Sher­iff’s of­fice hires cadet

The Kent Island Bay Times - - Front Page - By AN­GELA PRICE bay­times@kibay­times.com

CEN­TRE­VILLE — Kyle Brit­ting­ham, 19, is on his way to what he hopes will become a life­long ca­reer. The 2018 Kent Is­land High School grad­u­ate is the first cadet at the Queen Anne’s County Sher­iff’s Of­fice. He grad­u­ated in May and started the job mid July.

“He’s do­ing good,” said Ma­jor Dwayne Board­man.

As a cadet, Brit­ting­ham’s du­ties in­clude han­dling all walk-in fin­ger­print­ing; help­ing process pris­on­ers; the ad­min­is­tra­tive side of ev­i­dence con­trol, such as purging items no longer needed; help­ing the quar­ter­mas­ter; work­ing com­mu­nity events; and pro­mot­ing re­cruit­ment, Board­man said. Once cleared

by the county to drive, Brit­ting­ham also will help with fleet con­trol, he added.

The cadet can per­form a lot of the ad­min­is­tra­tive du­ties in the of­fice that a sworn of­fi­cer would oth­er­wise have to do, thereby free­ing that deputy to be out on the road, said Sher­iff Gary Hof­mann.

“The whole premise is we’re ready­ing him to enter the police academy and suc­ceed,” Board­man said. Re­cruits have to be 21 to be ac­cepted into the police academy. In the mean­time, ithe cadet po­si­tion is a full­time job; he’s learn­ing about the job; and the time counts to­ward his re­tire­ment.

“It pre­pares them (the cadets) for the police academy and it pre­pares them for the chal­lenges of the job,” Hof­mann said.

Brit­ting­ham said he has wanted to be a law en­force­ment of­fice since he was 6, fol­low­ing in the foot­steps of his fa­ther, a sergeant with the Worces­ter County Sher­iff’s Of­fice, and that de­sire grew as he got older.

“With all the crimes in the area, I just wanted to help. I am a peo­ple per­son,” Brit­ting­ham said.

He said he read about the sher­iff’s

of­fice start­ing the cadet pro­gram in the Bay Times and thought it would be a good place to start. He ap­plied to both the sher­iff’s cadet pro­gram and the Mary­land State Police cadet pro­gram, so then he had to de­cide which one to pur­sue.

Brit­ting­ham said he called both agen­cies and asked about the dif­fer­ences in the pro­grams. He found out the sher­iff’s of­fice han­dles about 80 per­cent of the calls in the county, and he would be able to work in the same area he is from, plus it would af­ford him the op­por­tu­nity to even­tu­ally fol­low in his fa­ther’s foot­steps in the SWAT unit and the Drug Task Force.

“I got to see what I was go­ing to be taught,” he said. “I do love it.”

So far, what he has en­joyed most has prob­a­bly been the ride­a­longs and work­ing at the fair, Brit­ting­ham said. “Ev­ery­thing is in­ter­est­ing. I’m here to learn.”

Brit­ting­ham isn’t afraid of hard work and said he learned his work ethic work­ing af­ter school at Kent Is­land Marine, where he took apart en­gines, helped re­place parts and win­ter­ized boats. He re­cently fin­ished putting to­gether the en­gine for his 22-foot, cen­ter­con­sole boat; next he’ll work on the floor, he said.

Other in­ter­ests in­clude skate­board­ing and gui­tar, which he has been play­ing since he was 4 and has fre­quently per­formed for church events and for fu­ner­als.

Brit­ting­ham is the son of Hank and Barb Brit­ting­ham, who adopted him at age 2 1/2 from Rus­sia. He didn’t speak English and his par­ents didn’t speak Rus­sian, although they do still have the pocket-size Rus­sian to English dic­tionary they were given at the time, he said.

He stud­ied Span­ish in high

school and speaks it flu­ently, some­thing he at­tributes to his back­ground of hav­ing to learn English at a young age. “I know how to learn an­other lan­guage,” he said. Hear­ing it, ap­ply­ing it and us­ing it just seem to come nat­u­rally, and he has a knack for un­der­stand­ing ac­cents — all things that will be help­ful as he pur­sues a ca­reer in law en­force­ment, he said.

Board­man said the cadet pro­gram not only pro­vides a good job and helps keep the fu­ture deputy on the straight and nar­row, it also makes sure he is phys­i­cally fit and is pur­su­ing higher ed­u­ca­tion.

He has to do a phys­i­cal fit­ness test every month that con­sists of a 1 ½ mile run, push ups, sit ups and stretch and reach, Brit­ting­ham said. Once a quar­ter he has to do the test with Board­man.

Cadets also are re­quired to be reg­is­tered in col­lege level classes. Brit­ting­ham is en­rolled in In­tro­duc­tion to Crim­i­nal Jus­tice and Law En­force­ment at Ch­e­sa­peake Col­lege for the fall se­mes­ter.

While Brit­ting­ham is the first cadet at the sher­iff’s of­fice, they are look­ing for a sec­ond, Board­man said. Two cadet po­si­tions have been funded. Their hope is that by the time a sec­ond cadet is hired, Brit­ting­ham will have enough train­ing and ex­pe­ri­ence he can teach the new re­cruit. Then that

re­cruit will train Brit­ting­ham’s re­place­ment when he en­ters the police academy.

“Re­cruit­ment is be­com­ing more and more dif­fi­cult through­out the coun­try,” Board­man said. “We hope to have this con­tin­u­ing stream of qual­i­fied academy re­cruits.”

Hof­mann echoed that thought, “The one thing that all police de­part­ments are fac­ing now is find­ing qual­i­fied ap­pli­cants.” His vi­sion for the cadet pro­gram is to re­cruit ap­pli­cants from the com­mu­nity at a young age.

“Hope­fully those young per­sons, those cadets, will look at that job a a ca­reer, not just a step­ping stone,” he said.

We’ll get them early, teach them to pro­tect and serve the needs of the com­mu­nity, to be re­spcetful and be re­spon­sive, he said.

Every ju­ri­dic­tion is dif­fer­ent, he added. The du­ties the Queen Anne’s County Sher­iff’s Of­fice are dif­fer­ent from the du­ties of a city police depart­ment.

“It’s an op­por­tu­nity to work with them (the cadets) and groom them, for them to learn our goals and ob­jec­tives,” Hof­mann con­tin­ued.

He said he hopes to see the cadet pro­gram ex­pand.

“We feel this is a win for ev­ery­body,” Board­man said.

PHOTO BY DWAYNE BOARD­MAN

Cadet Kyle Brit­ting­ham, right, pro­cesses a fin­ger­print re­quest un­der the su­per­vi­sion of Deputy Justin Custis.

PHOTO BY AN­GELA PRICE

Cadet Kyle Brit­ting­ham works at the Queen Anne’s County Sher­iff’s Of­fice booth dur­ing the Queen Anne’s County Fair.

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