What Does A Sheriff Do?
Sheriffs are typically elected officials who serve in 48 states. They mostly work in rural and unincorporated parts of the county where they responsible for ensuring the peace and order and safety of their jurisdictions. In the rural areas, sheriffs are seen as very influential because of the office they hold.
The specific responsibilities of sheriffs are dictated by the laws of the county government they serve. In general, they conduct patrol duties, undertake investigations of criminal activities and apprehend suspects. They also serve warrants and perform other civil duties such as enforcing an order for eviction for a tenant who has not paid rent. In some cases, they may be asked to carry out an order from the court to seize assets or properties. They can also undertake auction sales of foreclosed real estate properties in some areas.
To promote peace and order in the areas they serve and elicit participation of the neighborhood to prevent crime by organizing community policing efforts. They build relationships with the members of the community and conduct meetings with interest groups, among other methods, to determine how best the police can solve problems and what the civilians can do on their end to help. Thus, sheriffs need to cultivate excellent interpersonal relationships with the people in their respective jurisdictions to make community policing work.
Just like other law enforcement personnel, sheriffs also respond to emergencies. They provide first aid to those who are injured or sick. When they arrive at the scene, they evaluate the situation and determine the best course of action to take. Sometimes, the emergency can involve pursuing perpetrators of criminal activities. This can mean either vehicle chases or running after the criminals on foot—an activity which can bring with it an exchange of gunfire which can be quite dangerous.
Managing jails and prisoners is another responsibility that sheriffs undertake in many states. They are responsible for taking into their custody those persons who have been convicted of crimes and bringing them to their respective jail facilities to serve their sentences. They also see to it that there is order in the jail and that the rehabilitation efforts are being carried out correctly. They are also responsible for overseeing the security prisoners and ensuring that jail breaks don’t happen.
Sheriffs also perform administrative duties. These include coming up with a budget for the department’s expenses of the next year. In Mississippi, for example, the sheriff’s office ensures that the budget includes premium payments for insurance policies that safeguard the county’s interests such as insurance that protect against charges of false arrests or false imprisonments. Other administrative duties include keeping department reports, maps and charts, statutes and census reports, among others.
Sheriffs can be called upon to testify in court for various cases that they have handled. They prepare their testimonies, review the facts related to the case and bring the necessary pieces of evidence to ensure that they don’t leave out anything before going to court.
Since sheriffs are elective positions, elections are a major activity that they have to get ready for. Some of the election-related tasks include preparing banners and leaflets and coming up with a concrete plan to introduce to their voters to maintain peace and order in their jurisdictions. They also have to prepare for debates and other public speaking engagements that is a common feature in any election campaign.