Sheriffs and Police Law and Legal Definition

A sheriff is usually a county officer, representing the executive or administrative power of the state within his or her county. The sheriff is considered to be a public officer the territory over which he or she is sheriff, or in some states, an officer of the state as well. However, the police officers of a municipality are generally held not to be municipal officers, but are classified as agents of the state. In general, peace officers such as sheriffs, deputy sheriffs, marshals, and constables are classified as public officers, whether their compensation is in the form of salary or fees.

An official bond is collateral security for the faithful performance of an officer in the discharge of his or her official duties, and is usually required of a sheriff or constable on his or her taking office. The surety of a bond is obligated to make good any malfeasance of that officer. The purpose of a sheriff's bond is to provide indemnity against malfeasance and misbehavior in office, the misuse of powers belonging to the office, and overstepping of powers of the office.