State police aim to recruit local talent for agency
Troopers visited North Point High School criminal justice students
For those wishing to protect and serve their community, the Maryland State Police is ramping up its recruiting efforts in search for men and women from Charles County ready to join the next generation of troopers.
Leading the charge locally is La Plata barracks commander Lt. Jimmie Meurrens, a longtime trooper who spent several years as a paramedic with the agency’s aviation unit, often tasked with extracting severely injured people to a hospital.
“I want to recruit and hire Charles County residents and see them come back to Charles County to work after the academy,” he said, noting a limited number of local troopers at the barracks. “Not only would they already be familiar with the geographical area, which is always a challenge to learn, but they would also have pre-existing community ties which could help them provide better overall police services.”
Meurrens, who also worked as a detective in the past, wants to dispel the common misconception that the state police are only tasked with patrolling the highways. In fact, there is a long list of specialized assignments a trooper can request: accident reconstruction, aviation command, K-9 unit, criminal investigations, forensic sciences, homeland security, dive team, as well as many others.
On Wednesday morning, Meurrens visited students enrolled in North Point High School’s criminal justice program, a threeyear program for those interested in pursing a career in the field.
He was accompanied by Cpl. Wesley Jefferson and Sgt. John Edelen, who shared their experiences as state troopers with the class.
Jefferson, a standout linebacker at the University of Maryland under Coach Ralph Friedgen, passed up a shot at the NFL to fulfill his childhood dream of joining the ranks of “Maryland’s finest.” His former roommates were NFL stars Vernon Davis and Shawn Merriman. It is no coincidence that during his time with the Maryland State Apprehension Team he was often tasked with with handling the 55-pound battering ram, or “the master key,” as he called it.
“I knew I wanted to be in law enforcement when I was 5 years old,” he said, adding that the revelation came while watching an episode of “Cops” with his father. “It’s by far the best job in the world … To me, being a Maryland state trooper was way more important [than football].”
Edelen, who moved from Prince George’s County to White Plains as a teenager, answered questions and shared what it was like to be a K-9 handler. He spent several years building bonds with a bloodhound and a German shepherd; the dogs lived at home with him, as is typical for handlers.
“I really enjoyed that time of my career,” said Edelen, who requested the assignment in large part for his desire to remove narcotics from the streets. Like Jefferson, he knew he wanted to be a state trooper from an early age. “For me, it was state police or nothing,” he said. He joined the Maryland State Police at age 18 through its cadet program. Edelen also emphasized to the students that troopers can earn an associate’s degree tuition-free upon graduating from the six month live-in academy.
“Troopers are always focused on fulfilling the Maryland State Police’s mission of ensuring that Maryland is a safe place to live, work and visit. As a department, one of our goals is to develop an efficient and effective workforce” said Meurrens after speaking to the class. “Today, I wanted to encourage those young men and women to continue down the path they are on while presenting them with an opportunity to join the Maryland State Police and serve their local community upon graduation.”
Lt. Jimmie Meurrens, the Maryland State Police La Plata barrack commander, encourages students to look into the many different career paths within by the agency.
Sgt. John Edelen answers questions about his role as a K-9 handler for Maryland State Police.
Cpl. Wesley Jefferson shares his experiences as a Maryland State Trooper with students of North Point High School’s criminal justice program.