State po­lice aim to re­cruit lo­cal tal­ent for agency

Troop­ers vis­ited North Point High School crim­i­nal jus­tice stu­dents

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By AN­DREW RICHARDSON arichard­son@somd­news.com Twit­ter: @An­drew_IndyNews

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.”

STAFF PHO­TOS BY AN­DREW RICHARDSON

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.

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