Sheriff's offices[ edit ] The law enforcement agency headed by a sheriff is most commonly referred to as the "Sheriff's Office", while some are instead called the "Sheriff's Department. A regular officer of a sheriff's office is typically known as a deputy sheriff, sheriff's deputy or informally as a deputy.
In a small sheriff's office, the deputies are supervised directly by the sheriff. Large sheriffs offices have several ranks in a similar manner to a police department. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has thousands of regular deputies, who are 8 ranks below the sheriff. The actual second-in-command of the sheriff typically holds the title of chief deputy or undersheriff. In some counties, the undersheriff is the warden of the county jail. Of the 50 U. The two exceptions are Alaska , which does not have counties , and Connecticut , which has no county governments.
This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. July Learn how and when to remove this template message The role of a sheriff's offices varies considerably from state to state and even from county to county. Some states extend this authority to adjacent counties or to the entire state. In a small sheriff's office, the sheriff is likely to carry out law enforcement duties just like a regular deputy or police officer.
In medium-sized or large sheriff's office, this is rare. Many sheriff's offices also perform other functions such as traffic control, animal enforcement, accident investigations, homicide investigation, narcotics investigation, transportation of prisoners, school resource officers, and courthouse security.
Larger departments may perform other criminal investigations or engage in other specialized law enforcement activities. Some larger sheriff's departments may have aviation including fixed-wing aircraft or helicopters , motorcycle unit, K9 units , mounted details, or water patrols at their disposal. In some areas of the country, such as in California's San Bernardino , Riverside , Orange , Sierra , Tulare and Ventura counties, the sheriff's office also has the responsibility of a coroner 's office, and is charged with recovering deceased persons within their county and conducting autopsies.
Many sheriff's departments enlist the aid of local neighborhoods, using a community policing strategy, in working to prevent crime. The National Neighborhood Watch Program, sponsored by the National Sheriffs' Association, allows civilians and law enforcement officers to cooperate in keeping communities safe. As the trends of sheriff's law enforcement duties becoming more extensive and complex continues, new career opportunities for people with specialized skills are opening up in sheriff's offices around the country.
Among the specialties now in demand are underwater diving, piloting, boating, snow skiing, radar technology, communications, computer technology, accounting, emergency medicine, and foreign languages.
Sheriff's offices may coexist with other county level law enforcement agencies such as county police , county park police, etc.
July Learn how and when to remove this template message Sheriffs in the United States generally fall into three broad categories: Restricted service — provide basic court related services such as keeping the county jail , transporting prisoners , providing courthouse security and other duties with regard to service of process and summonses that are issued by county and state courts.
The sheriff also often conducts public auction sales of real property in foreclosure in many jurisdictions, and is often also empowered to conduct seizures of chattel property to satisfy a judgment. In other jurisdictions, these civil process duties are performed by other officers, such as a marshal or constable. An example is the Philadelphia Sheriff's Office in Pennsylvania. Limited service — along with the above, perform some type of traditional law-enforcement function such as investigations and patrol.
This may be limited to security police duties on county properties and others by contract to the performance of these duties in unincorporated areas of the county, and some incorporated areas by contract.
Full service — The most common type, provide all traditional law-enforcement functions, including countywide patrol and investigations irrespective of municipal boundaries. There are two federal equivalents of the sheriff; the first is the United States Marshals Service , an agency of the Department of Justice. There are 94 United States Marshals, one for each federal judicial district. Marshal and his or her Deputy Marshals are responsible for the transport of prisoners and security for the United States district courts , and also issue and enforce certain civil processes.
Sheriff types by state[ edit ] Alabama[ edit ] In Alabama, a sheriff is an elected official and the chief law enforcement officer in any given county. There is one sheriff for each of Alabama's 67 counties , with a varying number of deputies and various staff members usually dependent on the population. A sheriff's office generally provides law-enforcement services to unincorporated towns and cities within the boundaries of the counties.
Alaska[ edit ] The office of sheriff does not exist in Alaska by the State's Constitution. Instead the functions that would be performed by lower sheriffs and their deputies such as civil process, court security, and prisoner transport are performed by Alaska State Troopers and Alaska DPS Judicial Services Officers, who are the equivalent of "bailiffs" in lower jurisdictions.
AJS officers wear uniforms similar to troopers and staff district court facilities statewide but not magistrate's courts. Their peace officer status is limited to courthouses and when transporting prisoners in custody. Additionally, with no county jails, Alaska Dept.
Of Corrections runs regional prisons which have separate male and female inmate "pretrial wings", which keep pretrial inmates who are legally innocent, separate from convicted prisoners who are serving a court imposed sentence following a criminal conviction.
Pretrial wing units are the AK equivalent of lower county jails. This uniquely makes Ak DOC officers both correctional officers and jailers. Pretrial units house persons charged who are formally charged with crimes and remanded to pretrial custody, vs. Arizona[ edit ] Arizona Sheriff later U.
Senator Carl Hayden In Arizona, a sheriff is the chief law enforcement officer of one of the 15 counties of the state, with a varying number of deputies and assorted staff usually dependent on population. After sentencing, many convicted persons are remanded over to the ADC to serve their sentence, but this has not always been the case.
Arkansas[ edit ] In Arkansas, sheriffs and their deputies are fully empowered peace officers with county-wide jurisdiction and thus, may legally exercise their authority in unincorporated and incorporated areas of a county. All peace officers in Arkansas—whether sheriffs, city police, state troopers, or constables—have statewide arrest powers for any felony criminal offense committed within their presence or view.
Under state law, sheriffs and their deputies, as well as all other law enforcement and peace officers, are "on-duty" 24 hours a day, meaning they can make arrests with or without a warrant provided the warrant-less arrest is a result of a violation of law committed in their presence or view. The duties of an Arkansas sheriff generally include providing law enforcement services to residents, managing county jail s , and providing bailiffs for the county, district, circuit, and other courts within the county.
By the Arkansas Constitution, the sheriff is not the highest ranking law enforcement officer in a county—that power falls with the county coroner. The county coroner can conduct investigations into deaths within their county, have subpoena powers, and can conduct "coroner's inquests" much like a grand jury into certain deaths.
The sheriff, on the other hand, has no such powers other than investigative powers , although counties have the option to make sheriffs the highest ranking law officer, relegating the county coroner to the 2nd highest ranking law officer, although this is rarely done and doesn't change the official powers of the county sheriff. There are 75 county sheriffs in Arkansas, one for each county, regardless of its population size. With very limited exceptions, sheriffs and their deputies may exercise their official authority only within the geographical boundaries of their specific county.
The office of sheriff was created by the state constitution and the office has not been substantially changed in years. Sheriffs in Arkansas are elected in even numbered years by citizens of their county to serve a term of two 2 years in office in accordance with the state constitution.
Sheriffs rely upon the county's legislative body, known as the " Quorum Court ", to appropriate funding and approve the yearly operating budget. However, in all other circumstances, the sheriff is entirely independent in the management of his elected office and is not subservient to or accountable to any other elected county official or body. California[ edit ] In California , a sheriff is an elected official and the chief law enforcement officer in any given county.
The sheriff's department of each county polices unincorporated areas areas of the county that do not lie within the jurisdiction of a police department of an incorporated municipality.
As such, the sheriff and his or her deputies in rural areas and unincorporated municipalities are equivalent to police officers in the cities. The sheriff's department may also provide policing services to incorporated cities by contract see contract city.
Sheriff's departments in California are also responsible for enforcing criminal law on Native American tribal land, as prescribed by Public Law , which was enacted in The law transferred the responsibility of criminal law enforcement on tribal land from the federal government to state governments in specified states.
All peace officers in California are able to exercise their police powers anywhere in the state, on or off duty, regardless of county or municipal boundaries, thus California sheriffs and their deputies have full police powers in incorporated and unincorporated municipalities, outside their own counties, and on state freeways and interstates.
Before , there was a constable or marshal in most but not all of California's 58 counties. The constable or marshal was responsible for providing bailiffs to the Municipal and Justice Courts and for serving criminal and civil process. During a reorganization of the state judicial system early in the first decade of the 21st century, the roles of constable, marshal, and sheriff were merged, so that California sheriffs assumed the duties of most marshals, and the position of constable was eliminated entirely.
The marshals offices continued to exist in only three counties— Shasta , Trinity , and San Benito —where they perform all court-security and warrant-service functions. With over 10, people, it is the largest Sheriff department in the United States and provides general-service law enforcement to unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County, serving as the equivalent of the city police for unincorporated areas of the county as well as incorporated cities within the county who have contracted with the agency for law-enforcement services known as "contract cities" in local jargon.
It also holds primary jurisdiction over facilities operated by Los Angeles County, such as local parks, marinas and government buildings; provides marshal service for the Superior Court of California - County of Los Angeles ; operates the county jail system; and provides services such as laboratories and academy training to smaller law enforcement agencies within the county.
San Francisco Sheriff's Department Because the City and County of San Francisco are consolidated and coterminous —the only consolidated city and county in California—the San Francisco Sheriff historically possessed law enforcement authority. However, as the San Francisco Police Department provides general police service for the city, the Sheriff's Department handles judicial duties, staffs the jail, and provides law enforcement services for city facilities such as San Francisco City Hall and San Francisco General Hospital.
San Francisco Sheriff's deputies back up the San Francisco Police as needed, as well as make arrests for criminal and vehicle-code violations while performing their duties. Colorado[ edit ] The Denver Sheriff Department maintains the county correctional facilities as well as court functions. Law enforcement and investigations are the responsibility of the Denver Police Department.
Denver's sheriff is appointed by the mayor, and serves as the sworn head of the sheriff department. The Denver Sheriff is, along with Broomfield's , an anomaly within the state. In every other county, the Sheriff is an elected official and is the chief law enforcement officer of his county. Connecticut[ edit ] Connecticut abolished county sheriffs in by Public Act All civil-process-serving deputies were sworn in as state marshals, and criminal special deputies were sworn in as judicial marshals.
Constables remain municipal officers governed by their respective town or city. A few towns have local sheriffs that primarily perform process serving duties and may act as a sergeant at arms for town meetings. Prior to the abolition of county sheriffs in , duties of sheriffs in Connecticut were limited to process serving, court bailiffs, and executing search and arrest warrants.
Other law enforcement duties, such as emergency response, highway patrol and traffic enforcement, and maintaining public order were left to municipal police departments or constables or the Connecticut State Police in places where no local police agency exists.
Delaware[ edit ] The first Constitution of Delaware in made the sheriff a conservator of the peace within the county in which he resides, either New Castle , Kent , or Sussex. The sheriff was, and still is, chosen by the citizens of each county at the general elections to serve a four-year term. Responsibilities include processing orders of the court system; summoning inquests, jurors, and witnesses for the courts; and, conducting execution sales against personal and real estate property.
County Sheriffs and their regular appointed deputies also take into custody unincarcerated persons immediately upon conviction of an imprisonable offense and convey them to the appropriate correctional facility to serve their terms.
The County Sheriffs and their deputies do not engage in typical law enforcement; their primary role is to provide enforcement services for the courts.
Typical law enforcement, such as the enforcement of motor vehicle laws, investigation of crimes and routine policing patrols are performed by state, county, and municipal town or city police forces. Home Rule Act of , there are many functions which would normally be reserved for the Office of the Sheriff, which are instead delegated to various other agencies.
County sheriff Florida Florida sheriffs are one of a handful of "constitutional" Florida offices; that is, the position was established as part of the Florida State constitution, which specifies their powers and that they be elected in the general ballot.