Leonardtown, MD- A handful of St. Mary’s County citizens were joined by Sheriff Tim Cameron for Coffee with the Sheriff Friday, November 30. Sheriff Cameron may be one of the only police officers who doesn’t drink coffee but that didn’t stop him from discussing community matters and answering questions from those in attendance. The event took place at the Garvey Senior Activity Center and lasted about an hour and 40 minutes, giving the sheriff time to talk about the opioid epidemic, theft/fraud, mental health and staffing among other things.

This is the second year that the sheriff has attended the event which takes place at the Garvey, Northern, and Loffler senior centers. The sheriff began the event talking about heroin and the opioid epidemic, stating that “In St. Mary’s County, today, we’ve had 174 non-fatal overdoses [ODs] involving heroin or opiates. We’ve had 25 fatal overdoses with 5 or 6 cases waiting with the office of the chief medical examiner to determine the cause.” Sheriff Cameron also stated that Narcan, a drug used to combat overdoses, is “saving lives” and that the OD rate in St. Mary’s County is down compared to the rest of the country.

Cameron then stated that the biggest problem the community faces is theft from automobiles before moving into identity theft and fraud. The sheriff stated that the department recently hired a full-time fraud investigator who is retired from the Baltimore City police. Cameron praised the new hire, stating, “He’s very very good at what he does.” The sheriff shared a story of himself receiving a series of fraudulent calls where the fraudster disguised their phone number as that of the Montgomery County Chief of Police’s administrative assistant.

Mental health was another topic Cameron spent a fair amount of time on. He stated that the department does “emergency medical petitions if someone is a danger to themselves or others, we can take them into custody and, in this case, to St. Mary’s Medstar.” According to the sheriff, the department has issued 850 petitions, a substantial increase compared to the average of 350 per year. The sheriff explained that St. Mary’s is “one of two places, that [he knows] of, in Maryland that, when someone overdoses, will do a medical petition on them,” explaining, in part, the large quantity.

The event finished with Cameron fielding questions from the 10 who asked questions about overdoses, Narcan, mental health and more. The sheriff and attendees reminisced about the development of the county and how it has changed. Sheriff Cameron shared a story about being a St. Mary’s County police officer in 1982, where he’d drink hot chocolate while the other officers had their coffee outside of the 7-Eleven in California at 3 a.m., noting that they don’t have the ability to do that today.

Sheriff Cameron recently won re-election in November over Ted Bellavoine. This will be the sheriff’s fourth term.

Contact Jerold at staffwriter@thebaynet.com.