In the News

Southern Maryland Leaders Experience the Front Lines of Public Safety

 CAPT Douglas Burfield, Executive Officer, Naval Air Station Patuxent River, tries 50-pound firefighter gear on for size.


LEONARDTOWN, Md. – April 11, 2023:  The Leadership Southern Maryland (LSM) Executive Program went behind the scenes of public safety on April 7 to learn about the operations and critical issues of tri-county law enforcement and fire and rescue services. The group met at the  University of Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute – Southern Maryland Regional Training Center in La Plata.

Chris Breedlove LSM ‘18, Chief of Zoning Enforcement for Calvert County, and Jay Mattingly LSM ‘20, Training & Quality Assurance Coordinator, St. Mary’s County Department of Emergency Services, orchestrated an action-packed day of exercises and demonstrations designed to give the executives a taste of what it’s like to be on the front lines of public safety.

Participants went behind the scenes of Charles County 911 Call Center operations and observed a firefighting demo by members of the Waldorf, Prince Frederick, and Hollywood Volunteer Fire Departments. Trooper 2 of the Maryland State Police Aviation Command briefed the group on its law enforcement, medevac, and search and rescue operations. Deputies from the Calvert County Sheriff’s Department Patrol Bureau demonstrated motorcycle patrol and drone operations. Instructors at the Southern Maryland Criminal Justice Academy demonstrated SWAT and K-9 operations and put volunteer participants through firearm training simulations. 

“The hyper-realistic scenario I was placed in for the firearm training simulation made me realize I had no idea how quickly an officer must assess and be ready to respond in situations,” said Toni Kruska, Donor Relations and Special Events Manager for the College of Southern Maryland Foundation. “I now have a deeper appreciation for the men and women who put their lives on the line for our community every time they step into their uniforms.”

A common theme in discussions was the challenge of recruiting and retaining public safety personnel. Sheriff Ricky Cox (Calvert), Sheriff Troy Berry (Charles), and Sheriff Steven Hall, LSM’18 (St. Mary’s) described outreach initiatives in schools and in the community to build relationships with youth and let them know their talents are needed.

The sheriffs and participants also discussed challenges related to crime rates, violence, and public policy, expressing confidence in the community’s ability to work together to discover solutions to problems. “Ultimately we all want safe, sustainable communities,” Sheriff Berry said.

Leadership Southern Maryland’s flagship Executive Program is an interactive and life-enriching nine-month, tuition-based “behind the scenes” experience designed to enhance the collaborative abilities of our region’s top senior professionals. LSM welcomes mid- to upper-level senior executives representing diverse geographic locations, industries, professions, ethnicities, genders, and other backgrounds who are committed to addressing the community needs of Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary’s counties. Applications for the Class of 2024 are open until April 15.



Leadership Southern Maryland is designated a 501(c)(3) organization by the Internal Revenue Service (EIN#26-2989381). Contributions are deductible as charitable contributions to the extent permitted by law.

For more information, please contact Dr. Sybol Anderson, Executive Director, Leadership Southern Maryland, at 301-862-SOMD, via email at, or visit