On April 26, Correctional Officer First Class Ben Luffey, Deputy Shawn Bowie, and Mark Clark, background investigator, spoke with multiple classes throughout the day at the JROTC program at Great Mills High School.
Coincidentally, both Luffey and Bowie are graduates of the school.
Luffey said, “My job is the best job in the world.”
He discussed with students the benefits of being a correctional officer such as the pay and being able to make a difference in the community. He then showed a video depicting the life of a sheriff’s office recruit in correctional officer training at the Southern Maryland Criminal Justice Academy.
The academy hosts a 29-week program that provides the necessary basic entrance level training for deputy and correctional officer recruits, annual in-service training for those serving, and specialized training for the law enforcement and correctional professionals in the Southern Maryland area.
After the video, Bowie, a Marine veteran, spoke to the class about how he transitioned from the military to become a police officer.
“A lot of my job is helping people and serving the community,” Bowie said. “The military was a good transition to becoming a police officer.”
When asked why he left the military, he said that he was ready to start a family. He also gave the students some very important advice.
“Law enforcement is not a career you pursue for fun,” Bowie said. “You really have to want it and be dedicated.”
Both speakers offered information on the Sheriff’s Office Cadet Program. Sheriff’s cadets are college students working part-time for the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office. They perform duties related to police and corrections work, but these duties do not require police or correctional officer authority. Sheriff’s cadets experience on-the-job training to learn to enforce laws related to the protection of life and property, traffic control, crime prevention and station clerk duties.
The speakers said that the Cadet Program could be a gateway into all types of opportunities: forensic investigator, correctional officer, or sheriff’s deputy. The sheriff’s office provides a salary starting at $12.81 while cadets are in the program.
Clark, the last speaker, is a sheriff’s office background investigator for the personnel recruitment section. He gave students the tools to research employment with the sheriff’s office and addressed questions related to the background check and polygraph test.
He said for the corrections and the cadet program, candidates must be at least 17 years and nine months old to apply before they can officially be hired at 18, and the starting salary for a correctional officer is $42,515 with benefits. For a law enforcement career, the candidate has to be at least 20 years and has an annual salary of $46,466. There is a possibility for a $1500 bonus in both the corrections and law enforcement careers.
Clark said, “Integrity is everything when you’re a representative of the law, and not everyone can be a correctional officer or deputy; it comes with responsibility.”
The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office thanks the students for their active participation, and 1st Sgt. Ham and Captain David J. Randle, U.S. Navy (Ret.) for extending an invitation to speak to the students about a career in law enforcement and making right decisions on the path of life.
Interested in starting a career with the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office? Visit firstsheriff.com today.