FORT DETRICK, Md. -- New Chief of Police Corey Steffy began his law enforcement career as a Soldier, but can you guess where he began his civilian career?
“I’ve been involved in law enforcement for a long time now, essentially since I left high school,” said Steffy. “I entered active duty as an MP, and spent eight years in the Army. After leaving active duty, my first civilian law enforcement job was here at Fort Detrick.”
He has even worked with many of his new team members previously, either on active duty or as a civilian police officer.
“I worked here for just over two years before going to the Maryland State Police. In a sense, returning to this agency is just me returning to my old team,” said Steffy. “But, I’m coming back a lot more mature and with a lot more experience.
“The team here at Fort Detrick is fantastic,” he continued. “They have been fully supportive of me taking on this role, and I look forward to moving the agency forward and in the right direction.”
The new chief is quickly acclimating to the community again, and embracing its best qualities. He had been on the job for just over one week when he attended the recent Night Out event, wasting no time in engaging with community members.
“We live and work in this great small, tight-knit community. It’s a wonderful environment,” said Steffy. “It’s been a real breath of fresh air so far, getting out at community events and being able to talk to so many residents. I come from working at an agency where my work was primarily done in big cities and densely populated areas, which is an entirely different environment, and coming back here has been great.
“I certainly understand that we are here to support the community and that’s what we’re going to do. The closer our department is with the community, the better it will be for everybody,” he said.
Steffy believes that the culmination of his experience, from the military to Fort Detrick to MSP, gives him good perspective and a clear vision for the direction of the agency.
"I know how different law enforcement agencies operate; how they function,” he said. “I know what it’s like to stand a guard post and to be a patrol officer, and after a great career with the MSP, I have a wealth of experience. I want the members of our police department here at Fort Detrick to be as well trained and as experienced as agencies outside the gates.”
One way he envisions doing that is by building close relationships with allied agencies in the area, bringing them on post to conduct training and sending his officers outside the gates to learn how they operate and function.
“Often times when a serious event occurs, we’re all going to be working together and we need to be on the same page,” said Steffy. “That’s why the close relationship there is important to me.”
The chief is well aware that challenges await, and he is immediately and actively working to combat one well known foe: complacency.
“Keeping our force vigilant, avoiding that tendency to slip into routine patterns of behavior, and watching for and reporting questionable behavior are all important for keeping our community safe,” said Steffy. “I think that applies to the police force, the guard force, and everyone who lives or works on post. If we notice something, it’s our responsibility to put it on someone’s radar so it can be examined more closely. We have emergency managers, physical security experts, the police and guard force, and all of those work in combination with the community to keep assets in our community safe.
“We recognize that vigilance and security can be inconvenient at times,” he continued. “It may seem like a nuisance sometimes, but the community needs to understand that everything we do is motivated by good intentions. What you may view as an inconvenience, may be necessary to ensure your safety.”
Steffy believes building trust and better communication between his agency and the community will also help create a more secure environment.
“I plan to, and I want our officers to, get to know the people here on post and build trust in that relationship. The better we know each other, the better we’ll communicate with each other,” he said. “If you’ve never spoken to a police officer on post, you might be more reluctant to go report something out of the ordinary to the police department here. If you know me, or know members of our department, it is more likely you’ll bring something to our attention.”
“If you see me around post, or in town, please come up and introduce yourself. If it’s possible, I want to know every member of our community,” said Steffy.
“I’m glad to be back as part of the team here at Fort Detrick.”