“I’m born and raised in Calvert. Both my mom and dad are from Calvert county, homegrown. I love them. I guess being an only child is a gift and a curse, but I love it. We have an extremely tight relationship, and I pretty much talk to them every day, pretty much see them every day. My mom, I’m her baby boy and that will be till the day I leave this earth or she leaves.
My wife and I, actually dated in high school, and then we had a 20-year sabbatical. I think it was a mutual choice. And then we reconnected and have been together for close to 17 years now. It was definitely meant to happen because I don’t know that either one of us thought we would find each other again. And then we had our little boy who is now 12.
We have one together and I have two daughters from my first wife. My daughters, those are my heart. My little boy, every dad wants to have that little boy. I was so excited to have him and spend so much time with him. Your daughters are your heart. My first daughter gave me all the purpose because I didn’t want to be a disappointment to her. Then I had my second daughter, and she just has this beautiful smile, taught me how to be patient because she wasn’t! She was like one of those hell babies crying all the time! And two grandbabies, I love being a granddad.
I had both sets of my grandparents until my 30s. My granddad taught me a whole lot because I spent a majority of my time with my granddad. Let’s see, he taught me….
- To always look a person in the face when I talk to them.
- Shake their hands nice and firm.
- To always show respect no matter how disrespected you are.
- To never let someone rattle me.
- To not forget where I come from.
- To always be true to me in my family.
- And I can go on and on and on. My granddad has taught me a whole lot. A whole lot, I got from him.
I think every kid growing up wants to play cops and robbers. I initially wanted that but then later, just wanted to get a good job, and be able to support my family. I started working at the FBI right after high school as a clerk, and while I was working there, I lost my best friend to some violence. He was shot and killed when I was 20. And it just sparked in me. I wanted to catch the guys that did it because one of them lived in Calvert County and it just changed my whole direction and it just made me want to be a police officer. We grew up together and when that happened, that made me want to do it.
I didn’t rush into it, I made sure it was really what I wanted. I was 20 when he was killed. And being a police officer at an early age didn’t feel right to me. I didn’t want to be a police officer at 21, I didn’t feel like I was ready. It was always my goal to wait until I was 25. So once I decided that’s what I wanted to do, I started preparing myself for when I turn 25. So at 24, I started actively trying to get on and by the time I was 25, I started working at Calvert County. And I’ve been with them for almost 23 years now. A long time.
Oh, I love it! It doesn’t even seem like work for me. I’ve done everything I’ve wanted to do in the police department. I’ve worked patrol. I worked in the drug unit. I’ve worked in the warrant section. And now in the school section.
The school position was where I knew I ultimately wanted to end my career. I knew it was what I wanted to do, I love coaching. Corporal Libby was the only one in the position from the sheriff’s office. We grew up together and he knew I wanted to do it. And I just kept talking and talking and talking and asking the Sheriff about it. And when they opened it up, I got the second spot. And now there are 11 of us!
We’re called SROs, School Resource Officers. This program in Calvert County runs a lot differently than most other areas. We don’t just lock kids up. We mentor kids, teach them different lessons in health classes, do active things with them in the gym classes, work with the administration to help with any traffic issues, help with any community issues that may come back into the school, anything that the school may have that they need us to help them within the community. We’re doing a lot more than just being regular police officers in the school. We wear the hats of a lot of different roles inside the school.
I love it. This doesn’t feel like work. There are days where there’s a lot going on, but I can’t wait, I like going to work!
For the most part, the kids like their school resource officers. Most of us are pretty down to earth and we don’t wear a regular uniform, so they don’t see us as threatening police officers. For me, it’s oh that’s Officer Jay or Coach Jay. I mean the kids love me, I’m not going to lie, we have a good time at school, sometimes I think I’m one of them!
I’ve coached pretty much off and on all my life. I used to coach for Calvert High summer league basketball years ago, and now youth football mostly for the Solomons Steelers.
I love it. We have fun. My football kids are my kids. The team we have now, we’ve had them since 6. These kids were with me 24/7 in and out of my house until COVID hit.
March 2020, the school shut down on us. We thought we were going to get a two-week break and get back to school and everything will be normal. We go 1 week, then 2 weeks, then before you know it, we’re off a month. And kind of looking at each other like we can’t see the kids, what are we gonna do, we still need to help. We didn’t particularly know what we were going to do, or how we were going to do it, but we just knew we still need to get into the community, still help out. And then Corporal Libby gets a call from you about End Hunger. Hey, what do you think about End Hunger? They want to deliver food, we need to figure out a way to do it, we need to get okays with Covid and we need to figure it out.
We had no idea, we just knew we were going to deliver food to families that needed it. In March 2020, it filled a void for us. Because we couldn’t put our hands on the kids anymore. We couldn’t check on anybody. Everybody was so petrified, we didn’t know what we could and couldn’t do.
In March 2020 End Hunger was a savior for us with delivering End Hunger Kits, it was a new purpose, a new way of getting in the community, a new way of checking on our families, seeing their faces, making sure everybody was okay, and delivering a lifeline because those kits helped out a lot of families.
And it just kept growing and the more we did it, the more we realized families really need it, and it just grew and grew and grew. And then we just realized how much fun it was to be able to do. We were in a terrible situation, COVID is terrible. And it’s hard to say, but in the worst time we were in, we were finding joy with End Hunger and getting those kits out to everybody. And for us, it sparked something that we don’t really get to do so much for police officers. We always talk about protect and serve, protect and serve. But really all you do is the protection part. That’s like the biggest role. But now we were doing the service part. We were literally serving in our community. We were dropping food off that people couldn’t go get. We were dropping computers off from the school that people couldn’t go get. We were doing something different than just protecting. We were really serving our community and it just felt good. It just felt like this is what policing was really supposed to be about.
Then you and a picnic table. We sat down at the picnic table. And we discussed some issues going on in the world, and maybe some ways that we could make it better, or fix it, or help to bridge some gaps between different folks or help some folks understand others views. And you came up with doing this series of videos. For me, I spent most of my life pretty much in the background. You need me to go do something I’ll go do it, but I stayed in the background for much of my life. But you come up with these videos and this concept of going out and talking to people. So I do one video, it wasn’t bad, I actually enjoyed it. And then we did another video, and I actually enjoyed it. And I realized my voice, me being upfront, would be more beneficial than to stay in the back as much as I had been. And it gave me a purpose for what I wanted to do next.
So after a whole year of doing End Hunger, and being in the community and listening to the community, and being with you and doing these videos, and getting to actually talk with the community and see what the community wants, it just all reaffirmed what my wife was saying I should have done.
It made me realize that I wanted to run for Sheriff. That I wanted to be the next Sheriff of Calvert County. So I have entered my name into the candidacy of running for Sheriff in 2022!
I just want to give back to this community. This county loves our Sheriff’s Department for the most part. They do. And I know how this county looks at me, the kids that I deal with, the families that I deal with, the community that I deal with, I just figure I have so much to give, so why not give it.
The Sheriff’s Department is a really good Sheriff’s Department, I just have so many ideas that I would like to try, would like to implement, to give to my county.
Can you talk yourself out of stuff? ‘Oh, I like to be in the background.’ Sometimes you run from what you really know is your calling I guess. It just took some time for me to understand what my next calling was. I don’t think I’ve done anything in my life just to do it. I’ve literally done everything because I felt like it’s what I was supposed to do.
I’m still going to coach. I don’t plan on giving up anything. I plan on being in the community just as much as I’ve ever been.
My granddad’s…..both my granddads are probably smiling now saying that I’m doing what I should be doing.”