Fourteen candidates graduate from Southern Maryland Criminal Justice Academy

Charles County Sheriff Troy D. Berry is proud to announce four new officers will join the Charles County Sheriff’s Office after their recent graduation from the Southern Maryland Criminal Justice Academy (SMCJA). The officers were among a total of 14 candidates – two with Calvert County, four with St. Mary’s County, two with the Cheverly Police Department, and one from the State Fire Marshal’s Office – who graduated training on March 3.  “We are proud of all of the graduates, and we thank them for answering the call to serve,” said Sheriff Berry. Addressing the graduates, Sheriff Berry reminded them of key points to remember throughout their careers. “You must be good ambassadors. Leadership, integrity, teamwork and excellence are the areas you will need to focus on to best serve your community and co-workers.” 

Director of the SMCJA, F/Sgt. Keith Hicks, welcomed the graduates, their families and friends and spoke about the 28-week training program that started in August 2016 and included over 1,000 hours of instruction.

Albert Liebno, Jr., Acting Executive Director of Police & Correctional Training Commissions, shared opening remarks. The Academy’s Board of Directors — Charles County Sheriff Troy D. Berry, St. Mary’s County Sheriff Timothy K. Cameron and Calvert County Sheriff Mike Evans — also spoke about the graduates’ new career and the difficulties and rewards each of them will encounter. 

Deputy Andre Mitchell and Mrs. Joy Mitchell of the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office performed the national anthem, and the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard presented the colors. St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office graduate, Philip Robinson, was the class speaker. Katrina Robertson 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. Bishop William Patton (Calvert County Sheriff’s Office Chaplain) delivered the invocation and benediction.

During the ceremony, SMCJA instructors presented awards to graduates who excelled in several categories: Devin Spencer (Charles) won the Physical Fitness Award by scoring 1,534 points out of a possible 1600; Deputy Daniel Sidorowicz (St. Mary’s) won the Firearms Award by earning an overall average of 100 percent; he also won the Emergency Vehicle Operations Award;  Bruce Sampson (Calvert) received the Steve Allen Award named after one of the original founders of the SMCJA who died of cancer several years ago; and Phillip Henry (St. Mary’s) won the Highest Scholastic Award with a GPA of 98.44 percent.
Class Coordinator, M/Cpl. Joseph Piazza (CCSO), Class Leader, Deputy Philip Robinson, and Guidon Bearer, Deputy Bruce Sampson (Calvert) retired the Class Guidon.

The Southern Maryland Criminal Justice Academy congratulates the following graduates:

Charles County Sheriff’s Office:
• Cody J. Garner
• David L. Garrison
• Robert J. Ondrish
• Devin M. Spencer

St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office:
• Courtney J. Edwards
• Phillip A. Henry
• Philip M. Robinson
• Daniel M. Sidorowicz

Calvert County Sheriff’s Office:
• Kamrhen P. Parks
• Bruce J. Sampson

State Fire Marshal’s Office:
• Peter J. Raia

Cheverly Police Department
• Nicholas A. Bilo
• Elizabeth C. Pyles

Academy Staff:
• Director: F/Sgt. Keith Hicks, Southern Maryland Criminal Justice Academy
• Deputy Director: Captain Richard Gray, St. Mary’s County
• Class Coordinator: M/Cpl. Joseph Piazza (Charles County)

Staff Instructors:
• Sgt. Harry Ivers, Charles County
• Cpl. Brianne Gray, Calvert County
• Cpl. John Hotchkiss, Calvert County
• CFC Benjamin Luffey, St. Mary’s County
• Cpl. Michael Licausi, St. Mary’s County
• Cpl. Joseph Piazza, Charles County
• Jennifer Wood, Charles County
• Michael Bomgardner, St. Mary’s County

Office Specialist:
• Kate McDonald, Calvert County 

Photos by: Summertime Photography

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