Section worked tirelessly to rewrite policies based on new Special Orders from Command. The Communications Section revised how they take calls to ensure officers were adequately prepared to contact citizens displaying symptoms. The Patrol Division carefully and cautiously responded to every call for service and were able to handle certain calls over the phone when possible. With the closing of schools, School Resource Officers were deployed to Patrol or the Telephone Reporting Unit. Civilian employees converted their homes into offices to fulfill their duties.

One of our greatest accomplishments through this pandemic was our Corrections Division’s ability to keep the inmates and staff at the Detention Center safe and healthy. Each and every employee worked meticulously to follow protocols in order to keep the facility clean, limit exposure between inmates and employees, and to make sure people coming in weren’t displaying symptoms. When many facilities nationwide were experiencing outbreaks, our Corrections Division ensured business as usual through their exemplary efforts.

Meritorious Service: Each November, the CCSO gathers together to honor those who have retired throughout the previous year as well as recognize employees for brave work, saving lives, superior field service, and for going above and beyond their duties. Although we were unable to have our formal event in 2020, we were still able to safely recognize our retirees and awards recipients separately. Eleven retirees, who served a total of 273 years of service, were honored for their outstanding careers.  Six officers were awarded Bronze Medals of Valor, one of our highest honors, for their heroic actions which saved lives at the risk of their own.

Earlier in the year, the Detention Center named Correctional Officer First Class Eric Keys as the 2019 Correctional Officer of the Year. Aside from being recognized for his teamwork, encouragement to his fellow officers, and for always going above and beyond, he received this honor for an incident which occurred in 2019. CFC Keys pulled an occupant from a burning vehicle he observed while transporting an inmate to another facility, saving her life.

Officers also received accolades throughout the year from outside organizations. In late October, Detective Christina Gilroy and PFC Jack Austin were awarded the 2020 Law Enforcement Award by the Maryland Retailers Association. In 2019, the officers investigated an increase in thefts from local big box stores. Through their tireless efforts, they were able to develop leads, obtain search warrants, and eventually arrest the suspects in connection with the thefts. In November, PFC Ron Walls was named Citizen of the Year, Charles County, Maryland by Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Tua Lambda Lambda Chapter. He was selected for this honor because of his profession as a police officer, his longtime personal commitment to community involvement, especially with children, and his dedication to community outreach. In December, Sgt. Gus Proctor was named Deputy of the Year and Sgt. Matthew Kline, Cpl. Justin Davis, and CFC Michael Keeler were named Corrections Officers of the Year by the Maryland Sheriff’s Association for their work and commitment to the CCSO and the Charles County community.

Professional Excellence: The men and women of the Charles County Sheriff’s Office continued to demonstrate leadership in their profession. In September, Sheriff Troy Berry was sworn in as President of the Maryland Sheriff’s Association (MSA). His peers from the MSA elected him after he finished his term as Vice-President of the association. Sheriff Berry will have the privilege of leading 24 sheriffs of Maryland counties.

We demonstrated our professionalism as an Agency as well. After an extensive assessment of all aspects of the CCSO by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA), in November we received our re-accreditation, with Excellence, the highest rating possible. “We are beyond honored yet humbled as we recognize that this achievement is only awarded to a few agencies, world-wide, during reaccreditation processes,” said Sheriff Berry.

The CCSO Training Division works diligently to ensure that all employees are trained to perform at the highest levels. Early in the year, members of the Agency attended Force Science training, which  focuses on behavioral science and human dynamics with a goal “to enhance public safety, and improve peace officer performance in critical situations.” In October, the Southern Maryland Regional Crisis Intervention Team hosted a 40-hour certification course for police and corrections officers from Charles County and other local agencies as part of a continued commitment to advance training and awareness of handling calls for service relating to mental health and to help officers diffuse problems associated with emotional or mental illness.

Commitment to Community: Perhaps what gave us the most hope in 2020 was the Charles County community. Despite all of the negativity in the world, this community showed that its people care about each other. Many annual events sadly had to be cancelled, but we all found a way to connect with one another. Businesses and individuals continued their support for Special Olympics Maryland by purchasing Torch Run t-shirts and hats, and we had yet another record breaking year in fundraising with more than $88,000 raised. The Torch Run event that was scheduled for June was held virtually in October, and many supporters around the county proudly wore their shirts and ran the race that day on their own.

During the holiday season, the Corrections Division was able to hold its annual toy drive to benefit the Charles County Children’s Aid Society’s Christmas Connection Program. They, too, had a record-breaking year with $20,000 in toys donated to deserving families. Others in the agency joined in the holiday spirit as well. Lt. Bill Welch and Sheriff Berry, along with members of the Traffic Operations Unit and the Criminal Investigations Division, identified four local families who could use a little extra help with Christmas. They purchased necessities and toys for each of the children and delivered the gifts with lights, sirens, and Santa Claus. The K-9 Unit held its annual “Santa Paws” event, and provided Christmas gifts (purchased with their own money) for a special family.

In the spring, we were proud to introduce our new Comfort K-9, Liberty. The Comfort K-9 Program was established by the Special Victims Unit and is a resource that has been utilized to assist victims of assault, particularly children. Liberty has been a valuable asset to the CCSO and to our community.

While 2020 was different in so many ways, many things remained the same. “The CCSO remains steadfast in our mission to serve Charles County at the highest level,” said Sheriff Berry. “Our pride in our community and dedication to duty is stronger than ever, and we look forward to continuing to grow together in 2021.”

About Our Agency

Office of the Sheriff: The OFFICE OF THE SHERIFF is comprised of the Sheriff, Chief of Staff, two Assistant Sheriffs, the Office of Professional Responsibility, and the Office of the General Counsel. 

Sheriff Troy D. Berry is a 28-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. Brian Eley serves as Sheriff Berry’s Chief of Staff. He is the highest responsible senior administrative and supervisory authority of all employees of the Agency. He is directly responsible for the Office of the General Counsel and the Executive Services Division. Chief of Staff Eley is a retired CCSO Captain and most recently served as the Assistant Sheriff of Administration. 

Two Assistant Sheriffs are responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Agency. Major Michael Almassy serves as the Assistant Sheriff of Operations and is responsible for Patrol Operations, the Criminal Investigations Division, and the Special Operations Division. Major Ronald Farrell serves as the Assistant Sheriff of Administration and is responsible for the Corrections Division, the Special Services Division, the Information Technology 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 it operates under the command of Captain William Edge.

Internal Affairs (IA) handled fifty-nine (59) cases in 2020.  The following is a list of the dispositions:

o 11 cases in which all the alleged policy violations were sustained 
o 3 cases in which all the alleged policy violations were exonerated 
o 13 cases in which all the alleged policy violations were unfounded 
o 2 cases in which all the alleged policy violations were not sustained 
o 1 case had three respondents:

  • First respondent had 2 alleged policy violations sustained 
  • Second respondent had 2 alleged policy violations exonerated 
  • Third respondent had 1 alleged policy violation exonerated

o 1 case in which 1 alleged policy violation was sustained, 1 was exonerated and 1 was unfounded
o 1 case in which 1 alleged policy violation was exonerated, 1 was unfounded and 1 was not sustained
o 1 case in which 1 alleged policy violation was unfounded and 1 was not sustained
o 1 case in which 2 alleged policy violations were sustained and 2 were unfounded 
o 1 case had two respondents

  • First respondent had 1 alleged policy violation exonerated
  • Second respondent had 1 alleged policy violation unfounded

o 1 case in which 1 alleged policy violation was exonerated and 2 were unfounded
o 1 case in which 2 alleged policy violations were unfounded and 1 was not sustained
o 1 case had 3 respondents:

  • First respondent had 1 alleged policy violation sustained
  • Second respondent had 1 alleged policy violation unfounded
  • Third respondent had 1 alleged policy violation unfounded

o 1 case in which 1 alleged policy violation was exonerated and 2 were unfounded 
o 1 case in which 3 alleged policy violations were sustained and 1 was not sustained
o 1 case in which 2 alleged policy violations were sustained and 1 was not sustained
o 1 case in which 1 alleged policy violation was exonerated and 1 was unfounded
o 1 case in which 1 alleged policy violation was unfounded and 1 was not sustained
o 1 case in which 1 alleged policy violation was sustained and 1 was unfounded
o 1 closed for lost property
o 4 investigations are in the review process
o There are 10 investigations still open.

The IA cases involved forty (40) police officers, fourteen (14) correctional officers and seven (7) 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 Caroline Baker serves as the Commander of the Southern District and Captain Jason Carlson 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 54,515 calls for service in 2020, which included a variety of emergency and non-emergency situations.

Patrol officers made 1,610 arrests in 2020. 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 Louis Schmidt is the division’s commander. The division includes two sections: Special Operations and Community Services.

The Special Operations Section is supervised by Lieutenant Jon Burroughs 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, 2020 and December 31, 2020, the Charles County Sheriff’s Office investigated nine (9) fatal motor vehicle crashes, which resulted in ten (10) deaths. This is a 33% increase from 2019, but a 4% decrease from the average crashes from 2017-2019.

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 K-9 Unit consists of a sergeant, a trainer and 9 dogs of which include 5 Patrol/Narcotics detection canines, 2 Patrol/Weapon detection canines, 1 Explosive/Weapon detection canine, and 2 Bloodhound tracking/trailing canines.

Each K9 team is certified by agency, International Police Working Dog Association (IPWDA) and Old Dominion SAR/SUMNER-EMA standards. In 2020, the unit conducted 75 building searches, 18 evidence searches, 16 humanitarian searches-bloodhound trails, 10 weapons scans, 9 explosives scans, and 52 tracks. As a result of this work, the Unit made 88 patrol arrests and 18 narcotics arrests.   

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 Scott Grove, 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, and School Resource Unit. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the community outreach programs and events were cancelled or limited in 2020. 

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. In 2020, the unit was able to participate in 12 community or business meetings, a Halloween “trunk-or-treat” event at Regency Furniture Stadium, a Haunted Car Wash event at Kleen Waves car wash, Children’s Aid Society’s annual Christmas Connection program, graduation parades, food deliveries for Lifestyles of Maryland, and over 300 hours of other special assignments or events. 

The Crime Prevention Unit includes Teen Court, a 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. In 2020, the Crime Prevention Unit made 15 presentations, attended 57 community meetings and events, performed 1,011 commercial security assessments and 911 information updates for local businesses, made 136 Project Lifesaver contacts, and participated in 583 hours of special assignments. 

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 2020, Teen Court heard 35 cases and sentenced youth offenders collectively to 1,093 hours of community service.

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.

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 typically host a 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. Unfortunately in 2020, many of these events had to be cancelled for the safety of the students and the officers. 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.

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. 

Criminal Investigations Division: The CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS DIVISION (CID) investigates complex crimes and crime trends. Under the command of Captain Joseph Pratta, the division operates four sections — Persons Crimes, Property Crimes, Homeland Security, and Narcotics Enforcement.

The Persons Crimes Section, commanded by Lieutenant Andrew Schwab, 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 twenty homicides in 2020, in twenty separate cases. By year’s end, fifteen of the cases were closed; thirteen arrests were made.

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. Of the total cases assigned to SVU, at the year’s end:

  • 63 were closed;
  • 95 were closed with arrests;
  • 8 were closed exceptional;
  • 13 were closed unfounded;
  • 48 were open/suspended;
  • 8 cases open warrant service;
  • 114 intakes were accepted;
  • 561 intakes were screened out for various reasons.
  • 96 cyber tips were received from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

The Robbery Unit investigates citizen and commercial armed robberies. In 2020, the unit was assigned 40 cases. Of those cases, at the end of the year:

  • 18 were closed with arrest;
  • 11 were open suspended;
  • 11 were still active;
  • 0 open warrant service.

The Robbery Unit also handled 6 miscellaneous investigations to include sex assault, missing person and first degree assault.

The Forensic Science Section (FSS), commanded by Deputy Director Noelle Gehrman, is comprised of a Quality Assurance Manager, Forensic Science Technicians, and Latent Print Specialists who provide critical support to patrol officers and detectives by processing crime scenes and analyzing evidence. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, the staff at FSS adjusted to working modified schedules and periods of teleworking. This allowed them to continue to meet workload demands while remaining safe and effective.

In 2020, the FSS was assigned more than 491 cases. Technicians processed more than 103 scenes, including crime scenes, vehicles, and autopsies. This is an increase of 106% compared to the previous year. They investigated approximately 347 cases involving DNA—totaling approximately 2,128 DNA items, and at least 105 cases involving firearms—totaling 259 firearms. There were 230 latent fingerprint cases resulting in 100 identifications made.  

In September 2019, the FSS began utilizing the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) – a program managed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). The NIBIN program automates ballistics evaluations and provides actionable investigative leads in a timely manner by allowing forensic examiners to compare ballistic evidence to crimes throughout the region. In 2020, the FSS had 166 cases with NIBIN entries resulting in 257 correlation requests, 45 leads, and 13 leads warranting microscopic comparison.  This is a 168% increase in cases with NIBIN entries, 134% increase in correlation requests, and a 400% increase in NIBIN leads.

The Property Crimes Section, commanded by Lieutenant Anthony Celia, investigates property and financial crimes; analyzes crime trends; and provides services to crime victims.

In 2020, the Property Crimes Unit investigated 65 cases, closed 23 and made 30 arrests. There were 244 burglaries in 2020; 46 were commercial and 198 were residential.

The Financial Crimes Unit investigates fraud schemes, identity theft, and embezzlement. In 2020, detectives investigated 78 cases. Of these investigations, 43 cases were closed and 17 arrests were made by the end of year.

Detectives assigned to the Auto Theft Detail were assigned 40 cases and made 10 arrests in 2020. A total of 187 vehicles were stolen in Charles County, and 149 were recovered. There were an additional 60 vehicles recovered which were stolen from outside Charles County. 

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 Lieutenant Ashley Burroughs, 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 Crime Analysis Unit collects, analyzes, and disseminates crime data for the CCSO’s CompStat program. CompStat is an analysis-driven method of proactively addressing crime problems. District Commanders use the crime analysis data as part of weekly CompStat meetings to address crime in their districts.  

The Narcotics Enforcement Section (NES), commanded by Lieutenant 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 2020, NES investigations led to executing 50 search warrants and the seizure of:

  • Narcotics: 
    • Alprazolam (DU) Xanax: 21 dosage units
    • Buprenorphine (DU): 94 dosage units
    • Cocaine (g): 87.65 grams
    • Crack (g): 129.15 grams
    • Ecstasy (DU) MDMA: 22 dosage units
    • Heroin (g): 94.9 grams
    • Marijuana: 107 pounds
    • Marijuana plants: 35 plants
    • Methamphetamine (g): 392 grams
    • Oxycodone (DU): 5415 dosage units
    • Psilocybin (g): 77 grams
    • Tramadol (DU): 712 dosage units
    • Fentanyl (g): 6 grams
  • Firearms: 60
  • Currency: $296,913.86
  • Vehicle: 1 vehicle worth $20,000

The CCSO employs a full-time Heroin Coordinator as part of the Opioid Addiction Program. In 2020, there were 163 overdose incidents in Charles County. Narcan was administered 95 times, and there were 27 overdose deaths. The average age of the involved parties was 39.

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 square feet with 203 cells. In 2020, Corrections processed 4,497 arrests through intake and booked 1,120 incarcerated individuals into the facility. The CCDC maintained an average daily population of 160 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. Ryan Taylor, Lt. Brian Gardiner, 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, 2016, and 2019.

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. James Kelly 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. Tony Oliver 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.

Support Services Division: The employees of the SUPPORT SERVICES DIVISION, commanded by Captain Chris Bean, 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 Records Management Section, managed by Deputy Director Judy Torney, preserves and maintains thousands of reports filed through the CCSO each year. In 2020, the employees in this section:

  • Processed and catalogued 18,929 police reports and supplemental reports which includes incidents, accidents, missing person, alcohol influences reports;
  • Scanned and filed 3,893 arrest cards with charging documents;
  • Completed 1,375 expungements;
  • Processed 11,523 citations including ETIX, parking citations, warnings, traffic stop data sheets, and safety equipment repair orders;
  • Recorded 967 false alarm notifications;
  • Validated 1,987 METERS entries;
  • Handled all initial questions from 3,316 visitors to the Sheriff’s Headquarters;
  • Answered 5,910 telephone inquiries;
  • Processed 10,528 pieces of postal mail;
  • Processed 965 In-car camera video requests, 1,960 State’s Attorney’s discovery requests and 4,249 other report requests. 

The Communications Section, commanded by Lt. Charles Gass, 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.

Information Technology Division: The INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY DIVISION (ITD), led by Director David Hanna, is vital in ensuring the CCSO functions efficiently in our digital world. ITD develops and implements a strategic plan to maintain and evolve systems, infrastructure, physical and virtual servers, enterprise applications, security, cloud, mobile initiatives, training and future growth to support the objectives and success of the Charles County Sheriff’s Office. The highly knowledgeable staff assigned to the Applications Support, PC Operations, and Systems Operations Support Sections maintains hundreds of PCs, printers, networks, complex servers, and software applications. Every function of the CCSO relies on the daily use of computers and digital police databases, and the ITD personnel are always available to ensure law enforcement services are uninterrupted.

Special Services Division: The SPECIAL SERVICES DIVISION, commanded by Captain Charles Baker, 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 Lieutenant William Donley, serves arrest warrants, civil papers, and other legal documents; addresses child support and domestic violence problems; and provides Courthouse security services. In 2020, the Judicial Services Section served 1,580 criminal summonses, 1,329 warrants, 1,947 evictions, 2,815 protective orders and 953 peace orders.

The Property Management Section, commanded by Lieutenant 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, manages Planning and Accreditation, Media Relations, the Chaplain program and acts as the liaison to the Sheriff.  

Planning and Accreditation, managed by Deputy Director Laurie Coyle, 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 Agency continues to maintain the highest standards and earned a Gold Standard of Excellence during the 2020 CALEA audit. 

The Agency’s Grant Coordinator researches, applies for and maintains grants the agency uses to fund vital projects necessary to complete our mission. In 2020, the agency was awarded $1,918,835 in grants.  

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 2020, the CCSO had more than 80,000 followers combined on 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 maintain thorough and accurate record keeping. The ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES DIVISION, commanded by Captain Kevin Leahy, is responsible for helping the CCSO meet its strict personnel, budgetary, and records management standards. 

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 FY2020 approved budget (which runs from 7/1/19 through 6/30/20) was $94,754,000.  This included the sworn officers entering into a three (3) year agreement concerning pay parity as it relates to the Maryland State Police pay scale. Through mutual cooperation and good faith negotiations, sworn officers received a five percent cost of living increase effective July 1, 2019; another one (1) percent cost of living became effective January 1, 2020 because the State revenues exceeded projections by $75 million.  A one (1) percent cost of living was also received by the civilian and part-time personnel effective January 1, 2020.  The authorized strength of the Sheriff’s Office was increased by two (2) new sworn officer (SRO – School Resource Officer) positions and a full year of salaries for the four (4) new correctional officers hired on January 1, 2019.  Additional support staff for the Sheriff were authorized as follows:

·         Two (2) Lab Technician positions for the Forensic Science Section;
·         One (1) Court Security position;
·         One (1) Vehicle Technology position;
·         One (1) PC Support Specialist position;
·         Upgrades for positions per the position’s desk audit policy;
·         Upgrade one (1) Fleet Maintenance Supervisor from part-time to full-time reduced hours. 

The FY 2020 budget included $3,457,300 for Sheriff’s Office vehicles and equipment. 

The Red Light and Speed Camera Section included reclassification of full time positions per the desk audit policy and an increase in the part-time salaries due to minimum wage increase.

The Fingerprinting Section included reclassification of full-time positions per the desk audit policy and an increase in the part time salaries due to minimum wage increase. 

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 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.

The year 2020 presented many challenges to the Human Resources Section and Pre-Employment Unit, which the employees met head-on. They were able to establish proper safety procedures to allow for testing and interviewing of external and internal applicants. Human Resources employees worked tirelessly to ensure proper time keeping and tracking of hazard pay due to COVID-19. Many processes, such as the promotional process and new employee orientation, were revised in order to comply with Governor’s Orders. Procedures were established in order to track and trace COVID exposures involving employees. 

Training Division: The TRAINING DIVISION ensures the CCSO meets state-mandated requirements and provides a variety of other training needs. Commanded by Captain Bobby Kiesel, 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 and Corrections Training Commission (MPCTC) 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 Chief Firearms Instructor and his staff provide 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 qualification courses officers must complete  annually for the handgun and twice annually for the 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.

People ages 18-21 who want to pursue a career as a CCSO police officer gain invaluable on-the-job experience in the Cadet Program. 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

Fallen Hero - Deputy Sheriff Lawrence 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

Patrolman First Class Dennis L. Riley

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

Sergeant Francis 'Leo' Yates

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

Sergeant Joseph E. Stine, Jr.

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

Sergeant Timothy C. Minor

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

Station Clerk Willard C. Keesee

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.

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