Letter to the Editor From Former Sergeant at St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office

December 13, 2019

To the Editor,

The following comments are addressed very specifically to St. Mary’s County Commissioners Hewitt, Guy, and Morgan. From 2006 to 2016 I was a Deputy Sheriff with the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office. I held assignments in Patrol, Investigations, and Special Operations as well as a number of collateral duties. I often worked in excess of 12 to 14 hours days, frequently 6 days a week, many times for months on end. I don’t share this because I feel my service was exception, quite the contrary, at SMCSO, it was common place. When I left the agency, I was a Sergeant and number one on the list to make Lieutenant. I was not unsuccessful. Law enforcement was not a tourist stop for me: it was a career, it was a way of life, and it was a family.

I didn’t leave the agency because I wasn’t being paid enough. I left because I was tired. I was tired in my very bones. I was tired of seeing my children once or twice a week. I was tired of doing more with fewer and fewer people. Most importantly, I was tired of looking the selfless men and women I was supervising in the face and telling them “hang in there, things will get better,” when I saw no evidence that was the case.
Since I have left the agency, I understand Sheriff Cameron has made great strides toward improving its culture.

Regardless, it has continued to hemorrhage employees at an alarming rate. The people leaving are not the deadwood of the agency; they are talented, hardworking, and dedicated, both sworn and non-sworn. They are the agencies lifeblood and future. Many of them are leaving for agencies (such as Charles County) that offer them better pay, benefits, and working conditions. A few days ago, you gentlemen had an opportunity to start correcting this trend and you demurred. You claimed to “not have enough information” when in reality you have remained willfully blind in hopes of appearing favorable to everyone. This is not the time for more handshakes and hollow words, it isn’t the time for politics as usual. This is the time to take action for the benefit and security of your constituents. If you fail to do so, I strenuously urge them all to speak their disapproval with their votes in the next election cycle.

Most Sincerely,
R. Jason McCoy
(Former Sergeant/SMCSO #206)