Charles County Sheriff Troy D. Berry is proud to announce eight new officers will join the Charles County Sheriff’s Office after their graduation from the Southern Maryland Criminal Justice Academy (SMCJA) Police Entrance Level Training Program. The officers were among 15 candidates – three with Calvert County and four with St. Mary’s County – who graduated on October 20.

“Completing the Criminal Justice Academy requires many sacrifices from these officers as well as their families. We are very proud of their dedication and perseverance to complete this rigorous 7-month program,” said Sheriff Berry. “We are also very grateful for the SMCJA Staff, as well as guest instructors, for their tireless efforts in training and preparing these officers for their new careers.”

Class Coordinator Sgt. Clay Collins of the Charles County Sheriff’s Office began the ceremony by announcing the entry of the graduating class. SMCJA Director Bobby Jones, of Calvert County, welcomed the graduates and their families and spoke about the training program that started in March 2023 and included over 1,000 hours of instruction. Sheriff Berry gave opening remarks, imparting words of wisdom for the graduates’ new career and the difficulties and rewards each of them will encounter.

Ms. Danielle Baker performed the National Anthem, and members of all three counties’ Honor Guard teams presented the colors. Chaplain Steve Davis of the Charles County Sheriff’s Office offered the invocation and benediction. Mr. Wayne Silver of the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commissions provided remarks, and Ms. Pam Burkett-Jones of the College of Southern Maryland spoke about an articulation agreement between the Academy and the College that provides each graduate with fifteen college credits toward a criminal justice degree. Charles County Sheriff’s graduate Officer Michael McCloskey was the class speaker.

During the ceremony, SMCJA instructors presented awards to graduates who excelled in several categories:

  • Michael McCloskey (Charles) was awarded the Scholastic Award with a GPA of 97.89 percent;
  • Anna Klotz (Charles) was awarded the Physical Fitness Award with a score of 1309 out of a possible 1600;
  • Zachariah Barnhart (Charles) was awarded the Firearms Award with a score of 98.50 percent;
  • George Leonard (Charles) was awarded the Emergency Vehicle Operations Award; and
  • Zachariah Barnhart (Charles) was awarded the Steve Allen Award, named after one of the original founders of the SMCJA who died of cancer several years ago. The Steve Allen Award recipient demonstrates attributes of leadership, initiative, motivation and compassion throughout their attendance at the academy.

Sgt. Clay Collins along with Class Leader, Officer Zachariah Barnhart, and Guidon Bearer, Officer Charles Watley retired the Class Guidon. The Southern Maryland Criminal Justice Academy congratulates the following graduates:

Charles County Sheriff’s Office:

  • Zachariah Barnhart
  • Justin Crain
  • Anna Klotz
  • George Leonard, IV
  • Michael McCloskey
  • Lilibeth Rios
  • Brock Ruble
  • Charles Watley

Calvert County Sheriff’s Office:

  • Dara Baxter
  • Charles Brown
  • Justin MacWilliams

St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office:

  • Cody Donaldson
  • Bianca Melton
  • Shanna Peters
  • Zachary Wolfe

The CCSO was accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA) in 2001 and has since earned the highest rating of Excellence. Established in 1658, the CCSO is one of the oldest law enforcement agencies in the United States. For more information, visit

Charles County Crime Solvers offers rewards of up to $1,000 for information that leads to the arrest or indictment of a person responsible for a crime in Charles County. All individuals who provide tips through Crime Solvers will remain anonymous. Anyone with information about an unsolved crime or the location of a fugitive may contact Charles County Crime Solvers by calling 1-866-411-TIPS. Tips can also be submitted online at or by using the P3Intel mobile app, which can be found in the Android Store and Apple store by searching P3tips. For more information about the P3 program, click on this link:



Diane Richardson
Media Relations Office
301-609-6557 or 240-682-1658