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Role of Sheriff

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What is the role of a sheriff in a county/unincorporated area? How much power does he have? (I've read it varies from county to county --- wanted some real life anecdotes.)

Yes, I've researched, but I'm mostly unearthing a lot of errr wacky extreme political views. For those of you living in counties or unincorporated areas, please tell me a little bit about the role of your sheriff and the range of his/her power.

The story I'm currently working on involves the child of a sheriff and a crisis in the town.

Thanks!  :poker
#1 - July 27, 2013, 07:56 PM
Making metaphors out of molehills for over thirty years.

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I have spent several days these past two weeks in court with a friend. (She was a victim.) Anyway, I learned that the sheriff's department takes care of things in court, not the police department. Sheriff's deputies provide court security.

I don't know if this is any help to you at all, but you never know.
#2 - July 27, 2013, 09:02 PM

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Every little bit is help. I'm getting the idea that they have a fair amount of authority, which is important because the sheriff in my story sets curfews, etc, during this crisis. I'm double checking to make sure things are feasible. I googled ... and came up with a lot of stuff about the sheriff having more power than a president, and a bunch of really extreme political views.

I'll keep digging. I thought personal insight/anecdotes might help.
#3 - July 28, 2013, 06:13 AM
Making metaphors out of molehills for over thirty years.

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In our county, the police handle law enforcement and the sheriff's office handles court duties, but when the police need support, the sheriff's office steps up.

In nearby smaller counties, there is no police department, so the sheriff's office handles all of it.  Since the sheriff is an elected office, that can be a little complicated.
#4 - July 28, 2013, 08:33 AM
VAMPIRINA IN THE SNOW (Disney-Hyperion, 2018)
BUSY-EYED DAY (Beach Lane Books, 2018)
GROUNDHUG DAY (Disney-Hyperion, 2017)
among others

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I live in a large (and I do mean large for IN) rural county.  The town I live in has a police dept. Albeit small, at times it gets help from both the Sheriffs Dept. and the State Police.

The Sheriff's Dept. runs the jail, has the authority in the court system, and polices the remaining county. It also polices the rest of the county and the remaining small towns. 

There is a documentary, free, on HULU, called The Academy, which is about training LA County Sheriff deputies. I found it very informative.  It is primarily a training film, but it shows what a deputies duty is and all the different jobs there are to do in the system.

Almost every state has a Sheriff's Association and I believe there may be a national association.  Many states elect their sheriffs, but some states appoint them. 

Can you tell I did research in this area?  :aah
#5 - July 28, 2013, 09:37 AM
You must do the things you think you cannot do.  Eleanor Roosevelt

http://www.lizstrawwrites.com/

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My 3rd great grandfather was the first sheriff to die in the line of duty in Ohio, but I guess that's not what you're looking for. (grin)



#6 - July 28, 2013, 09:40 AM

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Thanks .. this all helps, and gives me some ideas of where to research.
#7 - July 28, 2013, 03:34 PM
Making metaphors out of molehills for over thirty years.

The only personal experience I have had with a sheriff is that an attorney I worked with was trying to prevent him from seizing a client's property to satisfy a court judgment against the client.   

I found this online for my county.  It does list the departments, which gives an idea of duties:

http://www.co.westmoreland.pa.us/index.aspx?nid=341
#8 - July 28, 2013, 09:09 PM

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Thanks! This helps.
#9 - July 29, 2013, 07:40 AM
Making metaphors out of molehills for over thirty years.

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Yay, your post about PA lit a light bulb and I googled for Georgia sheriffs specifically.
http://www.fultonsheriff.org/

Thanks. I had initially googled for things like county sheriff authority ... and I got a bunch of stuff I didn't want to weed through.

Thanks again, for everyone's help. Looks like my plot is realistic ... yay ... not something else I have to redo.
#10 - July 29, 2013, 07:44 AM
Making metaphors out of molehills for over thirty years.

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Small town histories might be helpful, except I think you said you were writing a contemporary story. In the late 19th century and early 20th, writing town histories and family histories was quite a popular past time.

For family histories, which often include interesting stories, you can try the Harold B. Lee Library at BYU. They have been digitizing every family history they can get their hands on for years and all the information is available to the public  online for free.
#11 - July 29, 2013, 10:46 AM

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The sheriff in our county is my neighbor (I don't know him other than to wave to...don't like his politics and I'm rather sure he wouldn't like mine if he knew me!). But your question got me thinking because it's the police department who always seems to respond to emergencies, etc...so I googled. This is what it says our department does: 

Donald Blaine Smith heads the Putnam County Sheriff's Department, which consists of one undersheriff, three captains, one chief investigator and 85 officers. The department features a marine unit, a narcotics enforcement unit, a civil bureau, a school resource officer and additional specialized units. The department's territory is county-wide, so at times it works with the State Police or different village police departments. Residents can visit the office to report crimes, incidents and domestic abuse or to inquire about pistol permits. The Sheriff's Department is attached to the Correctional Facility, which employs 57 correction officers.
#12 - July 29, 2013, 11:15 AM

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