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Differences Between Sheriff And Police Department

Ashmeet Bagga
Even though a police department and sheriff department are both law imposing organizations, they are different in many aspects. The main aim of these organizations is to provide protection to public.
"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."
- George Orwell
You must have heard the word sheriff in movies or various TV shows and probably would have wondered if it means the same as a police officer. Sheriff department and police department - both are law enforcement agencies and are peace officers who risk their lives to protect the people of their city or their community.
The prime goal of both these divisions is to promote safety and increase the welfare of their state. They promote the well-being of their state through crime investigation, education, and patrols.
The procedure of becoming a sheriff is almost similar to that of a police officer. They need to participate in a written examination followed by physical examination and background check. They are trained to use firearms, operate a cop vehicle, and other necessary tasks.
But apart from these similarities the role each one plays comes down to the nature of their job. They have similar duties but some major differences helps to form a distinction between the two. This difference can be in the form of pay (salary), duties, and jurisdiction. Let's dig in deeper and learn about their differences.

Sheriff Department Vs. Police Department

Here is a table of comparison enlisting the differences between the two departments.
◼ The word sheriff is introduced from the concept of "shire reeve". Shire reeve stands for a person who looked after the power of the king in a district of England. The word sheriff was originated in the United States in the year 1600. In America, Sheriff denotes a law enforcement officer.
◼ The word police was derived in the year 1700 to enforce the laws or policies stated by the government. Metropolitan police force in London was one of the organized police force.
◼ A sheriff department has legal power over a wide area. They implement law in a state or a country, they usually guard outside the town and city limits, though they have full freedom to enter the police department's territory.
◼ A police department has jurisdiction over a small area, that means they usually patrol within the boundaries of a city or a town. Within their department, they have a mixture of personnel such as the bomb squad or riot police.
◼ Earlier sheriff department was confined to looking after court houses, jails, and, service of warrants. Now their role has expanded - they look after CSI units, patrol divisions, detective squads, etc. Apart from this, they act as a coroner's office wherein investigation related to any death case is handled by this department.
Police officers are responsible for looking after the city. They work towards making the city a safer place for their community, arresting people, educating citizens on how to be more secure within their environment.
Sheriff department takes cases pertaining to incorporated property. So if an incident takes place on such property, then it falls under their jurisdiction and they have the authority to handle the case.

◼ They look after unincorporated property. Therefore cases pertaining to the aforementioned property will fall under the police department's jurisdiction.
Sheriff department deals with all the calls made from the country. Since this department has higher jurisdiction, they are in a better position to help various police departments.

Police department handles all the calls from the city or a town. They even manage calls from their jurisdiction limits.
◼ Another important difference is that sheriff department is implanted by the State Constitution. The constitution states a sheriff's office obligations and duties.

Police department has been constituted by Municipal regulations. Police officers are appointed unlike deputy sheriff who are elected officials.
◼ For assistance a Sheriff hires a deputy sheriff, he manages the duties and obligations of his deputies.

◼ A police chief's role is to handle the daily operations of city police department. He appoints many police officers under him to carry out the various tasks. A police supervisor is appointed to assign work to police officers.
Sheriff generally work in a courthouse or a jail.

◼ Most police officers work in the field, if they are not looking after the paperwork.
◼ Sheriff are appointed after the person has served as a deputy or a police officer for several years, but it is not always the case.

◼ Police officers have to wait for as good as three years to be promoted throughout their preliminary probationary period.
Sheriff office in rural areas pay less salaries than large-sized police departments. An accurate salary range has not been mentioned, also it depends on the area or city where they are appointed.

Police departments pay police officers salaries depending on their rank as well as the area that they are serving and looking after.
Apart from all the differences, a sheriff and police officer's life is constantly surrounded by threats. They need to go through intensive training to excel in their field. After all, we are safe in our environment only due to their efforts.