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
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.
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