Office of the Sheriff for St. Mary's County Maryland was established to serve
and protect the citizens of the Mother County of Maryland. We are the oldest
Sheriff's Office in Maryland and one of the oldest in the nation.
is some debate as to when the first Sheriff in America took office. In 1634,
Virginia's first 8 counties were established, as was the case with St. Mary's
County. It is likely that these counties appointed a Sheriff at that time, but
no records exist to document this.
The St. Mary's County Sheriff's Office
can trace its history to Sheriff James Baldridge in 1637. Many accounts agree
that this is the first documented evidence of a Sheriff in the United States. We
have continually served the citizens of St. Mary's County during the past five
At the time of our beginnings, the Office of the Sheriff for
St. Mary's County was an appointive one. The Maryland Constitution of 1776
changed the Office of the Sheriff to an elective one. The Sheriff was then
authorized to appoint an Under-Sheriff, much like today's Deputy.
St. Mary's County Sheriff's Office uniform and marked police vehicles were
developed in 1966. At that time, the Sheriff's Office progressed from a part
time, "on-call" service to a full time, full service law enforcement agency.
The uniform shoulder patch worn by Sheriff's Office personnel emphasizes the St.
Mary's County seal. St. Mary's is the sole county in Maryland to have a complete
Achievement of Arms as its seal. Maryland is the only state in the nation to
have a true heraldic representation as its flag.
As the southernmost
county on the Western Shore, St. Mary's is surrounded by three bodies of water.
On the west coast is the Potomac River that separates Maryland from Virginia. On
the east coast is the Patuxent River that separates St. Mary's County from
Calvert County. To the south is the Chesapeake Bay.
Sites of interest in
our county include Historic Saint Maries City, (the first capital of Maryland,
Point Lookout, (the location of Camp Hoffman, the prison camp for Confederate
soldiers), and the Patuxent River Naval Air Station (home of the U.S. Navy's
Test Pilot School).