Sheriff’s Office Recognized for Commitment to Safety in Public Schools

September 3, 2017

Since 2015, Sheriff Tim Cameron and Superintendent Scott Smith have made collaboration on safety issues a top priority. They host a myriad of Opioid Awareness events for students and their parents, train and increase partnerships between school resources officers and administration, and continue to work on their safety plans in the event of a crisis.

This past March, several organizations gathered for an active shooter drill at Great Mills High School. One month later, the organizations reconvened for a table top exercise. They are working together to plan, update, and revisit their safety plans while keeping the principal goal in mind – safeguarding the safety of students, teachers, and individuals in a school in the event of a crisis.

Included at the tabletop exercise was Edward Clarke, Executive Director of the Maryland Center for School Safety, an agency established by a unit of the State government in 2013. The agency provides a coordinated and comprehensive policy for school safety in Maryland. The center collaborates with local school systems, law enforcement agencies, State and local government, community organizations, parents, and other groups to disseminate information on best practices, programs, and resources.

Clarke was so impressed by the agencies that he recognized Sheriff Tim Cameron and Superintendent Scott Smith during the awards luncheon at the Maryland Center for School Safety Conference held in Annapolis on Tuesday, August 15, by presenting them with the first-ever School Safety Superintendent and Law Enforcement Executive of the Year Award for 2016/2017. The award was presented in recognition of their outstanding commitment to working together to keep students and staff safe throughout the school year. During his recognition speech, Clarke added, “They lead by example; they lead strongly by example with their teams and colleagues. They set the tone for school safety in St. Mary’s County and throughout the State of Maryland as these two executives work lockstep together to create a safe and secure learning environment for students, staff, and parents.”

During the awards ceremony, Corporal Kristi Nelson and Corporal Andrew Holton were also recognized for their efforts. Corporal Andrew Holton received the School Safety Team of the Year Award in recognition of his outstanding efforts and commitment to working with the Assistant Principal, Mark Priner, at Chopticon High School in creating a safe and secure learning environment for students, staff, and parents.

Corporal Kristi Nelson was recognized as the School Resource Officer of the Year for her commitment to creating a safe and secure environment at Great Mills High School. Safety and Security Director Mike Wyant commented, “Your [Nelson’s] positive influence has had a tremendous impact on students and staff on a daily basis, making the school environment not only safer but more available for everyone.”

Wyant was recognized as the School Safety and Security Director of the Year. The award encompasses all 24 counties in Maryland.

At the conclusion of the awards ceremony, the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed. The MOU is a collaborative effort which joins the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office and St. Mary’s County Public Schools in a partnership with the Maryland Center for School Safety. Through the Maryland Center for School Safety, St. Mary’s County was selected to participate in a Department of Justice Grant to establish and execute a model MOU between public schools and law enforcement partners. The model MOU outlines all duties and protocols related to their ongoing partnership.

St. Mary’s County is one of the first jurisdictions in the state of Maryland to execute the model MOU through the grant. This partnership is critical to improving relationships within the local community between law enforcement, school administration and the parents, students and staff served on a daily basis.

Please join us in congratulating Sheriff Tim Cameron, Superintendent Scott Smith, and the teams of school resource officers and safety professionals within the public schools.