Charles County, MD…Sheriff Troy D. Berry is pleased to announce the successful completion of the first-ever high school Youth Advisory Council, which ended in late May and will resume in the 2022-2023 school year.

In the summer of 2020, Sheriff Berry announced his intentions to create a Youth Advisory Council with high school students. He wanted to hear directly from students in this age group about any issues or concerns relating to safety and law enforcement. The idea, however, was put on hold as the country faced the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Fast forward and in January of this year, the Youth Advisory Council was brought to fruition, the way it was planned – in-person and face-to-face.

Joined by Charles County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Maria Navarro, the two leaders hosted meetings once a month after school with students from each high school. The small group environment allowed for meaningful discussions with a focus on resolutions. Students shared concerns about COVID-19, altercations, weapons, drugs, impaired driving, and other topics.

Students also indicated they wanted to focus on ways to resolve conflicts and seek short-term goals and work on long-term goals.   

“I am so proud of the individuals who stepped up and volunteered to be a part of something that transcended into change or can help lead the way to resolutions. Some of the issues can’t be resolved overnight, but we learned a lot from each other and we look forward to continuing to work with each other,” Sheriff Berry said.

One short-term goal the students brought up was safe driving –they felt there needed to be more attention to the dangers of distracted driving, negligent driving, and impaired driving. The students came up with a plan to raise awareness about safe driving by requesting the Sheriff’s Office to secure a car that was damaged in a crash due to unsafe driving. The students wanted the car to be displayed at each high school during their prom week. The CCSO commander of the School Resource Unit was able to locate a car and bring the plan to the schools. 

Dr. Navarro said, “This has been a wonderful experience because it has provided us with the opportunity to hear our students’ voices and talk about ways to address issues and to understand what they are most concerned about.”


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