Sheriff’s Office Takes Step Forward in 20th Century Law Enforcement by Providing Patrol Cars

After years of arguing over whether the Sheriff’s department should have county-supplied police cars, the agency finally started patrolling in official vehicles in 1968.  In opposition to the plan, one commissioner said that if we give cars to those deputies, they’ll just go out and ride all over the county.  Others argued it would cost too much money to provide four squad cars.  Those people said the system that paid officers ten-cents a mile to use their own transportation was adequate.

Year after year, the commissioners would never agree that it was less costly to provide county owned autos or that having a visible law enforcement presence prowling the roads was a good idea.  As things stalled with the commissioners refusing to allocate funds in the budget, the state delegation finally got involved, passing legislation requiring the county to purchase vehicles.

For the first time in the history of the agency, Sheriff Thomas H. Mogle, Jr., and his four full-time deputies drove county supplied police vehicles  in 1968.  It was none too soon for the small law enforcement agency, but at least they were catching up with other departments such as Elkton, Newark, North East, Chesapeake City and others.  Those small municipalities  started purchasing police vehicles for their lawmen as early as the 1920s.  The squad cars were fully equipped with a police radio, official markings, lights, and a siren.

Having caught up with other law enforcement agencies in one area, Sheriff Mogle set out to help improve the underfunded and understaffed agency’s manpower.  He’d inherited a department with four full-time deputies to maintain law and order, oversee the jail, answer police calls, serve court papers, and provide courtroom security.  The Sheriff argued that the force should be doubled to eight-men, but that argument went around and around.  So the state delegation once again stepped in to resolve things, passing legislation that increased the size of the force.

Sheriff Mogle inspects his larger force in 1969

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2 responses to “Sheriff’s Office Takes Step Forward in 20th Century Law Enforcement by Providing Patrol Cars

  1. But the real “fight” was keeping the vehicles maintained while waiting for funding for the next set of cars. I was driving one of the original “fleet” one day (a black unmarked Chevy Biscayne) when I was stopped by a State Trooper for having a loud muffler. Once the trooper realized who I was, we had a laugh, but it was an embarrassing moment ! haha !

  2. Deputy Logan, thanks for sharing that info.

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