On February 24, The Southern Maryland Criminal Justice Academy, Corrections Entrance Level Training Program called the Student Officers Session 59 to order and expected the same level of passion and dedication as the officers that had come before them.
Twenty four student officers completed the 10-week challenge and walked across the stage at Chopticon High School in Morganza on May 4 to receive their award and will now begin the next chapter in their careers to protect and serve those in their respective jurisdictions.
Charles County was represented by 11 officers, including Zachariah Z. Barnhart, Katherine L. Burroughs, Robin A. Coleman, Dylan B. Heishman, Cortaz H. Hill, Maurice S. Johnson, William T. Leapley, Arunyarat Nookong, Ricardo M. Olivia, Haven E. Smith, III, and Tyler Superior.
Calvert County was represented with five officers, including Dereck R. Barnes, Christopher G. Carnero, Nicholas A. Savick, Class Speaker Jamie R. Sikorski and Jacory N. Tatum.
St. Mary’s County was represented by eight officers, including Kaitlyn R. Bobkoskie, Dallas M. Bonner, Joshua T. Crow, Bradley D. Harris, Brian J. Popielski, Helana M. Shokry, Sarah D. Spencer and Jordan T. Wagner.
The Southern Maryland Criminal Justice Academy Board of Directors are Sheriff Timothy K. Cameron, President, St. Mary’s County; Sheriff Mike Evans, member, Calvert County and Sheriff Troy Berry, member, Charles County.
Berry welcomed Session 59 to the Law Enforcement Family. Berry said that the officers have demonstrated four important qualities that will serve them well in their career. “Integrity, teamwork and excellence,” Berry said. “We are to be a positive example and not a negative one. In integrity, we in law enforcement are the gatekeepers of fostering trust and good will in our community.”
Staff instructor Jennifer Wood presented the physical fitness award to Maurice Johnson (Charles County). He scored a 751 out of a possible 800 points. Robin Coleman was recognized with the Scholastic Achievement Award for grade point average of 98.18. The Steve Allen Leadership Award was also given to Maurice Johnson.
Class Speaker Jamie Sikorski said she knew early on in high school that this was the best career choice for her as she studied criminal justice at Patuxent High School.
“I started my criminal justice degree in 2013 and applied for this job in the summer of 2017. I think as society changes, I think our training has to change some and adapt. Day to day, we all deal with the same troubles, they just tend to get worse.”
Sikorski said there was definitely a point in the training where the unit started bonding more as a team.
“A couple weeks in when we did a combat conditioning course, we all starting cheering each other on to get through. I’m definitely more confident now then I was at the beginning.”
Sikorski said she plans to stay in law enforcement until she retires.
Barnes, a graduate of Patuxent said he wants to make a difference in his community.
“Seeing things that are happening in law enforcement scares me sometimes, so I just wanted to make the biggest difference that I possibly can. By week five, during our PT drills, we became as one. They gave us excellent training. I was very thankful. It was a great experience; I wouldn’t change anything.”
Barnes said he recommends the academy to those thinking of joining, and he definitely plans to serve 25 years.
“We do need more officers protecting our communities.” he said.
Wagner, a graduate of Chopticon said he also was motivated to serve his country and his community and plans to serve out a full career in law enforcement.
“I hope I bring teamwork [to the field] and to ultimately make sure every officer goes home at the end of the night.” he said.
A Corrections Officer’s Prayer
Lord I ask for courage
Courage to face and conquer my own fears.
Courage to take me where others will not go.
I ask for strength of body to protect other
and strength of spirit to lead others.
I ask for dedication to my job, to do it well
Dedication to my community to keep it safe.
Give me Lord concern for others who trust me
and compassion for those who need me.
And please Lord, through it all be at my side.
Please enjoy the photo gallery below of the graudation.
Tammy Showalter / Calvert Beacon Reporter