Where did the title of Sheriff come from, what is it's word origin, what were the duties of the sheriff at it's inception compared to what they are today? Who was the first Sheriff of Pendleton County and when was the office established and how has the Office of Pendleton County Sheriff evolved over the years?
Mention the word “sheriff” and many people’s minds will fill immediately with the images of shootouts and gunfights in the Wild West.
With few exceptions, today’s sheriffs are elected officials who serve as a chief law enforcement officer of the county. Although the duties of the sheriff vary from jurisdiction, the sheriff’s office is generally active in all three branches of the criminal justice system: law enforcement, the courts and corrections.
This page is designed to give you a brief understanding of the Office of Sheriff and when and where the office originated from in the United States, the Commonwealth of Kentucky and Pendleton County.
The Sheriff Today
There are over three thousand counties in the United States today and almost everyone of them has a Sheriff.
In the majority of the states, the office of sheriff is established by the constitution. Most of the remaining states were established by an act of state legislature.
There are two states in which the Sheriff is not elected by the voters. In Rhode Island they are appointed by the Governor and in Hawaii deputy sheriff’s serve the Department of Public Safety’s Sheriff’s Division.
Most Sheriffs’ offices have a responsibility for law enforcement, although the authority of the Sheriff varies from state to state, the Sheriff has the power to make arrests within his or her own county. Some states extend this authority to adjacent counties or the entire state. Many sheriffs’ offices perform routine patrol functions such as traffic control, accident investigations, transport of prisoners, criminal investigations and some even have specialized activities
Sheriff’s are responsible for maintaining the safety and security of the court, take charge of juries when outside of the courtroom, service of court papers such as subpoenas, summons, warrants and civil process and prisoner extradiction.
In some states the Sheriff is responsible for the operations of the county jail.
The sheriff is also responsible for collection of property taxes. Which is the same function that they served under the Kings in England.