In principle, a sheriff is a legal official with responsibility for a county. In practice, the specific combination of legal, political, and ceremonial duties of a sheriff varies greatly from country to country.

The word "sheriff" is a contraction of the term "shire reeve". The term, from the Old English scīrgerefa, designated a royal official responsible for keeping the peace (a "reeve") throughout a shire or county on behalf of the king. The term was preserved in England notwithstanding the Norman Conquest. From the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms the term spread to several other regions, at an early point to Scotland, latterly to Ireland, and to the United States.

Sheriffs exist in various countries:

  • Sheriffs are administrative legal officials similar to bailiffs in the Republic of Ireland, Australia, and Canada (with expanded duties in certain provinces).
  • Sheriffs are judges in Scotland.
  • Sheriff is a ceremonial position in England, Wales, and India.
  • In the United States of America, the scope of a sheriff varies across states and counties. The sheriff is always a county official, and serves as the arm of the county court. In urban areas a sheriff may be restricted to court duties such as administering the county jail, providing courtroom security and prisoner transport, serving warrants, and serving process. Sheriffs and their deputies may serve as the principal police force.

In British English, the political or legal office of a sheriff is called a shrievalty.

Other articles related to "sheriff, sheriffs":

Sheriff - Modern Usage - United States
... In the United States, a sheriff is generally, but not always, the highest law enforcement officer of a county ... A sheriff is in most cases elected by the population of the county ... The sheriff is always a county official and may serve as the arm of the county court (but these may be called marshals) ...
High Sheriff Of Rutland
... This is a list of High Sheriffs of Rutland ... The High Sheriff is the oldest secular office under the Crown there has been a Sheriff of Rutland since 1129 ... Formerly the High Sheriff was the principal law enforcement officer in the county but over the centuries most of the responsibilities associated with the post have been transferred elsewhere or ...
High Sheriff Of Yorkshire
... The High Sheriff of Yorkshire was an ancient High Sheriff title originating in the time of the Angles, not long after the invasion of the Kingdom of England, which was in existence for ... A list of the sheriffs from the Norman conquest onwards can be found below ... The sheriffs were responsible for the maintenance of law and order and various other roles ...
Frank S. Leffingwell - Early Life
... joined the Benton County police force and became deputy Sheriff in 1898 ... In 1900 he ran in a 3 way election for the position of Sheriff as the Democrat candidate ... hotly contested race by 119 votes to become Benton County's new Sheriff defeating incumbent Democrat Sheriff Andrew LaVoie ...
Thomas Lafayette Houchins Jr.
... November 2, 1923, Oakland, CA – February 13, 2005, Castro Valley, CA) was sheriff for the Alameda County Sheriff's Office of Alameda County, California from 1975 ... He gained some notoriety as a tough sheriff in his dealings with Berkeley, California protestors in the 1960s ... His policing style then, while serving under then-sheriff Frank Madigan, was described as "kick ass and take names" by Sheriff Charles Plummer (who was a field commander for the Berkeley Police ...

Famous quotes containing the word sheriff:

    The man’s an M.D., like you. He’s entitled to his opinion. Or do you want me to charge him with confusing a country doctor?
    —Robert M. Fresco. Jack Arnold. Sheriff Jack Andrews (Nestor Paiva)