Charles County Sheriff Rex W. Coffey is pleased to announce the Charles County Sheriff’s Office was recognized for outstanding service in crime prevention at the 34th Annual Governor’s Crime Prevention Awards ceremony held earlier this month. The ceremony recognized law enforcement agencies, police officers, corrections, and citizens who made significant contributions in crime prevention in 2013. Cpl. William “Bill” Welch – a CCSO school resource officer – and Waldorf resident William Wamsley were also recognized during the ceremony for their work in crime prevention.
Sheriff Coffey accepted the law enforcement agency award which recognized the Charles County Sheriff’s Office for making crime prevention an integral part of the agency’s operations. To achieve this award, the CCSO had to demonstrate a commitment in six areas of crime prevention: personal security; sexual assault; elderly abuse; youth crime; drug abuse; and residential security. The agency supported the award by highlighting numerous outreach programs such as the Explorers program, Criminal Justice program, Cadet program, Crime Solvers, Teen Court and various programs sponsored by the detention center.Corporal Welch, a 15-year veteran of the CCSO, was nominated by the sheriff’s office for his work in youth programs. Over the past seven years, Cpl. Welch has been assigned to the school resource unit where he has been instrumental in organizing and implementing several youth sports camps designed to build strong relationships between juveniles and police officers. Because of their success, the camps have continued yearly. “Playing sports builds teamwork and more importantly, builds relationships,” said Welch who has consistently been at the helm of three highly successful camps:
- In 2010, Cpl. Welch helped start the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation’s Badges for Baseball program which pairs children between the ages of 10 to 14 with the agency’s school resource officers for a week of baseball and mentoring. “Although learning baseball is fun, the important lessons learned were teamwork, good communication skills, respect and leadership,” said Welch. The program has since become one of the most popular summer camps in Charles County serving nearly 400 children.
- In 2012, Cpl. Welch started the CCSO COPS Youth Football camp aimed at preventing youths from joining gangs. Cpl. Welch focused on students in the fifth and sixth grade and incorporated information from the Gang Resistance Education And Training (GREAT) program. He secured most of the funding for the camp from the Greater Waldorf Jaycees Foundation and obtained permission to use the football field at North Point High School. Cpl. Welch reached out to former Washington Redskins offensive lineman, Rod Milstead, and asked him to help coach. During the camp, 60 participants received quality football instruction from area coaches, trained police officers and a professional football player. “We wanted to teach kids about good decision making, conflict resolution, and self-management,” Welch said. “These are necessary skills during adolescent years.”
- In Jan. 2014, Cpl. Welch volunteered to organize the 18th Annual CCSO Youth Three-on-Three Basketball Tournament for middle school children. Thirty-five teams (105 youth) participated in the all-day, double-elimination tournament which was supervised and refereed by officers assigned to the school resource unit. He has been a part of this camp since he started in the school resource unit.
“Cpl. Welch dedicated his time and many off-duty hours to ensure the success of all of these programs and it is people like him that make our outreach efforts a success,” Sheriff Coffey said.Waldorf resident, Bill Wamsley, was honored in the category for citizen’s who made a difference in crime prevention. When the leader of the Pinefield Citizens on Patrol had to suddenly retire due to a medical emergency, Wamsley stepped into the leadership role and ensured the program would continue. Since then, Wamsley has continued to increase the number of people patrolling the neighborhood, created a crime watch data base for his community, and he established a communications system with Cpl. Richards, the community policing officer assigned to the area. In addition, the group arranged a neighborhood parade and a community yard sale. “Neighbors are getting to know each other which is critical to the success of a safe community,” said Sheriff Coffey. Upon receiving the award, Wamsley said, “We are concerned citizens who help our neighbors and we want to live in a safe community. The most critical issue for all of us is to remain safe and to report suspicious activity.”
“These awards prove that sometimes all it takes is for one person to take that first step to organize programs. Whether it starts with the sheriff’s office or with a citizen, Charles County is a community who is connected by innovative programs and outstanding outreach efforts,” Sheriff Coffey said. “I am honored to have received these awards and to serve for an agency and for a county who truly cares about keeping our communities safe.”