Charles County Sheriff's Office Honors Retirees and Award Recipients

Annual Banquet Honors Completion of Service, Excellent Field Work and Bravery

LA PLATA, Md. (October 18, 2010)—Charles County Sheriff Rex W. Coffey honored 10 retirees and 24 award recipients at a banquet held Oct. 1 at the Waldorf Jaycees Community Center. Honorees were recognized for completion of service to the Agency, excellent field work or acts of bravery.

Mr. William Saunders, a retired police captain and current firearms staff instructor, served as the master of ceremonies. Ms. Dorthea Smith, a community activist from Malcolm and a retired school teacher, was the banquet's guest speaker. The Charles County Sheriff's Office Color Guard presented Colors; PFC. Jeff Hitaffer of the La Plata Town Police sang the National Anthem and John Lewis, a Chaplain with the Charles County Detention Center, delivered the invocation and benediction.


Cpl. Douglas Campbell, 22 years of service; Cpl. Daniel Bell, 20 years of service; Sgt. Joseph Goldsmith, 22 years of service; CFC David Thomas, 26 years of service; Bernadine Abell-McNulty, 12 years of service; Joseph Maloy, 11 years of service; Sharron Winkler, 11 years of service; Barbara Hammett, 8 years of service; Samuel Sherwell, 10 years of service, and Mary Jo Clements for 11 years of service.

Bronze Medal of Valor:

Cpl. Dorrell Savoy for actions he took in removing a man from a truck that had just crashed into an electrical tower that had the potential to generate up to 500,000 volts of electricity. Cpl. Savoy, who was off-duty at the time, was told by several witnesses that the driver of the truck was still inside the cab and was not moving. Adding to the danger were several small fires that ignited in a nearby field after the crash. Cpl. Savoy approached the truck and helped the driver out of the vehicle while rescue workers secured the area.

Meritorious Awards:

Sgt. Christopher Bean and PFC Alexander Sullivan for taking quick action to disarm a man who held two relatives at knifepoint. The officers were at the suspect's house in reference to a property crime when the suspect tried to flee. When officers pursued him, the suspect grabbed a knife and held his elderly father and mother as a barrier. Officers spoke with the suspect, convinced him to drop the knife and apprehended him without further incident.

Lt. Kevin Barrows and Cpl. Neill Beswick for their actions when confronted by an armed, distraught man who threatened to kill himself. During the course of negotiating with the subject, the officers distracted him and took him into custody. Two guns, several knives and multiple rounds of ammunition were recovered.

PFC Jamel Clagett for actions taken during a call for a domestic disturbance between a father and son. When PFC Clagett arrived on the scene, he observed the father lunge at his son with a large knife. PFC. Clagett intervened and subsequently apprehended the father without incident, thus preventing any injury to the man's son.

CFC Ronald Goldsmith for assisting a police officer in a neighboring county who was being assaulted by two men. CFC Goldsmith, who was off duty, came upon the assault and intervened. He apprehended the suspects who, moments earlier, had been asked by the officer to leave a bar after being disorderly. The suspects ambushed the uniformed policeman, knocked him to the ground and began punching him. CFC Goldsmith helped end this violent attack on the officer and prevented further harm.

Cpl. Michael Clark and PFC William Halt for apprehending a man who attempted to flee a traffic stop in which drugs were observed inside the car. As officers approached the vehicle and conversed with the driver, the man stepped on the accelerator and attempted to drive away, dragging PFC. Halt. Cpl. Clark reached into the car from the passenger side window and, after a struggle, grabbed the gear selector and put the car in park, stopping the driver from dragging Officer Halt further.

Ms. Aleta A. Bunch, a registered nurse, for her efforts in saving the life of a young man. Ms. Bunch came upon a car crash in which the passenger died and the driver was in critical condition. She noticed the driver was not breathing due to an obstructed airway. She managed to climb through the wreckage and open the young man's airway, keeping him stabile until emergency rescue workers arrived. The driver was flown to a hospital with life-threatening injuries and has since recovered. Medical personnel credited Ms. Bunch with saving the young man's life.

Sheriff's Awards:

Cpl. Rhett Calloway for his work with youth programs in the county. As the Chief Advisor for the Charles County Sheriff's Office Explorer Post #1658 - the largest single law enforcement Explorer Post in Maryland and one of the largest in the country - as well as the coordinator of the Junior Police Academy, Cpl. Calloway volunteers hundreds of hours to keep both programs working smoothly. He utilized these youth to provide special services to the county such as appearing as McGruff the Crime Dog, parking cars at community events, looking for lost parents at the County Fair and numerous other local events. In all these endeavors, Corporal Calloway brings dedication and enthusiasm to the programs and continues to have a positive impact on the youth of Charles County.

Cpl. Christopher Spaulding for his work in expanding the Charles County Sheriff's Office Maritime Unit. Working with the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Coast Guard, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and many other local, federal and state agencies, Cpl. Spaulding developed, expanded and implemented the Maritime Unit to help the Agency protect nearly 200 miles of waterways in Charles County. PFC. Spaulding's plan met the goals established by Governor Martin O'Malley's Maryland Maritime Strategic Security Plan which called for a unified effort among all state law enforcement agencies in protecting Maryland's shoreline and provide a higher level of service and safety to the people of Charles County.

Lt. Michael Almassy for his work in organizing the audits and inspections process of the Agency and Agency facilities. Lieutenant Almassy identified several areas of the inspection process that were outdated and in need of improvement. He created a system that collects data on a yearly basis rather than the three year recommendation. The new system allows for easier review of information which led to better accountability, oversight, proficiency and a reduction in fiscal costs.

Cpl. David Baden for administering life-saving techniques when he observed a fellow employee choking on a piece of candy. Cpl. Baden saw the officer was in distress and administered several back blows, dislodging the candy. Corporal Baden's unhesitating response to this situation saved the employee from further harm.

Mr. Danny Johnson, Ms. Carol Davis and Ms. Reagan Henehan for their work in the Planning and Accreditation Unit of the Agency. As a CALEA-accredited Agency, the Charles County Sheriff's Office must meet more than 400 standards considered "best business practices" by the Commission. This year, due to their untiring efforts, the Charles County Sheriff's Office received its highest rating ever and was recommended for "flagship" status. Without their hard work and dedication, this achievement would not have been possible.

Certificates of Commendation:

PFC Jennifer McKenzie for her work the Property Crimes Unit. Cpl. McKenzie developed a program which enables her to track stolen goods through a computer database. She coordinated the program to be accessible to other law enforcement agencies and she's often assisted other police departments track stolen goods. Her work has led to the recovery of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of stolen items and has helped identify suspects in burglaries, thefts and organized crime.

Cpl. Elizabeth Clark for her investigation into a fraud scheme involving an attorney who stole millions of dollars in funds and assets from his clients as they settled estates. Detective Clark's efforts in this investigation resulted in search warrants being obtained, the seizure of additional evidence and the arrest of the suspect. She uncovered a lucrative theft scheme that revealed the attorney had been stealing from clients for years. Through Detective Clark's instincts, persistence and attention to detail, she helped uncover additional victims and put a stop to the fraud.

Cpl. Brion Buchanan for his investigative work of a homicide that occurred on Truro Lane in 2009. Detective Buchanan responded to the scene and with very little information to act on, began conducting hundreds of field interviews. From that, he developed leads which subsequently led to the identification and arrest of two suspects involved in the fatal shooting. In addition, the information Detective Buchanan gained from the investigation led to the arrests of five people in an unrelated robbery.

PFC John Riffle and Detective Christopher Shankster for their work and investigation into a citizen robbery that led to the apprehension of four suspects and the recovery of the gun used and items stolen from the victim. Two hours after the robbery occurred, Officer Riffle was continuing to canvass the area when he observed the suspect car at a nearby gas station. He initiated a traffic stop and linked the occupants to the crime. Detective Shankster, who was assigned to conduct the follow-up investigation, later linked the suspects to another robbery in the area and three commercial robberies in another county. Both officers volunteered to come in on their scheduled days off to make sure the leads were pursued and the suspects were charged.

PO I William Mayhew for his work in handling a burglary call that ultimately led to the closure of multiple break-ins and narcotics violations. Officer Mayhew observed a vehicle wanted in connection with a burglary that occurred two weeks earlier in La Plata. He initiated a traffic stop and located property that had been stolen in the burglary. His investigation led officers to link the suspect to other burglaries in the area. In addition, Officer Mayhew confiscated a large amount of drugs.

Certificate of Appreciation:

PCS Antonella Volpe for her work in developing a training program for new Communications Officers and for designing quality control standards to track and manage employee performance. Through her hard work and perseverance, as well as her 29 years of experience as a Communications Supervisor, the Communications Section has become a leader in the field, prompting agencies both in Maryland and out of state to request information regarding the program.

Source: Charles County Sheriff's Office

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