Law Enforcement 101: What Does A Sheriff Do?
Typically a county’s top officer in law enforcement, a sheriff is a county official who is elected. One of the sheriff’s roles is law enforcement, with the power in their own jurisdiction to make arrests. Other functions may also be called for, such as prisoner maintenance and transportation, traffic enforcement and control, and investigations into accidents. Larger sheriff’s departments might engage in such specialized law enforcement duties as criminal investigations, among others.
What Do Sheriffs Do?
Sheriffs have a wide variety of duties. They respond when calls come in for service, they enforce laws, and they patrol assigned areas. Sheriffs also issue citations when conducting traffic stops, arrest suspects, investigate crimes, fill out forms, write detailed reports, and prepare cases, testifying in court. They collect crime scene evidence, conduct interviews with witnesses and suspects, observe suspects’ activity, and arrest them.
A sheriff’s daily activities vary with the occupational specialty held and whether the sheriff is working for a government or local agency. Duties also differ when it comes to federal agencies. These enforce various aspects of the law. Regardless of other job duties or where they are located, all sheriffs at each level must keep detailed records and write reports that will be necessary for testifying in court.
What is the Sheriff’s Workplace Like?
The workplace of a sheriff can be stressful, physically demanding, and dangerous. Sheriffs have confrontations with criminals. They need to be alert constantly, ready to deal with a variety of threatening scenarios, and to do so appropriately. When they work at the scenes of accidents or crimes, sheriffs may need to deal with suffering and death. They may encounter these frequently and must be capable of supporting the families of victims through difficult situations. This may take a toll on a sheriff’s private life, but many officers find helping members of their communities to be rewarding.
Job Market for Sheriffs
The United States currently has an estimated 684,200 sheriffs. The job market for sheriffs is predicted to grow by another 7% before 2026. Over the next decade, the outlook for new sheriffs is a need for over 50,000 officers. That number is based on new needed sheriffs and filling the roles of retiring members of law enforcement.