Sheriff Melvin C. High Biography

Melvin C. High 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 the appointed Chief of Police for Prince George’s County.   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 the delivery of basic law enforcement services to a Metropolitan County of nearly 900,000 residents and served as the principal advisor to the County Executive on public safety.

Prior to joining the Prince George’s County Police Department, Sheriff High served as Chief of Police for the city of 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 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 a number of members holding master 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 was also responsible for the implementation of D.C.’s first community policing initiative, CEP (Community Empowerment Policing).

Sheriff High is a current member of the Board of the Economic Development Corporation of Prince George’s County and the Prince George’s County Pension System. He also serves as the Chairman of the Office Holders Nominating Committee of the Prince George’s County District for the Boy Scouts of America.

Other public service include activities as:  Adjunct professor of Criminal Justice Administration at the University of the District of Columbia in 1993; Chairman, City of Norfolk’s United Way Campaign (2001); Chairman of the Virginia Chiefs of Police Law Enforcement 1998 Torch Run to raise funds to support the Virginia Special Olympics; Alumni Board Member of CIVIC, a Hampton Roads organization  of community, business and professional leaders dedicated to the improvement of the region; Chairman, Hampton Roads Chapter 200+ Men’s Taskforce on Safe and Drug Free Schools and; Chairman of the Recruitment and Retention subcommittee of the Norfolk Literacy Partnership.

Sheriff High holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Tennessee State University (1966).  He taught high school science in Mississippi until he was inducted into the Marine Corps in 1967, and served in Vietnam.  He also holds a Masters degree in Business and Public Administration from Southeastern University in Washington, D.C. (1980).  Sheriff High has completed graduate work in Criminal Justice Administration and Behavioral Science and Management at American University, the University of Virginia and George Washington University.  He is a graduate of the Contemporary Executive Institute at George Washington University, the Senior Executive Institute at the University of Virginia, and the FBI National Academy. 

Sheriff High received a mayoral citation for commanding the successful investigation and apprehension of a serial killer known as the “shotgun bandit,” who terrorized the District for three months in 1993.  He also received a letter of appreciation from President Bill Clinton for services to the visitors and citizens of Washington, D.C. (1993).  He is the recipient of numerous other awards including the Martin Luther King, Jr. Family Life Institute’s “Real Dream” award in 1998.  and,  the W. Garner Community Service Award in 2001 from the Norfolk chapter of the NAACP among others. 

Sheriff High is a member of NOBLE (National Association of Black Law Enforcement Executives), IACP (International Association of Chiefs of Police), the Association of FBI National Academy Graduates, the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police, the Hampton Roads Chiefs of Police Association, the Maryland Chiefs of Police Association and the Maryland and National Sheriffs’ Associations.

The younger of two sons of a farmer and teacher from a small town in Union County, Mississippi, Sheriff High currently resides in Upper Marlboro, Maryland with his wife, Brenda.  Their daughter, Tracy, graduated from Yale University in 1996 as a history major, and finished Harvard University Law School in 1999.  She is now in private practice in New York City.  The Highs are members of St. Joseph Catholic Church, Largo, Maryland.

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