News Release, Charles County Sheriff’s Office

Twenty-nine New Police Officers – Nine from Charles County – GraduateSouthern Maryland Criminal Justice AcademyPolice Entrance Level Training ProgramSession 46

Sheriff Troy Berry and members of the CCSO Command Staff with the nine Charles County Graduates of the SMCJA Session 46 Police Entrance Level Training Program

Charles County Sheriff Troy D. Berry is proud to announce nine 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 29 candidates – seven with Calvert County and thirteen with St. Mary’s County – who graduated on February 22. “It takes a great deal of perseverance and dedication to complete the Academy, and all of the graduates and their families should be very proud. We are thankful to our top-notch SMCJA staff who provided excellent training and instruction to the recruits to prepare them for the road ahead,” said Sheriff Berry.

Director of the SMCJA, F/Sgt. Keith Hicks, welcomed the graduates, their families and friends and spoke about the 26-week training program that started in August 2018 and included over 1,000 hours of instruction.

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 Charles County Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard presented the colors. St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office graduate Benjamin Luffey was the class speaker. Associate Professor 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. Chaplain Larry Palmer (Charles County Sheriff’s Office Chaplain) delivered the invocation and benediction.

During the ceremony, SMCJA instructors presented awards to graduates who excelled in several categories: Benjamin Luffey (St. Mary’s) won the Physical Fitness Award by scoring1,925points out of a possible 2000; Benjamin Luffey won the Firearms Award by earning an overall average of 98.8 percent; Joseph Bowling (St. Mary’s) won the Emergency Vehicle Operations Award; Andrew Burgess (St. Mary’s) won the Scholastic Award with a GPA of 98.51 percent; and Benjamin Luffey received the Steve Allen Award, named after one of the original founders of the SMCJA who died of cancer several years ago.

Class Coordinator, Cpl. Michael Licausi (St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office), Class Leader, Deputy Benjamin Luffey, and Guidon Bearer, Officer Richard Swann, Jr., retired the Class Guidon.


The Southern Maryland Criminal Justice Academy congratulates the following graduates:

Charles County Sheriff’s Office:

  • Marshall C. Furr
  • Tony A. Garner
  • Michael J. Hoffmaster
  • Adam T. Miedzinski
  • Casey A. Phillips
  • Michael C. Skodzinski
  • Colin M. Stine
  • Richard A. Swann, Jr.
  • Michael C. Wagner

St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office:

  • Latisha Q. Baker
  • Joseph A. Bowling, III
  • Andrew D. Burgess
  • Austin L. Edelen
  • James A. Fretwell
  • Michael G. Graves
  • Samuel K. Grierson, Jr.
  • Kyler D. Kilgore
  • Benjamin C. Luffey
  • Michael A. Rycyzyn
  • Max W. Schell
  • Travis M. Wimberly
  • Alexander J. Wynnyk

Calvert County Sheriff’s Office:

  • Howard B. Anderson, Jr.
  • Anthony L. Aranda
  • Jermaine P. Mason
  • Nicholas A. Savick
  • James R. Sturdivant
  • Herschel C. Wilder, III
  • Brady M. Wilson

Academy Staff:

  • Director: F/Sgt. Keith Hicks, Southern Maryland Criminal Justice Academy
  • Deputy Director: Captain Richard Gray, St. Mary’s County
  • Class Coordinator: Cpl. Michael Licausi, St. Mary’s County

Staff Instructors:

  • Chris Cusmano, Charles County
  • M/Cpl. Joseph Piazza, Charles County
  • DFC Andre Mitchell, Calvert County
  • Harry Ivers, Charles County
  • CO Rainer Hersch, St. Mary’s County
  • Joseph D’Agostino, Calvert County
  • Jennifer Wood, Charles County

Administrative Assistants:

  • Maureen Audley, Calvert County
  • Melinda Hatch, Calvert County

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...