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A new patrol car for the deputies is parked at the old jail on North St. in Elkton.

Q: Do you have any information on when the Sheriff’s Office started using police cars for law enforcement?

— Shannon Glover

A: After years of arguing over whether the sheriff’s department should have county-owned police cars, the agency finally started patrolling in official vehicles in 1968.

In opposition to the plan, one commissioner said that “if we give cars to those deputies, they’ll just go out and ride all over the county,” the Cecil Whig reported. Others argued it would cost too much to provide four squad cars. The elected officials added that a system that paid officers ten-cents a mile to use their own transportation was adequate.

Year after year, the commissioners never agreed that it was less costly or that having a visible law enforcement presence prowling the roads was a good idea. As things stalled with the commissioners the state delegation got involved, passing legislation in Annapolis requiring the purchase.

And on July 1, 1968, the small public safety agency marked a major milestone as the department entered the automobile age. For the first time in history, the sheriff and his four full-time deputies drove official vehicles.

— Mike Dixon

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