|Schools Superintendent Scott Smith and Deputy First Class Blaine Gaskill|
|Superintendent Scott Smith and deputies of the Lexington Park COPS Unit|
|Sheriff Tim Cameron, Great Mills High School Principal Jake Heibel, Teacher Dan George and Athletic Director Ryan Hanley|
St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office Deputies and other Southern Maryland law enforcement officers were recognized on June 13, 2018 by the St. Mary’s County Board of Education for helping to keep the school environment safe, especially after a trying school year.
Following a fatal student shooting in March at Great Mills High School, “There really aren’t words to express what we have been through as a community this school year,” Superintendent Scott Smith said the ceremony at the board of education meeting room.
“Certainly the school system could not, would not have successfully been able to manage our way through to the end of the school year without an incredible community to draw strength and support, and specifically within that community the Sheriff’s Office and all other participating partners that came down and helped us get through March” and beyond, Smith said.
“It has been the darkest year in moments. It has also been the brightest,” the superintendent said, coming from the community’s inspiration, hope, bravery, courage and sacrifice.
“This has been an emotional year,” Sheriff Tim Cameron said, especially during the county’s recent high school graduations. The graduation for Great Mills High School “was honestly hard. It was very emotional for me,” he said.
St. Mary’s County has always been forward-leaning in its relationship between the school system and law enforcement, Cameron said. “There’s never been a question here,” he said.
This school year, it’s been about partnerships and heroes, he said.
Deputy First Class Blaine Gaskill, School Resource Officer at Great Mills High School, was awarded as the St. Mary’s County School Resource Officer of the Year. In addition, Gaskill was also recognized as the Officer of the Month for May by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
Officers of the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office COPS (Community Oriented Policing) Unit were named as the Adopt-a-School Officer of the Year, nominated by George Washington Carver Elementary School in Lexington Park.
Great Mills High School staff was awarded a special Great Mills High School Unit Citation by the Sheriff’s Office as well.