The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office held its annual Awards Banquet on Tuesday, April 18, 2023, recognizing the outstanding and noteworthy achievements of its officers and personnel in 2022. We thank Commissioner President Randy Guy, Commissioner Mike Alderson and County Administrator David Weiskopf for attending the ceremony with us at the Bay District Volunteer Fire Department Social Hall.
Deputy Sheriff of the Year: Cpl. Daniel Holdsworth, a member of the Sheriff’s Office COPs Unit, was named Deputy Sheriff of the Year for his proactive police work and dedication to the community. In April 2022, Cpl. Holdsworth responded to a local business for the report of a man with a gun. Cpl. Holdsworth went above and beyond during the investigation to ensure the suspect was appropriately charged, possibly preventing an armed robbery from occurring. Cpl. Holdsworth often takes on extra assignments and takes the time to speak with citizens about police work.
Correctional Officer of the Year: Corrections First Class Monica Moncivais-Romero was named Correctional Officer of the Year for 2022 for going above and beyond her duties in the Pre-trial Supervision Unit. She is bilingual and provides translation services during her normal duties and assists deputies, the State’s Attorney’s Office, the Public Defender’s Office and Southern Maryland Criminal Justice Academy. She is also the only female member of the Corrections Division Emergency Response Team.
Professional Staff Member of the Year: Crime Analyst Stacey Hancock was named the Professional Staff Member of the Year for 2022 for her integral assistance to the Criminal Investigations Division in providing information to detectives. She also continues to serve as a Crime Lab technician within the division. Her work aids in both the investigation of serious crimes and the ensuing prosecution.
Sgt. Nolan Scully Memorial NCO Award: Crime Analyst Stacey Hancock was named the Professional Staff Member of the Year for 2022 for her integral assistance to the Criminal Investigations Division in providing information to detectives. She also continues to serve as a Crime Lab technician within the division. Her work aids in both the investigation of serious crimes and the ensuing prosecution.
Sgt. Nolan Scully Memorial NCO Award: Sgt. Anthony Whipkey was bestowed with the Sgt. Nolan Scully Memorial NCO Award for his leadership in the Patrol Division. A member of the Hostage Negotiations Team and Crisis Intervention Team instructor, Sgt. Whipkey serves as a mentor to deputies throughout Southern Maryland. He has been essential to the high morale and motivation among his squad.
Law Enforcement Rookie of the Year: Deputy Brandon Reynolds was selected as the Law Enforcement Rookie of the Year for 2022. After working long shifts, participating in training, attending court hearings and covering manpower shortages, Deputy Reynolds still finds time to think of others before himself. He volunteers with Foundation for Heroes and helped raise funds for the Law Enforcement Torch Run and St. Mary’s Splash. Through his charitable works, Deputy Reynolds has also supplied several basketball hoops to local neighborhoods.
Corrections Rookie of the Year: Correctional Officer John Edelen was chosen as the Corrections Rookie of the Year for 2022. CO Edelen’s professionalism and attention to detail have led him to have made numerous contraband discoveries on inmates coming in off the street, in housing units and on their person to include narcotics, weapons, pens, marijuana and other prohibited items. He is now learning to become a booking officer.
Lifesaving Awards: In November 2022, Deputy Ryan McLean responded to a call for a self-inflicted laceration to the neck after a suicide attempt. Deputy McLean’s preparedness and prompt application of first aid in a potentially fatal situation ultimately resulted in saving the person’s life. Emergency medical personnel on the scene complimented the deputy’s treatment of the person’s injuries and indicated those actions did in fact save the person’s life. In January 2023, Deputy Reynolds responded to an apartment for the report of a person not breathing. Deputy Reynolds immediately began CPR until EMS arrival. His quick actions no doubt saved the life of the victim and contributed to the person’s recovery. In May 2022, Sgt. Dale Smith (not pictured) and Deputy Donald Shubrooks responded to a home for the report of an overdose. Sgt. Smith administered a dose of Narcan and began CPR while Deputy Shubrooks administered a second dose of Narcan and assisted in monitoring the victim. Due to their quick actions and training, the victim survived the overdose and was transported to a local hospital for further treatment.
Meritorious Action: In April 2022, Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a business in Lexington Park for the report of a man with a gun. The suspect was located by Deputy Christopher Palmer and Cpl. Timothy White (not pictured) and Cpl. Holdsworth. A loaded ghost gun was located near where the suspect was arrested along with a backpack containing dozens of rounds of ammunition. During a time of high gun violence in Lexington Park, the quick response and teamwork helped remove another illegal gun from the streets.
Sgt. Angela Delozier (not pictured) was awarded for Meritorious Action for her response in November 2022 for a barricaded person. Sgt. Delozier exemplified courage and resolve in a stressful and dangerous situation. She had a door separating herself and an agitated, possibly armed subject and did everything she could to resolve the situation peacefully before additional resources were needed. Sgt. Delozier took command of the situation and negotiated a positive outcome while acting above and beyond what is normally expected of an officer in her position.
Sgt. Michael Peacher (not pictured) was awarded for Meritorious Action for his response in December 2022 to a barricaded subject. Sgt. Through his successful negotiating and scene management skills, Peacher brought a fast and peaceful resolution to the barricade. In February 2022, DFC Alexander Wynnyk was on his way home after a 12-hour shift when he responded to a call for an escaped prisoner. The escapee resisted arrest. Assisted by two citizens, DFC Wynnyk was able to put the escapee into custody.
Members of the K-9 Unit and Vice/Narcotics Division (not pictured) were awarded for Meritorious Action for a traffic stop in May 2022 that resulted in eight pounds of cocaine being seized with a street value of more than $120,000. To date, it is the largest single seizure of cocaine in St. Mary’s County by deputies.
Sheriff’s Office personnel were recognized for their efforts in supporting high school graduations last year at outdoor events in high heat. All assigned officers rose to the occasion to work as a professional team to work with each other, school staff, Department of Emergency Services and ultimately adapt and improvise roles to meet the safety, security and health needs of attendees.
The members of the Collision Reconstruction Unit were awarded for their work in 2022 for their work in responding to nine fatal collisions, resulting in the death of 10 people and an additional nine serious injury collisions that will have a lifelong effect on those involved. Members are required to dedicate a significant amount of time toward completing investigations.
COPs Unit Team Award: The Sheriff’s Office Community Policing Unit was awarded for its work in assisting former residents of a closed hotel in Lexington Park. The hotel environment over time became a public nuisance and was host to numerous misdemeanor and felony crimes. Most hotel rooms and common areas posed health and fire hazards. The hotel was ultimately closed which displaced some citizens. The COPs Unit went above and beyond to notify affected citizens of the impending closure and offered assistance locating new housing options for them.
K-9 Unit Team Award: Members of the Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit (not pictured) were awarded for their work in 2022. The unit handled 855 calls for service in 2022, while assisting in 1,869 other calls. The unit further assisted with 55 search warrants, resulting in significant quantities of narcotics and money being seized.
The following personnel were promoted in 2022: Major Clayton Safford; Assistant Warden Michael Pilkerton; Captain Bonnie Payne; Captain Richard Russell; Lieutenant Justin Anderson; Lt. Patrick Britt; Lt. Scott Ruest; Sergeant Jonathan Rosado; Sgt. Timothy Wesner; Corporal Matthew Beyer; Cpl. Thomas Bowen; Cpl. Brianna Edelen; Cpl. Tyler Payne; Cpl. Shawn Shelko; Cpl. Dale Wade; Deputy First Class Andrew Burgess; DFC Austin Edelen; DFC Benjamin Luffey, DFC Michael Rycyzyn; DFC Max Schell; DFC Travis Wimberly; DFC Alexander Wynnyk; Correctional Officer First Class Jeremy Pelczar and CFC Michael Schmidt.
Years of Service:
30 years: CO Earl Young, Sgt. Stephen Myers (not pictured) and Sgt. Harold Young (not pictured)
25 Years: Cpl. Chad Hartzell (not pictured), Cpl. Michael Labanowski (not pictured), Sgt. Michael Peacher (not pictured), Michael Licausi (not pictured), Cpl. Julie Yingling (not pictured), Lt. Doug Mills, Russell Trow and Capt. Richard Russell
20 Years: Sgt. Brian Connelly, Lt. Eva Jones and Cpl. Brian Gillingham (not pictured)
15 Years: Cpl. Kenneth Flerlage, Capt. George Hayden, Cpl. Gretchen Irby, Lt. Jeffrey Knight and Cpl. Austin Schultz
Safe Driving awards:
Three years – DFC Benjamin Luffey, Cpl. Blaine Gaskill and Deputy Austin Edelen;
Six years – Sgt. Melissa Green and Sgt. Sheena Tirpak;
12 years – Sgt. Brian Connelly;
15 years – Lt. Eva Jones and Cpl. Jaime Davis