Eastern Shoreman Thomas Mogle, Cecil County Sheriff 1966-70 Died

I noticed that Thomas Mogle, Jr. of Princess Anne passed away on Oct. 23, 2008, while reading the Salisbury Daily Times the other day.  Tom Mogle served as the sheriff of Cecil County from 1966 to 1970.  A graduate of Chestertown High School Class of 1943, he served in the U.S. Army during World War II.  After the war he entered the Maryland State Police and in 1966 he was elected to the county’s top law enforcement post after defeating Edgar Startt.  Four years later, he was defeated by Sam DuPont. 

Police work in Cecil County was far different forty years ago.  At the time he assumed command of the agency, it was terribly under resourced.  It had four deputies and no county owned cars to run the jail 24-hours a day, transport prisoners, serve judicial papers, protect courts, and answer police calls.  As an experienced law enforcement professional, he had completed advanced training with the state police so he knew what was required to improve efficiency for the county agency. 

Brought Agency into the Automboile Age
Cecil Demcorat, June 1970

The County Commissioners, Sheriff Mogle and his four deputies stand proudly beside one of the new patrol cars. The photo is from the Cecil Democrat.


One of his objectives was to get county supplied patrol cars for his men.  A lengthy battle took place between the county commissioners and the sheriff, with some of the commissioners arguing that if those men were given cars they’d just go out and ride all over the county.  Mogle argued that “cars that are marked and carry proper police equipment are a definite deterrent to crime.”  When the issue deadlocked with the county board, he got the state legislature to pass a law requiring the purchase of police vehicles.  Finally the Cecil County Sheriffs Office entered the automobile age as four marked patrol cars went in service on July 1, 1970.  That must have been an exciting day for the five man force. 

Mogle was a fiery lawman, often having run ins with county officials and others.  Sometimes he’d threaten to lock them up when they argued with him or blocked a budget request.  One time he got into a protracted fight with the local fire company ambulance service, when they refused to transport an inmate with an communicable disease.  In those days, the sheriff lived in the old jail on North Street and he hated the fire siren atop the North Street firehouse, directly across from his apartment.  One time he’d returned home after working some really late hours.  About the time he fell asleep the fire siren wailed out.  The lone deputy working as a turnkey that night recalled that the sheriff grabbed a rifle and ran outside announcing he was going to blast that siren.  His deputy talked him out of it, or it would have been a most colorful incident. 

Mogle brought a new emphasis on trying to professional the agency and he worked to do what he could in a time when support and money was hard to come by in Cecil County law enforcement. 

Related Article:  1970 Trail of H. Rap Brown Creates Tension Across Maryland

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11 Responses to Eastern Shoreman Thomas Mogle, Cecil County Sheriff 1966-70 Died

  1. Thomas Mogle says:

    Thank you for taking the time to document my father’s service to the citizens of Cecil County. He was very proud to have served as Sheriff. My earliest memories were of living at the Jail where deputies and inmates interacted peaceably–most of the time. It was the 60’s and he was an agent of social change and social justice.

  2. Mike says:

    Thanks for stopping by to post a comment, too. If you ever have more memories to share about living in the jail or your father’s role in law enforcement, please feel free to post them here.

    I remember your father, but I was just a teenager in those days. I do very well remember how he was a change age. Generally the sheriffs prior to him, didn’t have too much professional law enforcement experience so as I recall, he sat out right away to professionalize the agency in those challenging times for lawmen on the Shore.

    And the resources were so limitied in those days. Even getting the cars for the deputies to patrol in took a lot of effort on his part since some of the county commimssioners were oposed to get patrol cars for the small force. One of them said “If we get cars for those deputies, they’ll just start driving all over the place!”

    I ran across a few other pictures of him, doing something while Sheriff at an auction the other day. I’ll try to scan a couple and get them up so you can see them.

    • Yes, thank you. My brother told me about this post, and we also lost our mother last fall, so we’re just now able to see all of the nice things you’ve shared about Dad. I had to go into the Cecil County Sheriffs office to inform them of his death and request a cruiser for his funeral procession. I was greeted by several officers and shown my father’s picture on the wall. At the time, I lived in Elkton, and never knew just down the street his picture was on their walls. I was asked if I was his granddaughter. LOL I was his last child, and only daughter, and turned 35 the day we buried him. I have heard so many stories, all good, but some that make you cringe of his service. He was both respected and admired, but sometimes greatly misunderstood. Thank you for your kind words.
      Jenn Mogle

  3. Pingback: March 1970 Trail of H. Rap Brown Creates Tension Across Maryland « Window on Cecil County's Past

  4. Mike says:

    Jenn, thanks so much for readng the post. I remember Sheriff Mogle, though I was very young at the time. He took the small agency and worked hard to professionalize it, getting it in shape for the new law enforcement challenges of the 1960s. Change can sometimes be hard, especially when you have to bring the politicians along. It would have been great to have had the oppotunity to interview and get his reactions to the times, which were changing so much. Anyway thanks so much.

  5. Pingback: Eastern Shoreman Thomas Mogle, Cecil County Sheriff 1966-70 Died (via Reflections on Delmarva’s Past) | smilingclowns2

  6. Jim Fenske says:

    Jim Fenske,
    I not only worked for Tom but Loved him as a great sheriff, but as a great friend.
    Jenn, Mike and Tommy I miss you and missed the last part of his life. If you ever need
    any help let me know.
    God bless you.

  7. Jim Fenske says:

    John I didn”t mean to forget you. I wanted to thank Mike for his artical he wrote and sent it out as was.

    George (Jim)

  8. Mike says:

    Jim I have a few more photos from Sheriff Mogule’s era. I’ll pos a couple more of those later.


  9. Hi! Mr. Fenske! Please send me your email! Mine is Jennifere_3@msn.com. Miss you and hope all is well with you and Donna. And Yes, the hot tea and wild turkey keeps flowing, we have kept the tradition alive!

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