Charles County Sheriff’s Office Honors Retirees and Award Recipients
Annual Banquet Honors Completion of Service, Excellent Field Work and Bravery
Charles County Sheriff Troy D. Berry honored 17 retirees and 74 award recipients at a banquet held on November 6, 2015, at the Waldorf Jaycees Community Center. Honorees were recognized for completion of service to the Agency, excellent field work, or acts of bravery.
Mr. William Saunders, a retired police captain, served as the Master of Ceremonies. The Charles County Sheriff’s Office Color Guard presented Colors; Jennifer Cooper of GoDiva Productions, sang the National Anthem; Dr. Steven Davis, a CCSO Chaplain, delivered the invocation and the benediction.
The following individuals received Certificates of Appreciation:
- Karlee Adams: During the summer of 2014 and from January through May of 2015, Ms. Adams voluntarily assisted the Media Relations Office while they were short-staffed. She took over writing the daily incident reports and assisted with media calls, completing her assignments in a friendly and professional manner. Ms. Adams is a true professional and went above and beyond to help her fellow co-workers.
- Ryan DeGruy: Mr. DeGruy was an instrumental part of the planning of the photography for the funeral of Corporal Jamel Clagett. He was at the funeral the entire day photographing the ceremony, and afterward he put together a beautiful collection of his photos. Mr. DeGruy’s work captured the emotion of that day and honored Cpl. Clagett and his family.
- Anthony Dieguez and Matthew Fisher: Anthony Dieguez and Matthew Fisher, from the Prince George’s Police Department, assisted with preplanning the funeral for Corporal Clagett and coordinated a plan with members of the CCSO to help facilitate all of the video coverage. After the funeral, they took all of their footage to the Prince George’s Police Department TV studio and made a beautiful video detailing the ceremonial funeral.
- Kim Hicks-Dye, Tyler Lambert, Brent Huber and Bob Curran: Using their expertise as members of Charles County Government TV, Ms. Hicks-Dye, Mr. Lambert, Mr. Huber, and Mr. Curran recorded the swearing-in of Sheriff Berry in December and, after completion, produced an outstanding video, commemorating the historic event. In addition, throughout the year, they have helped the CCSO with numerous public service announcements and other projects. They are commended for their assistance and cooperation with the Sheriff’s Office.
- Christopher and Thomas Yarbrough: In the early morning hours of May 25, 2015, there was a reported house fire on Greenwood Drive in Waldorf across the street from the home of Christopher and Thomas Yarbrough. Upon arrival, Pfc. Vernon Warker found the right rear of the house to be on fire and engulfed in flames. Witnesses on the scene confirmed that there was a person trapped inside the house. Pfc. Warker and the Yarbrough brothers, who had run across the street to help, forced open the locked front door. Pfc. Warker then entered the residence and located the victim unconscious and hunched over on the floor. As he pulled the victim from the residence, the victim’s legs became caught in the doorway, and Thomas Yarbrough reached in and freed them. Once the victim was out of the residence, Christopher Yarbrough helped carry the victim away from the home to safety. The victim regained consciousness but suffered from smoke inhalation and burns. He was flown to Washington Hospital Center with severe injuries, but made a full recovery. The actions of Christopher and Thomas Yarbrough assisted in saving the life of the victim.
- Ms. Naomi Stamper: Ms. Stamper took on the monumental task of organizing and compiling the necessary paperwork for the swearing-in of police and correctional personnel prompted by the change in administration of the Charles County Sheriff’s Office. This task, which involved some 450 individuals, had to be coordinated logistically as those being sworn in do not necessarily work typical “business” hours. Documentation for specific individuals had to be available at specific times, which Ms. Stamper accomplished seamlessly. Ms. Stamper is commended for the manner in which she made this daunting task appear effortless.
The following individuals received Certificates of Commendation:
- Correctional Officer I Tiffany Mason: On November 20, 2014, Officer Mason observed that an inmate did not look well. When she questioned him about his health he declined medical attention, but, following her instincts, Officer Mason called upon the medical staff to check on him. The inmate had an extremely high fever and was sent to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with acute appendicitis and required an emergency appendectomy. Officer Mason is to be commended for her initiative and excellent judgement to get the inmate proper and timely medical treatment.
- Andrew Schwab: On May 20, 2015, Sgt. Schwab responded to the Rock & Roll McDonalds for a report of a shooting with multiple victims. Upon arrival, Sgt. Schwab immediately began to assist with lifesaving efforts on one of the victims. The victim was able to provide the name and a possible address for the shooter. After EMS took over caring for the victims, Sgt. Schwab immediately began to direct resources in order to establish a perimeter. He activated the Emergency Services Team and acted as their team leader. Sgt. Schwab demonstrated a high level of expertise, initiative, resourcefulness and dedication in bringing this incident to a successful conclusion. Sgt. Schwab’s actions and leadership bring great credit upon himself, his Squad, and the Agency.
The following individuals received Sheriff’s Awards:
- Donald Stahl: In August 2012, Sgt. Stahl collaborated with the Command Staff to implement a physical fitness program for the Sheriff’s Office. He submitted initial policy drafts for implementation of the program and was appointed as the fitness coordinator for the Agency. With Sgt. Stahl’s assistance, the Agency developed a fitness center which became fully operational in February 2014. The success of the agency fitness program is directly related to the initiative, drive and dedication of Sgt. Stahl.
- Jason Stoddard; Sgt. Louis Christian Schmidt III; Sgt. Joshua Richards; Cpl. John Arcadipane; COII Derek Arends; Pfc. Richard Bagley; Cpl. Daniel Baker; Pfc. Ian Bier; Cpl. Steven Bryant; Cfc. Phillip Conrad; Pfc. Stephen Duley; Pfc. Duvauchelle Elliot; Cpl. Christina Gilroy; Cfc. Ronald Goldsmith; Cfc. Amber Hancock; Cfc. Dustin Hendricks; Cfc. Justin Lloyd; Pfc. Kevin Makle; Cpl. Juan Morales; Cfc. Phillip Norris; Pfc. Lewis Payne; Cfc. Rick Perry; Pfc. Paul Sady; Sgt. Matthew Thompson; Pfc. Matthew Van Horn; Cpl. Travis Yates
In November 2014, Sheriff Berry became the newly elected Sheriff, marking a change in command and making history as the first African American to hold this position in the Agency’s 356 years. Sgt. Schmidt and the CCSO Honor Guard were assigned the task of coordinating and executing the public swearing-in ceremony, which was expected to be large. They worked to develop the ceremony and ensure everything went smoothly with the over 450 police and corrections officers, the media presence, honored guests and families, as well as hundreds of people from the community who attended the event. Their work for this historic day brought great credit upon themselves and the Agency.
On December 21, 2014, the Agency mourned the death of Cpl. Jamel Clagett who died in a car crash that morning. Sgt. Schmidt ensured the Honor Guard was prepared for the funeral and secured assistance from other agencies for the bagpipes, bugle and a 21-gun salute. As a result of the efforts of Sgt. Schmidt and others, Cpl. Clagett and his family were honored at the funeral. Lt. Stoddard took command of other necessities when planning an officer’s funeral. Utilizing several other law enforcement agencies and the County Fire Services and Department of Emergency Services, Lt. Stoddard coordinated the parking and transporting of hundreds of officers attending the service, the security at the church during the services, the route taken by the funeral procession, the honors provided during the burial service and many other details to ensure an honorable and safe service. Lt. Stoddard, Sgt. Schmidt and every member of the Honor Guard performed at the highest level of excellence, executing a beautiful ceremony and a touching tribute that honored Cpl. Clagett, his family and the Agency.
- Lehi Sanchez: Sanchez is assigned to the MIS Section of the Agency; however, he has talents as a professional photographer. Mr. Sanchez was contacted by the Media Relations Office for assistance taking photographs at Cpl. Clagett’s funeral, and he was more than happy to help. He assisted in pre-planning the photography with three other photographers and videographers. Afterward, he edited the photos and arranged them on the Agency Intranet and public website. Mr. Sanchez also took portraits of the new administration and the new Command Staff and, most recently, he took photographs of Senator Ben Cardin and local law enforcement leaders when they visited the county. Mr. Sanchez is a true professional, and his work is an outstanding reflection upon the Agency.
The following individuals received Lifesaving Awards:
- Chris Strafella and Pfc. Colby Shaw: On January 21, 2015, Sgt. Strafella and Pfc. Shaw were dispatched to Circle Avenue in Indian Head for a suicidal subject. The subject fled the scene prior to their arrival. Pfc. Shaw began a track with his K-9 and was accompanied by Sgt. Strafella. They tracked the subject to an area in Potomac Heights, where they found him lying on the ground, unresponsive and barely breathing. The subject had an electrical cord tightly wrapped around his neck. After the officers cut the cord with wire cutters, the subject became responsive and was able to breathe normally. The actions of Sgt. Strafella and Pfc. Shaw directly led to saving the subject’s life.
- Joseph Piazza and Cpl. Robert Gottschall: On February 23, 2015, Cpl. Piazza and Cpl. Gottschall responded to Azalea Place for an assault in progress with a subject armed with a long gun. The subject exited the residence pointing a shotgun at officers and was subsequently shot by a perimeter officer when he failed to follow commands to drop the weapon. Cpl. Piazza quickly secured the shotgun and rendered medical aid to the suspect by applying direct pressure to the gunshot wound. Cpl. Gottschall retrieved a tourniquet and applied it to the suspect’s upper leg, which had two gunshot wounds. The actions performed by Cpl. Piazza and Cpl. Gottschall were directly responsible for the preservation of life until advanced medical care became available.
- Josiah Neuberger, Cpl. John Arcadipane, Cfc. Jonathan Martin and LPN Britney Bowen: On July 13, 2015, at approximately 3 a.m., while conducting security rounds, Cfc. Neuberger discovered an inmate attempting suicide by hanging. Cfc. Neuberger called for assistance and entered the inmate’s cell. He was able to lift the inmate up, release the tension and untie the sheet from around the inmate’s neck. Showing no signs of life, Cfc. Neuberger began giving chest compressions. Cfc. Martin arrived and began rescue breathing. Both Cfc. Neuberger and Cfc. Martin worked in tandem through several cycles of CPR. LPN Bowen arrived on the scene and relieved Cfc. Neuberger. Corporal Arcadipane arrived and set up an oxygen tank with bag mask to aid Cfc. Martin. All four of these individuals worked together to provide lifesaving efforts to the inmate until advanced life support arrived. The inmate finally regained a pulse and readable blood pressure. The officers and medical staff fought tirelessly to restore and preserve life.
- Darin Behm: On July 31, 2015, at approximately 11:22 a.m., Pfc. Behm responded to a call for a 10-day-old baby not breathing. Upon his arrival, the infant was purple in color and showed no signs of life. Pfc. Behm asked the mother for a nasal aspirator, but since she did not have one, he instinctively used his mouth to cover the infant’s nose and mouth and inhaled to create a suction effect. The infant aspirated a large chunk of baby formula and mucus which had lodged in the infant’s throat. Once Pfc. Behm cleared her airway, the baby began to breathe on her own. As they waited for EMS to arrive, he continued to rub the infant’s back and chest to keep her stimulated. The infant was transported to Children’s Hospital for precautionary measures, kept overnight for observation, and later released in excellent condition. Pfc. Behm’s quick thinking, instincts, and the use of his training saved the life of the infant.
- Patrick Tona, Pfc. Darryl Butler, Pfc. Kevin Makle and POI Samuel Hooper: On May 20, 2015, Cpl. Tona, Pfc. Butler, Pfc. Makle and Officer Hooper responded to a shooting in the parking lot of the Rock and Roll McDonalds. Upon arrival, they discovered two victims in the parking lot, each suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. Officers immediately deployed their Tactical Emergency Casualty Care kits, utilizing the training they had recently received and working feverishly to save both victims’ lives. Officers cared for both victims for over six minutes until EMS arrived. Ultimately, one victim passed away; however, these officers’ actions can be directly attributed to saving the life of the second victim. Each of these officers’ actions bring credit upon themselves, their squad, the Patrol Division, and the Sheriff’s Office.
- Devin Arends and Pfc. Ronald Walls: On September 6, 2015, Pfc. Arends and Pfc. Walls were dispatched for a subject not breathing. Information was also received that the subject was suffering from a bleeding injury to the back of his head from falling. Pfc. Arends arrived to find the subject’s wife performing CPR. Pfc. Arends took over CPR, and Pfc. Walls arrived and began assisting until the arrival of EMS. EMS arrived and took over patient care and transported the subject to the hospital. The patient began breathing on his own again. The immediate actions of Pfc. Arends and Pfc. Walls saved the subject’s life.
- Kimberly Selkirk, POII Christopher Gustafson and Cpl. Jared Cooney: On August 11, 2015, 911 received a call for a subject not breathing at Shoppers Food Warehouse. Cpl. Selkirk was in the parking lot of the store when the call came out and immediately ran into the store and located the victim on the bathroom floor. While checking for a pulse on the victim, Cpl. Selkirk inquired about any drug usage from the victim’s companions. Officer Gustafson arrived and began assisting Cpl. Selkirk with lifesaving efforts by administering chest compressions. Cpl. Cooney arrived and was informed by Cpl. Selkirk of the need for NARCAN. Cpl. Selkirk and Officer Gustafson continued with life-saving efforts. Cpl. Cooney returned and administered the NARCAN. EMS arrived, detected a pulse and transported the victim to the Hospital. Without the team efforts of Cpl.’s Selkirk, Cooney and Officer Gustafson, the victim would have most likely died.
The following individuals received Meritorious Service Awards:
- POII Corey Caywood: On February 4, 2015, Officer Caywood responded to Brightwell Court for a suicidal subject. He arrived on the scene and made contact with the complainant, a friend of the suicidal subject. Officer Caywood was able to get the subject, who was inside the residence, on the phone and found him to be distraught, crying, and saying he had a belt around his neck. Officer Caywood immediately kicked open the door to the residence and located the subject in an upstairs room closet with a belt wrapped around his neck. The belt was affixed to the rafters in the roof through an access panel in the ceiling. Officer Caywood quickly freed the subject from his make-shift noose. Officer Caywood showed remarkable poise and impeccable decision-making in a stressful and fast-evolving situation, and in doing so, saved the subject’s life.
- Pfc. Ryan Johnson: On April 12, 2015, Pfc. Johnson was working secondary employment at the Hampton Inn in Waldorf when he observed a subject walking down a back stairwell with a black hooded jacket under his arm, which appeared to be covering a long gun. Through his training and experience, Pfc. Johnson knew that clothing is often used to cover long guns. Pfc. Johnson made contact with the subject, felt the object and immediately knew it was a firearm. Pfc. Johnson placed the subject under arrest without incident. Pfc. Johnson then conducted a follow-up investigation and wrote a search warrant for the subject’s vehicle. Upon execution of the search warrant, two additional firearms and several rounds of ammunition were recovered. Pfc. Johnson went above and beyond to make sure a dangerous criminal was taken off the streets.
- Sgt. Haven Smith, Pfc. Ronald Gass and Pfc. Vernon Warker: On April 2, 2015, at approximately 10:35 pm, Sgt. Smith, Pfc. Gass and Pfc. Warker were conducting proactive patrol assignments in the area of Business Park Drive in Waldorf. While investigating a suspicious vehicle in the area of the Asiana Restaurant, they were approached by employees who informed them of a robbery in progress at the restaurant. Sgt. Smith and Pfc. Warker entered the rear of the restaurant, and Pfc. Gass went to the front. Officers saw a suspect wearing a mask and holding two employees at gunpoint. The employees were face down on the floor, and the suspect was standing above them. One suspect was ordered to drop the gun and lay on the floor. The suspect complied and was placed in handcuffs. The second suspect ran out of the front door with a gun in one hand and a bag containing cash in the other. The suspect dropped the gun and the cash and fled the area on foot. The second suspect was later identified and arrested. Both suspects are believed to be involved in several other robberies in the Waldorf area. The actions of all three officers are to be commended. They worked as a team, taking quick, decisive measures to bring the robbery safely to an end with no injury to civilians, themselves or the criminals. As a result of their actions, a crime spree was brought to a conclusion, and the lives of the victims were possibly saved.
- Sgt. Ryan Taylor, Cfc. Antonio Evans, Cfc. William Isenberg, Cfc. Richard Dean, Cpl. Kevin Conley, Cfc. Robert Donnelly, Cfc. Aaron Dull and COI Daniel Oursler: On August 14, 2015, officers were confronted with 21 inmates in Maximum Security at the Detention Center refusing to lock-in for the night. As these officers were donning protective equipment, the inmates in the section had moved to the top tier of the unit and were actively wrapping their faces with towels and underclothing in an attempt to reduce the effects of chemical agents. The inmates were using the trash can and shower as a shield and poured some type of liquid on the steps to make them slippery for responding officers. Chemical agents were introduced into the section, and ten of the inmates barricaded themselves into a cell, using a mattress and shower curtain. More chemical agents were introduced into the cell. The barricade was removed, and all inmates were extracted and decontaminated. There were no injuries to any officers or inmates.
The following individual received a Memorial Medal:
Cpl. Jamel Clagett: Jamel Clagett was hired by the Charles County Sheriff’s Office on October 20, 2003, as a part-time Sheriff’s cadet. As a cadet, Jamel participated in many operations including DUI checkpoints, Skills Week at the Southern Maryland Criminal Justice Academy, and traffic direction at the Charles County Fair, just to name a few. On September 30, 2005, Jamel’s dream of becoming a police officer came true when he received confirmation that he was hired as a student police officer. After graduating from the academy, Jamel was assigned to the Patrol Division, where he volunteered for the permanent midnight shift.
Jamel worked hard his entire career, and his work did not go unnoticed. In 2011, Jamel received special recognition from the Maryland State Highway Traffic Division for his efforts in preventing drunk driving. In 2010, Jamel received a Meritorious Service Award from the Charles County Sheriff’s Office after subduing a man who was armed with a knife and attempting to injure his family. Jamel also received a Governor’s Award in 2004 for his efforts in crime prevention and home security.
Jamel was a great police officer who cared deeply about his community. He was known for his kindness and his jokes. He would do anything for anybody, without asking any questions.
He also valued his fellow workers. Jamel spent some of his last midnight tours with employees assigned to the Communications Section. He often visited the staff at the Emergency Services building and the District Stations just to check on the dispatchers and call-takers. Jamel always made sure they were taken care of before completing his shift. In fact, on December 21, 2014, just prior to ending his midnight shift, Jamel purchased breakfast at a local restaurant and dropped it off to the Communications staff before he headed home. It was his final act of kindness for a group of people he loved before making his way home on what would be his final tour of duty.
The following individual received a Bronze Medal of Valor:
POI Samuel Hooper: On February 23, 2015, officers responded to an assault in progress on Azalea Place in Waldorf during which a man choked his girlfriend to near death. She was able to escape from the house and call police. The woman had obvious injuries and told officers her boyfriend was armed with a gun. Officer Hooper was ending his shift and responded to the scene after hearing additional details over the radio. Officer Hooper arrived and took cover behind the engine compartment of a vehicle, with a view of the front of the residence. The suspect exited the residence armed with a shotgun and aimed it in the direction of officers. After refusing to drop the weapon, Officer Hooper discharged his firearm, striking the suspect. This allowed other officers to approach and secure the gun. Officers then provided first aid to the suspect. Officer Hooper’s quick thinking and tactical approach helped prevent multiple officers from being seriously injured or killed by the armed man.
The following individual received a Silver Medal of Valor:
Pfc. Vernon Warker: On May 25, 2015, Pfc. Warker responded to Greenwood Drive in Waldorf for the reported house fire. Upon his arrival, he found the right rear of the house to be on fire and engulfed in flames. He also learned that there was a person trapped inside the house. Pfc. Warker went to the front door and found it to be locked. Without any protective gear or tools, Pfc. Warker forced open the storm door and kicked open the front door, where he was met with an abundance of heavy smoke and flames. Putting his own life in danger, Pfc. Warker entered the residence approximately 10 feet, where he noticed a pair of white socks and located the victim unconscious and hunched over on the floor. Pfc. Warker grabbed the victim and pulled him out of the residence. The victim regained consciousness but suffered from smoke inhalation and burns. The victim was flown to Washington Hospital Center with severe injuries.
If it were not for the quick, heroic actions of Pfc. Warker, the victim would not have survived the fire.
The following retirees were also honored (listed with dates of service):
- Lt. Ralph Acquaviva (January 2, 1990 – November 4, 2014)
- Lt. Edward Godwin (May 21, 1981 – November 30, 2014)
- Director Pamela Dottellis (February 8, 1982 – December 31, 2014)
- Sgt. Robert Cranford (July 29, 1983 – January 31, 2015)
- Lt. Col. Robert Cleaveland (August 5, 1985 – February 1, 2015)
- Patricia Sanders (February 14, 1995 – February 21, 2015)
- Cpl. Lee Potter (December 19, 1994 – February 21, 2015)
- Lt. Peter Wearmouth (August 15, 1983 – March 6, 2015)
- Cfc. Sean Davis (November 27, 2006 – March 31, 2015)
- Lt. Randolph Thompson (January 25, 1994 – May 22, 2015)
- Cpl. Aaron St. Germain (October 8, 2004 – July 1, 2015)
- Capt. Michael Klotz (February 15, 1988 – July 11, 2015)
- Quartermaster Cathy Rickett (July 26, 1993 – July 31, 2015)
- M/Sgt. Carl Rye (February 17, 1986 – September 1, 2015)
- M/Sgt. P. Scott Willis (August 15, 1988 – September 18, 2015)
- M/Sgt. Jeffrey Bryant (February 1, 1982 – September 30, 2015)
- Lt. Cecilia “Bonnie” Johnston (January 14, 1985 – October 31, 2015)
“It was an absolute pleasure to recognize all of our award winners and retirees,” said Sheriff Berry. “Their dedication and service has been instrumental to the success of the CCSO and safety of our county.”
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. 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, texting CHARLES + the tip to CRIMES (274637) or submitting tips online at tipsubmit.com. All individuals who provide tips through Crime Solvers will remain anonymous. Learn more at the CCSO’s website.
The Charles County Sheriff’s Office is a full-service law enforcement agency comprised of more than 600 police, corrections and civilian personnel responsible for protecting more than 150,000 residents. The CCSO was accredited by the Commission on the Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) in 2001 and has been designated as a CALEA Gold Standard of Excellence agency since 2011. Established in 1658, the CCSO is one of the oldest law enforcement agencies in the United States. For more information, visit www.ccso.us.