David Grogan, a resident of Bowie, Md., wants to use his experience as a United States marshal to fight crime in Prince George’s County by serving as the next elected sheriff. Grogan announced his run against Prince George’s County Sheriff Melvin High in June. Grogan told the AFRO it is time for a new face in the position. “I am running for sheriff because I want to bring respect and dignity in law enforcement in Prince George’s County,” he said.
Retired U.S. Marshal David Grogan. (Courtesy Photo)
The sheriff is the chief law enforcement officer for the Prince George’s County court system. The sheriff’s office was created in 1696 and was the only countywide law enforcement agency until 1931, when the police department was founded.
The sheriff, his deputies and staff are responsible for law enforcement services at the two county courthouses and serving court-ordered warrants, writs, protective orders and other injunctions imposed by the county courts. The sheriff’s office has limited patrol responsibility with county police and it deals with domestic violence issues. In addition, sheriff’s deputies are posted at all the county’s public high schools.
Grogan said the present sheriff, who, like Grogan, is African American, has problems that are fixable. “A lot of people don’t know who the sheriff is,” Grogan said. “I also think that the officers of the sheriff’s department should be more professional in their dealings with the public as well as be more visible. Young people need to know who the sheriff is and what his responsibilities are.”
Grogan is a retired U.S. marshal who worked in the agency for 26 years. He made a name for himself through his hobby, bodybuilding, and for being a whistle-blower. Grogan was part of a $300 million lawsuit that claimed the U.S. Marshals discriminated against African Americans. He settled his portion of the lawsuit for an undisclosed amount and retired in 2013.
Grogan said he is qualified to be sheriff despite not having served as a deputy in the office because a U.S. marshal and a sheriff have similar responsibilities. “Being a marshal is like being a deputy sheriff on the federal level,” he said. “I served as a U.S. marshal at the D.C. Superior Court and was one of the supervisors for a D.C. regional fugitive task force that tracks and catches dangerous fugitives that are on the America’s Most Wanted list.”
Grogan said he will modernize the sheriff’s office with the latest technology and recruit the right candidates to be deputy sheriffs. “I will hire people from the community to serve in the sheriff’s office,” he said.
In addition to High, Grogan will face deputy sheriff Kendal Wade, former U.S. Marshall Sylvester Jones, and former Capitol Heights Police Chief Anthony Ayers in the June 26, 2018 Democratic primary. The winner of that contest will compete for sheriff in the November 2018 general election.
However, the winner of the Democratic primary is the overwhelming favorite to be the next sheriff because of the party’s 3-to-1 registration edge over Republican/third party candidates.
Grogan challenged Maryland State Sen. Douglas J.J. Peters (D-District 23) in 2014 but lost in the Democratic primary.
Grogan is campaigning hard, making stops throughout the county and participating in Labor Day parades in Greenbelt, Laurel and Bowie. He is not a member of an election slate, a group of candidates who run together for different offices. “As the election draws closer, I suspect I will join a slate when others see how my campaign develops,” Grogan said.
Emma Andrews has lived in Prince George’s County since the mid-1960s and has personally known every major political figure since that time. Andrews, a resident of Pepper Mill Village in central Prince George’s County, told the AFRO she isn’t familiar with Grogan but will keep an open mind.
“I really don’t know him,” she said. “I do know both Melvin High and Anthony Ayers and have known them for years. Melvin has done a fantastic job as sheriff and Tony grew up in the community I live in and I like them.”
However, Andrews said her mind isn’t made up on the sheriff’s race “and wants to see how things develop.”
Although Grogan and Jones announced their bids for sheriff, neither on has filed papers with the Maryland Board of Elections, yet. The deadline to file for candidacy is on Feb. 27, 2018.