LEONARDTOWN, Md. – State’s Attorney Jaymi Sterling reflected on the accomplishments and challenges of her administration in her first 100 days in office. With one of the largest mandates in the county’s history and after winning by an overwhelming margin, State’s Attorney Sterling was elected in 2022 to serve the people of St. Mary’s County as their new Chief Law Enforcement Officer.
State’s Attorney Sterling stated, “There has been a whirlwind of activity since I took my Oath of Office on January 3, 2023. It is my distinct honor to serve the people of St. Mary’s County and combat the difficult and unique challenges this community elected me to take on. I stepped into a heavily burdened office laden with an unprecedented number of homicide cases, no case management system, and several vacant staff positions. Yet, with the support of the community, my team and I rolled up our sleeves and went to work to establish a strong foundation rooted in ethics, integrity, hard work, and experience as we forged forward and made significant strides toward public safety for the community.”
State’s Attorney Sterling’s first action was to capture all cases involving sex offenses, children, or guns and elevate those matters to the Circuit Court to ensure focused prosecution by experienced felony attorneys. These deliberate changes serve as a small snapshot of State’s Attorney Sterling’s overall paradigm shift and her commitment to making our communities safer while adding protective measures for our most vulnerable victims.
Other milestones accomplished by State’s Attorney Sterling in her first 100 days include:
A STRICT ADHERENCE TO TRANSPARENCY AND INTEGRITY
State’s Attorney Sterling immediately halted the previous practices of accepting money in exchange for dismissing criminal prosecutions.
State’s Attorney Sterling instituted policies ensuring our attorneys will fairly and fully prosecute all cases as the evidence and circumstances allow. Prosecutors must dismiss cases only when justice demands and never for payment.
DEVELOPED FISCALLY CONSERVATIVE SOLUTIONS
State’s Attorney Sterling submitted a successful legislative initiative (HB526) that is guaranteed to save St. Mary’s County taxpayers approximately $300K annually by collaborating with the Department of Human Services to streamline child support services with a commonsense approach bringing immediate and direct benefits and savings to the county.
State’s Attorney Sterling utilized available grant opportunities by applying to bring new funding of more than $1.9M into the county. If awarded, these grants require no county match ($0):
- Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant, and Substance Abuse Program Grant – $1.3M funding opportunity
- Performance Incentive Grant – $500K funding opportunity
- Gun Violence Reduction Grant – $100K funding opportunity
With a prudent fiscal approach, State’s Attorney Sterling has carefully saved the county thousands, and possibly millions, of dollars in construction projects by repurposing existing office space rather than requesting a new facility, which ultimately eliminates the need for costly capital improvement projects.
State’s Attorney Sterling signed the Controlled Dangerous Substances Work Memorandum of Understanding with the Maryland State Police that supplies the county with an allied forensic chemist to perform focused and prioritized forensic analyses of St. Mary’s County drug cases, giving St. Mary’s County direct access to state-of-the-art MSP facilities without burdening the county taxpayers with the costs of building, maintaining, and staffing its own facility.
INITIATED TECHNOLOGICAL UPGRADES AND ENHANCEMENTS
State’s Attorney Sterling immediately moved to modernize the office process and more efficiently serve our community by:
- Acquiring PROSECUTORbyKarpel, a case management system that integrates with law enforcement, court, and attorney software platforms, allowing prosecutors to focus on effectively administering justice for victims.
- Integrating a Demonstrative Evidence Technician to assist prosecutors in the preparation of exhibits so they may present complex evidence in ways jurors can easily comprehend.
- Establishing a partnership with Nighthawk LEOVision, a cloud-based digital data forensic analysis platform for more efficient and effective examination of various investigative materials.
RELENTLESSLY ADVOCATED FOR VICTIMS AND VICTIM SERVICES
State’s Attorney Sterling testified and successfully advocated for legislation establishing harsher penalties to those convicted of the sexual abuse of a minor by expanding the age range of child victims (HB164: Sexual Offenses – Crime of Violence and Lifetime Supervision). The bill is expected to be signed into law and go into effect in October of this year.
A Victim Witness Unit has been established and is staffed with two victim witness advocates, one for each State’s Attorney’s Office division.
State’s Attorney Sterling utilized her network and collaborated with well-established victim witness units from multiple State’s Attorney’s Offices throughout the State who partnered to provide free expert training for our newly established Victim Witness Unit to provide excellent services to those directly affected by crime, a service our community has been without.
State’s Attorney Sterling created policies and procedures to ensure victims receive all required notifications during legal processes.
A physical space was created to provide safety and confidentiality for victims and witnesses during court appearances and trials.
INNOVATIVELY DEVELOPED STAFFING SOLUTIONS
State’s Attorney Sterling implemented a Court Liaison Officer by using an existing staff position to streamline processes for efficient prosecutions, while keeping law enforcement officers on the streets longer and in court only when necessary for testifying in trial.
A grants researcher and writer position has been developed to locate and apply for supplemental Federal and State funding for public safety initiatives.
An External Affairs Director position was created to coordinate crucial community initiatives, to include: Project Graduation, The Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation’s Badges for Baseball and Healthy Lifestyles program, Child Abuse Awareness events, Victims’ Memorial recognitions, law enforcement recognitions for prosecutors, and event participation requests from our community and allied partners.
THE WAY FORWARD
“There is much more to be done,” said State’s Attorney Sterling, “Violent crime rates in the county are at an all-time high. However, I am confident in the tremendous abilities of the prosecutors, paralegals, and staff members in the office. Public safety is our primary concern, and we will be relentless in our efforts to serve the citizens of St. Mary’s County.”
Don’t know what ya got til it’s gone .
Bye , bye to the good ole boy system ..
Such a breath of fresh air over the previous DA.
Waiting to see if violations of protective orders will ever be taken seriously by police and prosecutors. Will believe it when I see it.
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