- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
A North Point High School senior is proving he has what it takes to be one of Charles County’s finest one day.
Brandon Morrison, 17, won first place with honors in the state Skills USA competition in the criminal justice competition May 5.
Brandon is part of the criminal justice program at North Point.
The program teaches youth about all aspects of the criminal justice system, from police and corrections to courts, and is a partnership with the Charles County Sheriff’s Office and the school system.
Brandon competed against 11 others in the state competition.
During the regional competition, Brandon finished in third place against 15 others.
According to information provided by North Point, several other North Point students received first-place awards at the SkillsUSA state competition: Elizabeth Prinkey, culinary arts; Stephanie Agbe-Davies, health professions professional portfolio; Kha-Ai Tran, medical mathematics; Jessie Kitts, medical terminology; Alex Corbin, Gaston Lopez, Noah Gibson, Ashlynn Stanle, Alyssa Moffat, Joel Rodgers, Breanna Spangler and Marie Sterba, quiz bowl; and Maggie Campbell, Julia Sutherland and Kiersten Rawson, tech prep showcase for health sciences.
Students taking second in their skill area were Sarah Younan, health professions professional portfolio; Lauren Brown, medical assistant; Bria Butler, medical terminology; and Katie Doran, nurse assistant.
Additionally, the students who captured third in their respective skill were Aliyah Bailey, customer service; Rosemary Crowl, Valen Gordon, Brooke Hayes and Alauna Martinez, health knowledge bowl; and Jacqueline James, preschool teaching assistant.
Several students at the Robert D. Stethem Educational Center also competed in the state competition including fourth-place winners, for Web design, Abram Brooks and Isiah Perez; fifth-place winners for broadcast news production, Kelly Dinges, James Graves, Jasmine Gray, Alyson Hughes andTashara Mitchell; HVAC fifth place, Nicholas Kavaky, 10th place Mare Lyon and 11th place Andrew Carter and eighth place for photography, Garrett Moreland.
SkillsUSA is a method of instruction aimed at preparing workers in public career and technical programs. It provides education experiences for students in leadership, teamwork, citizenship and character development.
Brandon said he would like to one day be a Charles County sheriff’s officer.
“Criminal justice is basically my life,” he said, recalling all the time spent with the program and activities associated with it.
With a military father, Brandon said he originally thought he would go into a military career.
Having grown up in the area and participated for the last four years in the Explorers and criminal justice programs, he said Charles County is the right choice when choosing a location to be a police officer.
Explorers Post 1658 is a program for young people between 14 and 20 who are interested in law enforcement. It offers an opportunity to learn about police work and acquire skills used by police officers.
As to why he wants to serve and protect, “it’s something different every day and you can help people out,” he said.
Charles County Sheriff Rex Coffey recently sat down with Brandon and his criminal justice instructor, Rhett Calloway.
Coffey (D) said the door to the sheriff’s office is wide open for him, should he choose to go through the academy.
“Brandon is outstanding. He is the cream of the crop,” the sheriff said, having worked with Brandon and other Explorers over the years.
Explorers assist at community service events and fingerprinting, take traffic and crowd control assignments, participate in neighborhood crime watch events and search for lost children.
Brandon is post captain this year, so he shows his leadership in a group of some 90 participants in Charles and St. Mary’s counties. The group meets at North Point.
Brandon said he applied for the Explorers program in the eighth grade and once he started, “I was hooked.”
Being able to work out different scenarios like one where a police officer would need to make a decision whether or not to shoot his gun, working a crime scene or making a routine traffic stop that turns out to be anything but routine are what attracts him.
“Anything can happen,” Brandon said.
For the competition, Brandon was asked to handle a 10-96, which is police code for a person having a mental health emergency.
“I talked to him, calmed him down,” Brandon said.
Brandon also had to work out a domestic argument between two sisters as part of the competition.
At the Skills USA competition, Coffey described the pressure as “unbelievable.”
“How he handled it is a testament to how he’s going to be,” Coffey said about Brandon’s future in law enforcement.
Competing is not out of the way for Brandon as now he trains for a national conference with the Explorers program, which will take place in Colorado in July, and the national Skills USA competition is scheduled for Kansas City, Mo., this month.
This is the first time a Charles County student has won the criminal justice event at SkillsUSA, according to the sheriff’s office.