Prince George’s County Sheriff Melvin C. High died yesterday after being admitted to Washington Hospital Center. Sheriff High was 78 years old.

Melvin C. High is the elected Sheriff for Prince George’s County, Maryland. He was sworn in as Sheriff on December 7, 2010. As Sheriff, he is responsible for leading, managing, and commanding more than 300 deputies and civilians in safety and crime prevention efforts to protect and serve the citizens of Prince George’s County.

Preceding his service as Sheriff, Melvin High served as Prince George’s County’s appointed Chief of Police. He was appointed to this position and served from 2003 through 2008. In this capacity, he led the Nation’s 32nd-largest local Law Enforcement Agency in delivering basic law enforcement services to a Metropolitan County of nearly 900,000 residents. He served as the principal advisor to the County Executive on public safety.

Before joining the Prince George’s County Police Department, Sheriff High served as Chief of Police for Norfolk, Virginia. During his ten-year tenure, Sheriff High developed Norfolk’s first community policing initiative, PACE (Police Assisted Community Enforcement), which resulted in crime reduction each year of his administration except in 1995.

Sheriff High also introduced crime prevention strategies such as CRO (Community Resource Officers), SRO (School Resource Officers), Police Cadets, mobile office programs, and the expansion of tactical crime prevention efforts. He also revised recruitment and retention strategies that brought the Department to full staffing and increased the number of women, African-Americans, and civilian professional staff. Chief High raised the educational levels of the Department, with several members holding master’s and doctoral degrees.

From 1969 until 1993, Sheriff High was a member of the Metropolitan Police Department, Washington, D.C., where he retired as Assistant Chief of Police and second in command. As the Field Operations Officer in Washington, Sheriff High was responsible for citywide crime prevention, criminal investigations, and the safe management of hundreds of annual parades, festivals, demonstrations, and protests regarding national government issues. Security arrangements for President Bill Clinton’s first inauguration were also among Sheriff High’s responsibilities. He also implemented D.C.’s first community policing initiative, CEP (Community Empowerment Policing).

“It is with profound sadness that I am announcing the passing of Sheriff Melvin C. High.  Sheriff High was feeling ill and checked into Washington Hospital Center, where he passed earlier today.  I have been in contact with his wife, Brenda, and his daughter, Tracy.  I have shared my personal condolences with those of the agency, our law enforcement community, and those of this community who dearly loved and respected Sheriff High.  The family is asking for privacy at this time, and I implore everyone to respect their wishes,” said previous Chief Assistant Sheriff and now current Prince George’s County Sheriff Darrin C. Palmer.

Sheriff Melvin C. High was serving and nearly completing his third term as the elected Sheriff for Prince George’s County.  He was first elected in 2010.  Over the last twelve years, Sheriff High modernized the Sheriff’s Office focusing on the professional growth of the agency, top-tier training, effective service delivery, and accountability.  A significant accomplishment has been accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA), demonstrating contemporary, 21st-century agency standards and the verified proof the agency meets or exceeds those standards.  The agency was accredited four years ago and received annual reaccreditation as recently as this year. 

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...

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