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St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office Announces Passing of Former Sheriff – Joseph Lee Somerville, 81

It is with profound loss, humility and sadness that the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office announces the passing of former Sheriff Joseph Lee Somerville. Sheriff Somerville died on April 1, 2021 at the age of 81. Sheriff Somerville’s terms in office from 1977 to 1982 were historic. A native of Loveville, Somerville was St. Mary’s County’s first black sheriff’s deputy when he joined the Sheriff’s Office in 1966. In 1977, Somerville became both the first black sheriff in St. Mary’s County and in the state of Maryland when he was appointed by the governor to complete the previous sheriff’s term. Sheriff Somerville went on to win the 1978 election for St. Mary’s County Sheriff, which then made him the first elected black sheriff in St. Mary’s County and in Maryland as well. At the time of the 1978 election, Sheriff Somerville was only the sixth black sheriff in the entire United States, according to “America’s First, A History of America’s Oldest Continuously Operating Sheriff’s Office.” In addition, Sheriff Somerville saw two of his sons continue in his tradition of law enforcement as Kevin Darryl Somerville served with the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office for 25 years. Kevin Somerville also ran […]

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