Mehrling's brother, Ken, told The Associated Press that the former chief died Sunday at an assisted-living facility in Derwood, Maryland. He said Carol Mehrling had been suffering from Alzheimer's disease for many years.
Mehrling served as police chief from 1995 to 1999. She was appointed by then-County Executive Doug Duncan. At the time, Montgomery County became the largest police department in the United States to be led by a woman.
Mehrling joined the department in 1971, working for the juvenile-aid bureau. At the time, that was the only place on the force where female officers were permitted to work. She rose through the ranks and worked in supervisory positions before becoming chief.