LEONARDTOWN, Md. – Becoming a law enforcement officer is a serious commitment and requires lengthy training at the Southern Maryland Criminal Justice Academy, followed by more months of field training.
Deputy Recruit Bianca Melton, age 21, said she is eager to join the training academy to continue her career in law enforcement with the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office.
Born in San Diego to parents in the Navy, Naval Air Station Patuxent River brought her family to St. Mary’s County. Following high school, Melton worked at the St. Mary’s County Emergency Communications Center as a dispatcher for more than two years, taking and issuing calls to emergency responders.
She joined the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office as a deputy recruit in September, first working at the St. Mary’s County Detention and Rehabilitation Center, including duties in the main control room.
“Being hired by the Sheriff’s Office has been the biggest accomplishment I’ve achieved in my life so far,” she said. “It was a long nerve-wracking process that proved to be worth it in the end.”
Melton is now working at the Sheriff’s Office Headquarters, assisting the Property Unit and Police Services Unit. “It’s basically wherever you can assist,” she said of her current duties, while she waits to join the next academy class in March.
“I’m ready to go,” she said. The training session for deputies lasts for seven months and a deputy recruit must be at least 20 years and six months old to enter.
Once graduated from the academy, new deputies join the Sheriff’s Office Patrol Division, accompanied by Field Training Officers for an average of three to four months over the course of four phases.
Melton said she looks forward to several years of working in Patrol, but said she is also interested in becoming a detective with the Criminal Investigations Division at some point in the future. “I want to be able to move around and get a taste of everything,” she said of working in the agency.
“I encourage anyone who is even thinking about applying to just do it. Be the change you want to see and encourage others to do the same,” she advised.
Melton is joined by two other deputy recruits with the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office – Shanna Peters and Cody Donaldson, among other recruits with the Calvert and Charles counties sheriff’s offices who are next to enter the academy in March.
Melton just bought a home of her own in St. Mary’s, “so I’m not going anywhere,” she said.
For more information about careers with the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office, visit firstsheriff.com or the St. Mary’s Sheriff’s App.