On May 5, the Southern Maryland Criminal Justice Academy (SMCJA) held a graduation ceremony at Saint John Vianney Catholic Church in Prince Frederick, Maryland, to celebrate the completion of the Corrections Entrance Level Training Program (CELTP), Session 69, by 11 correctional officers, including four from Charles County.

The CELTP program requires all correctional officers to finish a ten-week Basic Corrections Academy, which exceeds the state minimum for correctional officers working in local correctional facilities across Maryland.

Credit: Charles County Sheriff's Office

Charles County Detention Center Director Brandon Foster congratulated the officers and their families for their accomplishments and commitment to service. “We also recognize and thank our outstanding Academy Staff for their dedication to training and preparing all of the officers who are entering our profession,” Foster said.

During the graduation ceremony, SMCJA instructors presented awards to graduates who excelled in three categories. Brandon Davis, a correctional officer from Charles County, earned the Scholastic Achievement Award for receiving the highest grade point average of 98.3 percent. Abdu Sa, a correctional officer from St. Mary’s County, received the Physical Training Award for scoring the highest during the PT tests administered at the beginning and end of the training program, with 556 points out of 800. Kayla Kerns, a correctional officer from St. Mary’s County, was honored with the Steve Allen Leadership Award, named after one of the original founders of the SMCJA who died of cancer several years ago.

The Charles County Sheriff’s Office welcomed the following four new correctional officers to the CCSO family:

  • Correctional Officer Brandon Davis
  • Correctional Officer Damein Graham, Jr.
  • Correctional Officer Keith Pappas
  • Correctional Officer Davon Smith

The graduation of the new correctional officers from the CELTP program comes at a time when the state of Maryland is experiencing a shortage of correctional officers, leading to staffing issues and concerns about safety in local correctional facilities.

In response to the shortage, the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS) has implemented several measures to recruit and retain correctional officers. These measures include offering sign-on bonuses, tuition reimbursement, and training opportunities.

According to the DPSCS, the state is also investing in technology and infrastructure upgrades to enhance safety and security in correctional facilities, such as the installation of body scanners and cameras, and the renovation of housing units.

The completion of the CELTP program by the 11 new correctional officers is an important step towards addressing the shortage of correctional officers in Maryland and ensuring the safety and security of inmates and staff in local correctional facilities.

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/EditorEditor-in-Chief

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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