Sheriff Law and Legal Definition

A sheriff is a chief officer of a county responsible for law enforcement. The county's sheriff is often an elected position. The main duties of a sheriff are to keep the peace, including the pursuit and arrest of criminals, administering the county jail, providing bailiffs for court protection, , serving official legal documents on relevant parties, conducting judgment sales, and other acts ordered by the courts. The sheriff's uniformed police are called "deputy sheriffs". The sheriff provides police protection outside of incorporated city limits.

The sheriff's law enforcement duties include general and specialized law enforcement operations. These functions mayinclude patrol, traffic, general and specialized investigations, crime prevention, crime lab, crime analysis, criminal intelligence, narcotics enforcement, emergency services, licensing and communications.

The title of sheriff is believed to be derived from the Saxon "seyre", shire or county, and "reve", keeper, bailiff, or guardian.