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As the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office celebrates Black History Month, we feature the long and distinguished career of Corporal Andrew Holton.
Thirty-six years with the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office, Cpl. Holton #73 is the last agency employee still working for us who was hired under Sheriff Joseph Lee Somerville Sr.
Sheriff Somerville was St. Mary’s County’s and the State of Maryland’s first black sheriff, appointed to office in 1977 and elected in 1978.
Holton joined the Sheriff’s Office in September 1979 when there were 30 deputies in the agency. Sheriff Somerville advised his deputies then, “Treat everybody the way you want to be treated. Show respect and you’ll get respect back and I try to do that in everything I do,” Cpl. Holton said in a recent interview.
Holton left the Sheriff’s Office in 1986 due to back and neck injuries sustained while on duty. He went through the Prince George’s County Police Academy a second time and returned to the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office in 1994 and has been serving ever since in the Patrol and Special Operations divisions.
Holton is a St. Mary’s County native – growing up in Mechanicsville and graduating from Chopticon High School in 1976. His father was a Military Police Officer in the Army, working at Indian Head for 25 years, on the nightshift.
While in high school, Holton knew he wanted to be either a professional firefighter or a police officer.
In his lengthy career, Holton said that working with young people is the favorite part of his duties. He served as a School Resource Officer at Great Mills High School for two years and then 11 years back at his alma mater – Chopticon High School.
Holton played a pivotal role in implementing the Hot Spots Team in Lexington Park in the late 1990s and early 2000s and part of the Sheriff’s Office’s Community Policing/Community Supervision Team in place at the time.
In 1998, “we as a team lowered the crime rate in Lexington Park,” significantly, Cpl. Holton said. It took a lot of community outreach in the area, working with disadvantaged youth and bringing in several agencies that worked together toward the same goals.
Cpl. Holton was very proud of that accomplishment. “I was like, ‘wow.’ It took a lot of teamwork, a lot of people had to come together,” he said.
In addition to his career as a law enforcement officer, Cpl. Holton dedicated much of his time to volunteer programs. He served on boards for a local soup kitchen, St. Mary’s Caring; the Spring Ridge Middle School Advisory Committee for After-School Programs; the Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run Committee for St. Mary’s County and the Neighborhood Accountability Board for Lexington Park, just to name a few.
Cpl. Holton currently works in the Child Support Unit of the Special Operations Division. He has no plans to retire anytime soon, but when he does, he said, “I’ll probably come back.”
A member of the Knights of Columbus and St. John’s Catholic Church, Cpl. Holton said his spiritual side gives him the strength he needs in dealing with the challenges that come with being a law enforcement officer. “Every day I pray. On Sunday, I get my battery charged. This is a tough job. I try to be positive. Faith is very important,” he said.
Cpl. Holton shared his advice for young people who are considering joining law enforcement. “It’s tough but give it a try. It’s fulfilling to help people. You work with people to get problems solved,” he said.
“His career of community engagement, volunteerism and commitment to youth programs is an example to us all,” Sheriff Steve Hall said. “We have been blessed to have such a tremendous individual within our ranks for so long who has provided so much back to the community.”
Disclaimer: In the U.S.A., all persons accused of a crime by the State are presumed to be innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. See: https://so.md/presumed-innocence. Additionally, all of the information provided above is solely from the perspective of the respective law enforcement agency and does not provide any direct input from the accused or persons otherwise mentioned. You can find additional information about the case by searching the Maryland Judiciary Case Search Database using the accused's name and date of birth. The database is online at https://so.md/mdcasesearch . Persons named who have been found innocent or not guilty of all charges in the respective case, and/or have had the case ordered expunged by the court can have their name, age, and city redacted by following the process defined at https://so.md/expungeme.