Charles County Sheriff Troy D. Berry, in partnership with Charles County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Maria Navarro, recently met with members of a newly formed Youth Advisory Council established as part of Sheriff Berry’s initiatives to continue to build relationships with communities while enhancing trust among its members. “I felt it was critical to form a Council of students who could talk openly with me or any of our school resource officers about any questions or concerns they have with safety, security, and policing,” said Sheriff Berry. “Since being elected Sheriff, one of my top priorities was to establish a strong connection with our youth and I have continued to keep that promise year after year, despite the pandemic. Whether we meet in person or via a virtual conference call, I want students to understand that they have a voice with us and we want to hear them,” said Sheriff Berry. Dr. Navarro fully supported the idea and joined in on the meeting as a way to hear directly from students. “The Council not only provides Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) students with opportunities for community engagement, but also the ability to take active roles in sharing feedback, concerns and questions from among their peer groups,” Navarro said.
The Council, comprised of members of the Charles County Public Schools’ Student Government Associations (SGA) and other interested youth, was coordinated by Lt. Ken Klezia, commander of the Sheriff’s Office School Resource Section, and Mr. Gary Winsett, a teacher at Thomas Stone High School and SGA supervisor. While the first meeting was held at Thomas Stone High School, the meetings will be rotated to all high schools in the county and the group will meet once a month. Participants do not need to belong to any organizations; however, they must have an interest in solving problems with sustainable resolutions. “We are dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of the people we serve. We are committed to enhancing our relationships with our communities and we look forward to having meaningful discussions with students,” said Sheriff Berry.