deputy sheriff

Encyclopedia Article


A deputy sheriff is subordinate to the sheriff, often operating as the second-in-command.

A sheriff is generally an elected position and is the highest law enforcement officer of a county. In some cases, the sheriff and his staff may function as the police force. In larger, urban communities, the sheriff's role may be confined to superficial or political posturings, or may be used to support juridical functions in support of the county's court system. In some cases, the position of sheriff has been merged with that of the chief of police, meaning that the sheriff occupies both a political as well as a disciplinary position. In either case, a deputy will tend to function at an operational level, either alone or along with a cohort of other deputies, to enforce the policies, directives, and tactical assignments established by the sheriff.

Photo Credit: 

"Publicity photo from the television program The Andy Griffith Show. Pictured are Don Knotts (Barney Fife) and Jim Nabors (Gomer Pyle), July 2, 1964" by CBS Television is licensed under Public Domain.

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