Governor Hogan Speaks at Memorial Service for Prince George's County Sheriff Melvin C. High

Government and Politics

November 30, 2022

From: Maryland Governor Wes Moore​

Governor Hogan Speaks at Memorial Service for Prince George's County Sheriff Melvin C. High

ANNAPOLIS, MD—Governor Hogan today delivered remarks at the memorial service for Prince George’s County Sheriff Melvin C. High.

Following are the governor’s remarks, as prepared for delivery:

It is an honor to be back home in Prince George’s County and to have this opportunity, on behalf of all the people of Maryland, to pay tribute to the life, the memory, and the legacy of Sheriff Melvin High.

I want to begin by extending my deepest sympathies to Sheriff High’s family—to his wife, Brenda, his daughter, Tracy, and his grandson, Christian—to his brothers and sisters in the Prince George’s County Sheriff’s Department, and to all those who loved him.

A “fixture in the region” with an “illustrious career”—a “servant leader” and “mentor”—a “true professional” and a “true gentleman.” These are just some of the ways that Sheriff High has been lovingly described over the past few weeks. He wasn’t just respected—Melvin was revered, and he was beloved all throughout the DMV over the course of an incredible life of service, which spanned more than five decades.

Born in Mississippi in 1944, Melvin received his bachelor’s degree at Tennessee State University before joining the Marines and serving in Vietnam. In 1969, he joined the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, D.C., eventually rising to the rank of Assistant Chief of Police, which placed him second in command and led to such notable achievements as handling the security arrangements for the first inauguration of President Clinton. He later became the Chief of Police in Norfolk, Virginia—the first African American to ever hold that office—where he is credited with introducing community policing.

In 2003, Melvin became the Chief of Police here in Prince George’s County during a particularly challenging time and made it his mission to restore trust within the local community.

Then in 2019, Melvin was elected to serve as Sheriff of Prince George’s County. He would be re-elected twice and hold that post for 12 years, during which Sheriff High mentored younger deputies, launched innovative crime prevention strategies, received countless community honors and awards, and was often called upon to provide guidance and best practices to law enforcement officials across the nation.

Sheriff High truly put his whole self into his work. It was his calling, his passion. His humility, compassion, and dedication were matched only by his commitment to leaving the agency he was elected to serve better than he found it. In that, he was undoubtedly successful.

He let his work speak for itself, and the proof can be seen here today. It is evident in the caliber of the men and women who served alongside him and evident in the agency he leaves behind, which he spent 12 years modernizing for future generations.

To his brothers and sisters in the Prince George’s County Sheriff’s Department, I ask that each of you let your lives and your actions carry on the goodness and selfless service that marked Sheriff High’s life. And to his family and friends, I pray that you find comfort and strength knowing that Sheriff Melvin High will not ever be forgotten.

On behalf of all the people of a proud and grateful state, we say farewell, thank you, and may he rest in peace.

May God bless and watch over his family, the men and women of the Prince George’s County Sheriff’s Department, and all of our law enforcement officers and first responders.