Charles Co. Sheriff's Office News Briefs

Youngsters Shop with Cops for Christmas

Christmas was merrier this year for 70 Charles County youngsters who participated in Shop with a Cop on Dec. 7 with police and correctional officers from the Charles County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO), the Maryland State Police, the La Plata Police Department and the Maryland Transit Authority Police.

Shop with a Cop pairs the officers with children from low-income families with officers who treat them to a spirited day of shopping and other holiday festivities. The CCSO and the Charles County Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Lodge 24 host the event, which is in its sixth year.

“Nothing embraces the Christmas spirit more than watching children select the toys and books on their wish lists and making sure they have winter clothes and other necessities, which are especially important during the cold winter months,” said Sheriff Rex Coffey. “I look forward to participating in this event every year and I am very proud of the officers who volunteer to make this day special for these children.”

The day begins when the officers transport the children from their homes to the Elks Lodge in Waldorf for breakfast. Then, in a mile-long convoy of police cruisers, the officers drive the children to Wal-Mart in Waldorf, allowing the youngsters to operate the lights and sirens along the way. After arriving at Wal-Mart, the officers and children shop for gifts. Each child is allotted $200, half of which they must spend on necessities like clothing, shoes and winter coats. The other half is reserved for toys, movies and other fun items. In true Christmas spirit, some of the children spend their “fun money” on gifts for family members. When the children finish their shopping, the officers return them to the Elks Lodge for lunch and a special visit from Santa while volunteers wrap the presents. Finally, the officers return the children home with their presents and full bellies.

The event is made possible by the support of Wal-Mart, which opens its doors to the special shoppers and dedicates two Shop with a Cop registers; the Elks Lodge, which donates the use of its facility and provides breakfast and lunch; KNC Marketing, which donates commemorative T-shirts to each participant; and Cold Stone Creamery, which serves ice cream after lunch. Community donations help fund the shopping budget.

Officers Bobby Long, Colby Shaw and Jeff Feldman introduced the program in Charles County in 2008 and have organized it each year since. In addition to accepting donations on behalf of the program, they raise money by hosting fundraisers, including an FOP Chili Cook-Off each fall. They raised about $15,000 in 2013.

To donate to Shop with a Cop 2014, mail a check or money order to Charles County Shop With A Cop Inc., P.O. Box 160, Bryantown, MD 20617 or contact

A photo album has been posted to the Charles County Sheriff’s Office’s Facebook page,

CCSO Raises Record Amount for Special Olympics Maryland in 2013

Three remarkable events happened in Charles County in 2013 and at times it seemed the circumstances were made for television: Zombies invaded a park; cops and cows stood on the rooftops of the local Chick-fil-As; and hundreds of red-clad runners traversed the streets of La Plata. Even more remarkable, these events produced a record-breaking achievement: Combined, they helped the Charles County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) raise more than $47,000 for Special Olympics Maryland (SOMD).

“This is truly an outstanding accomplishment,” said Sheriff Rex Coffey. “This reflects all the hard work involved in coordinating these fundraisers, as well as our deep admiration for the Special Olympics athletes and our commitment to their organization. I want to especially recognize Sgt. Gus Proctor, who is the primary coordinator behind the success of these phenomenal events.”

The CCSO hosted the first of the three fundraisers, the Charles County leg of the 27th Annual Law Enforcement Torch Run, on June 6. The Torch Run helps escort the SOMD Olympic Torch ­­– the Flame of Hope – across Maryland and is one of multiple Torch Runs in the state that converge annually at Towson University to light the cauldron at the Opening Ceremony of the Special Olympics Summer Games. About 500 people participated in 2013, including CCSO personnel, U.S. Marines assigned to the Chemical-Biological Incident Response Force (C-BIRF) at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Indian Head and SOMD athletes. Two routes, a 3.5-mile route for runners and a 3-mile route for walkers, departed Texas Roadhouse in La Plata and returned to the same shopping center for lunch and a medal presentation ceremony. Sponsors included Texas Roadhouse, Chick-fil-A of Waldorf, Port Tobacco Marina and Buffalo Wild Wings. The Torch Run raises money through the sale of commemorative T-shirts and hats and accounts for about $24,000 of the fundraising total.

The second fundraiser, the First Annual Zombie Invasion 5K, was held Nov. 17 at Laurel Springs Regional Park in La Plata. During the first phase of the event – the transition phase – volunteers from the Port Tobacco Players, the College of Southern Maryland and the Maurice J. McDonough and La Plata high school drama clubs helped participants make the transition to zombies. In the second phase, the zombies raced or walked a 5K route from the park to Radio Station Road, then to Rosewick Road and back to the park. In the final phase of the invasion, the zombies were treated to lunch and took part in a medal ceremony for the top zombie racers in various age categories as well as the top overall zombie racers, the top zombie fundraising group and the best dressed zombies. The Zombie Invasion 5K, a family-friendly event, welcomed about 600 undead members of the community to the park for the occasion. It raised more than $20,000 for SOMD through donations and registration fees, which included lunch, coupons from sponsors and a commemorative T-shirt. Buffalo Wild Wings, Pizza Hotline, Texas Roadhouse and the Meadows Original Frozen Custard sponsored the event.

Finally, on Dec. 6, despite the rain and cold, CCSO volunteers literally shouted their support of SOMD from the rooftops. Police and corrections officers stood atop the Chick-fil-As in La Plata and Waldorf from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. to raise money and awareness for SOMD. Officers on the roofs lowered buckets to collect the donations, with help from additional officers and volunteers on the sidewalks. The Chick-fil-A in the St. Charles Towne Center mall also participated by displaying wall decals with the names of customers who chose to donate to SOMD.

“I hope anyone who wasn’t able to join us for any of these fundraisers this year considers joining us next year,” said Sheriff Coffey. “They’re a great time and it’s for a great cause.”

For more information about the CCSO and its many community outreach activities, visit For information about SOMD, visit

CDC Collects Toys for Children's Aid Society

In the muster room at the Charles County Detention Center on Dec. 16, the toys, stuffed animals, board games and other Christmas presents were stacked nearly as high as the Christmas tree, ready to be delivered to the children of low-income families whose struggles are especially difficult at Christmastime.

The Charles County Sheriff's Office's Corrections Division and the Charles County Correctional Officers Association collected the gifts—worth about $2,500—and donated them to the Children's Aid Society to deliver to children in need. Ms. Pam Vahle and Ms. Carol Jackson, the respective chair and vice chair of the Children's Aid Society, accepted the donations on the organization's behalf.

"Our Corrections officers are truly committed to making our community a better place," said Sheriff Rex Coffey. "That is reflected not only in their daily toils but also in their effort to help the Children's Aid Society collect toys for children each Christmas. Their generosity reflects the true meaning of Christmas."

The Corrections Division and the CCCOA collects gifts for the Children's Aid Society each year. For more information about the Corrections Division, visit

Teen Court, County First Bank Collect Toys for Tots

Minnie Mouse! A Smithsonian microscope! A bicycle! Struggling families got a special dose of Christmas cheer this season thanks to the Charles County Sheriff’s Office’s Teen Court Program, County First Bank and the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves Toys for Tots program.

For the third consecutive year, Teen Court and County First Bank worked together to collect toys for Toys for Tots, which, according to the program’s website, delivers new toys at Christmas as “a message of hope to less fortunate youngsters that will assist them in becoming responsible, productive, patriotic citizens.”

“Teen Court and County First Bank represent the true meaning of Christmas and also the best of what Charles County has to offer,” said Sheriff Rex Coffey. “This time of year is about giving and I know of no place more generous than Charles County.”

Teen Court hosts numerous community outreach projects throughout the year. For more information, contact Teen Court Coordinator Sarah Vaughan at 301-609-3916 or visit

Charles County Sheriff's Office Wins Tim Minor Memorial Basketball Game

For the fourth consecutive year, members of the Charles County Sheriff's Office and Charles County Detention Center beat the Maryland State Police in the Annual Tim Minor Memorial Basketball Game held Jan. 4 at the College of Southern Maryland.

Officer Patrick Mann, a CCSO School Resource Officer, coordinated the game between the two law enforcement agencies as a way to remember Sgt. Tim Minor - a motors officer who died in the line of duty on February 12, 1996 after he was struck by a car while responding to an emergency call. His daughter, Jessica, who was only 12-years-old when he died, is now a Correctional Officer at the Charles County Detention Center. "I love the fact that my father is still honored and that his legacy lives on," said Minor. Sheriff Rex Coffey said the memorial game has been popular among staff for many years. "Everyone knew Tim and this is a great way to keep him in our thoughts."

The game was evenly matched until the last few minutes when two plays moved the CCSO ahead by four points for a final score of 36 to 32. "It wasn't a slam dunk; we played against a very good team and the competition was tough. But in the end it's more about camaraderie and family and keeping the memory of our fallen officers alive and with us, said Officer Mann. Cpl. William Welch, Sgt. Mike Vaughn and PFC Raymond Anderson served as the game's referees.

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