Understanding Leadership Roles: SheriffSheriff Primary Duties:
The sheriff is the primary law enforcement officer in the county. As the conservator of the peace, the sheriff strives to prevent crime and maintain safety and order of citizens in the county. Although the sheriff may enforce laws within the entire county, by professional courtesy, they do not do so within municipalities, which have their own law enforcement agency. As an "arm" of the judiciary, the sheriff is responsible for the service of civil documents by order of the court, such as subpoenas, summonses and judgments.
The sheriff has the authority to appoint deputies who may perform all duties of the sheriff. In addition to regular deputies, the sheriff may appoint special deputies and auxiliary deputies. Special deputies perform specified duties, such as serving summonses, while auxiliary deputies perform limited duties, such as traffic control and emergency aid. In counties with fewer than 3 million inhabitants, the sheriff may also hire court security officers. These officers have arrest power solely connected to their function in the courthouse and may carry weapons if appropriately trained, with the consent of the sheriff.
The sheriff's office strives to improve services to the community through innovative programs and additional services. Some familiar programs include D.A.R.E., which provides education in schools to teach kids the dangers of drug abuse and how to prevent it; Crime Stoppers, which provides an anonymous way to report crime and fugitives; K-9 programs, which provides canine drug detection and tracking abilities for both law enforcement and search and rescue operations; and I Live Alone, which provides home visits and crime prevention for the elderly.
Custodian of Courthouse and Jail:
The custody and care of the courthouse and jail are under the jurisdiction of the sheriff. The sheriff is authorized to impose reasonable rules to control access to the county building(s) on holidays, weekends and during hours when it is closed to the public. The sheriff, having custody and care of the courthouse, has the power to employ courthouse janitors and all other custodial personnel. The county board has no authority to deprive the sheriff of such power by ordinance. While the sheriff exercises possession of the courthouse in a custodial capacity, the county board controls occupancy and judges assign courtrooms. The sheriff shall, in person or by deputy, county corrections officers or court security office attend all courts in their county when in session.