State’s Attorney Jaymi Sterling has completed her first 100 days in office and has reflected on the accomplishments and challenges she has faced in her new role as St. Mary’s County Chief Law Enforcement Officer. Sterling was elected in 2022 with one of the largest mandates in the county’s history, and she won by an overwhelming margin.
Sterling stepped into a heavily burdened office laden with an unprecedented number of homicide cases, no case management system, and several vacant staff positions. Despite these challenges, she has established a strong foundation rooted in ethics, integrity, hard work, and experience as she forges ahead to make significant strides toward public safety for the community.
One of Sterling’s first actions was to capture all cases involving sex offenses, children, or guns and elevate those matters to the Circuit Court to ensure focused prosecution by experienced felony attorneys. These deliberate changes are a small snapshot of Sterling’s overall paradigm shift and her commitment to making communities safer while adding protective measures for our most vulnerable victims.
In her first 100 days, Sterling has accomplished several milestones, including strict adherence to transparency and integrity. She immediately halted the previous practices of accepting money in exchange for dismissing criminal prosecutions. She instituted policies ensuring that attorneys will fairly and fully prosecute all cases as the evidence and circumstances allow. Prosecutors must dismiss cases only when justice demands and never for payment.
Sterling has also developed fiscally conservative solutions, such as submitting a successful legislative initiative that is guaranteed to save St. Mary’s County taxpayers approximately $300K annually by collaborating with the Department of Human Services to streamline child support services. She has also utilized available grant opportunities by applying to bring new funding of more than $1.9M into the county, with no county match required.
With a prudent fiscal approach, Sterling has carefully saved the county thousands, and possibly millions, of dollars in construction projects by repurposing existing office space rather than requesting a new facility. This ultimately eliminates the need for costly capital improvement projects.
Sterling has also initiated technological upgrades and enhancements, including acquiring a case management system that integrates with law enforcement, court, and attorney software platforms, allowing prosecutors to focus on effectively administering justice for victims. She has also partnered with Nighthawk LEOVision, a cloud-based digital data forensic analysis platform for more efficient and effective examination of various investigative materials.
Relentlessly advocating for victims and victim services, Sterling testified and successfully advocated for legislation establishing harsher penalties for those convicted of the sexual abuse of a minor by expanding the age range of child victims. She has also established a Victim Witness Unit and created policies and procedures to ensure victims receive all required notifications during legal processes.
Finally, Sterling has innovatively developed staffing solutions, such as implementing a Court Liaison Officer by using an existing staff position to streamline processes for efficient prosecutions while keeping law enforcement officers on the streets longer and in court only when necessary for testifying in a trial. She has also created an External Affairs Director position to coordinate crucial community initiatives.
Sterling’s first 100 days in office have succeeded, but she acknowledges that much more needs to be done. Violent crime rates in the county are at an all-time high, and public safety is the primary concern. Sterling is confident in the tremendous abilities of the prosecutors, paralegals, and staff members in the office. She will be relentless in her efforts to serve the citizens of St. Mary’s County.