The Cecil Democrat published a series in 1967, interviewing local officials about moving Cecil County forward in the last third of the 20th century. In the nearly 50-year-old chat with Sheriff Thomas H. Mogle, Jr. he sketched out the minimum needs for effective law enforcement in the county.
The Sheriff’s Department required a minimum of 55 personnel to handle all its functions, including answering complaints, patrolling, serving papers, providing court security, and maintaining the jail, the county’s top lawman noted. That force included 27 road officers, with one assigned to each of the nine election districts, around-the-clock, as a patrol beat. “They would answer complaints and could do a great deal to prevent crime.”
Eight men should staff the 100-year old jail so two deputies would be on duty. “There are just not enough people in this office. When four phones ring and the office is full of prisoners being brought in, one man behind the desk can’t handle it all. We need a turnkey and someone on the radio and telephone.”
Judiciary related duties for the Circuit Court and the magistrates required eight men to handle courts and serve papers. There was also a need for two secretaries and a part-time matron.
One of his problems was hiring and keeping qualified personnel. A deputy in 1967 made $1.50 an hour ($4,000 a year) while a clerk for a magistrate received $2.00 an hour. The Sheriff estimated annual starting pay should be between $6,000 and $7,000.
The reporter estimated a budget of $279,000 for annual staff and when asked if this wasn’t rather high, the former state trooper said, “it isn’t cheap but nothing worthwhile is going to be free.” He also noted that there were other costs, as there should be county owned cars and 13 were required. (The agency fought a long battle to get patrol cars and those vehicles were still a year away.)
Harford County had county owned patrol cars and 24 men in their Sheriffs’ Dept., he noted. They have “police running out of their ears; they have police departments in Bel Air, Aberdeen, and Havre de Grace, they have the state police, and they still hire 24 men for a county-wide police force.”
“Of course the county would be getting a lot better service in return for the expenditures. With a force similar to the one outlined we could almost wipe out crime in this county,” the sheriff suggested. When asked what he felt his chances of getting some of the men and equipment were, especially in light of the new economy moves the commissioners were making, he said: “Neither I nor the next six Sheriffs in this county will ever see this.”
He concluded that he wouldn’t run again unless drastic changes were made for the “betterment of the people and the police force. I thought I could help the county. I didn’t realize what the situation was in this office, I couldn’t. . . . No individual or political group or organization will dictate to the Sheriff’s Department while I’m in office. There’s too much politics entering into these things. That’s why there’s friction. I’m no politician.”
Noting the situation he inherited, he said, “There was nothing here when I came, not even a flag. I’ve ordered a flag and pole now. It will cost $55 and if the county refuses to pay for it I will.”
In the next paper, Samuel duPont wrote in to support the “overworked sheriff and his underpaid, overworked men” as he noted that “the sheriff has had five men to work with (Aug. 1967). Imagine, just five men to cover the entire county, with its hundreds of roads and hundreds of square miles! this doesn’t mean five men per shift, but five men althogher. Now, start figuring three shifts a day (You want around-the-clock police protection don’t you ?). There are “two few men, too much work — and then we have the gall to criticize our sheriff and his deputies!” We don’t even provide our men with official cars, as most other counties do. We’ll soon be “expecting them to shake tambourines on street corners for contributions, like the Salvation Army folks. We have refused the sheriff sufficient manpower.”