Sheriff vs Police: Difference and Comparison

The government has to ensure the maintenance of law and stability in a country. The government gives this responsibility to its officials, who take the necessary steps to maintain the rule of law in the country.

Key Takeaways

  1. Sheriffs are elected officials responsible for enforcing the law in a county, while a city or municipality employs police officers to enforce the law within their jurisdiction.
  2. Sheriffs have a broader range of duties than police officers, including serving as their county’s chief law enforcement officer and managing the county jail.
  3. Police officers are responsible for patrolling their assigned area, responding to emergencies, and investigating crimes.

Sheriff vs Police

A sheriff is a high authority officer who is responsible for maintaining and protecting the law in a country. They may pass judgements in the court of law. A policeman is a lower rank officer who takes care of the safety and security of citizens in a locality.

Sheriff vs Police

In many countries, Sheriffs are given the charge of being administrative legal officials. They have the power to preside over the court sessions and pass judgment regarding bail, trials, etc.

They have the right to use force to suppress a revolt against the state. They have the right to exercise their power within a well-defined area or region.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonSheriffPolice
MeaningSheriff refers to a legal official who has a responsibility to ensure the rule of law and order in a particular country.A police officer refers to a person who has been empowered by the government to enforce the rule of law in a country by minimizing civil disorder and protecting public property.
Area of ControlSheriffs have control of the entire state. Their area of responsibility and control may differ from country to country.Police have control over a particular region and area as specified by the upper authorities.
PositionSheriffs are superior in position to a police officer as they are the highest law enforcing officers in a country.A police officer is less powerful than a sheriff since he has control over a given area.
Election processSheriffs are elected by the citizens of a state.A police officer is appointed to the post by the government.
JurisdictionThey have an unlimited jurisdiction.They have a limited degree of jurisdiction.
Area of responsibilityA sheriff is required to maintain law and order in the whole state, he also is a legal official who may pass judgments and give decisions on trials and various suits.The responsibility of a police officer is limited to maintaining law and order in his allotted area.

What is Sheriff?

A sheriff is an official who is responsible for maintaining peace and law in the entire country. They are elected, but in some countries, they may be selected based on their educational qualifications.

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A sheriff may also serve warrants and civil documents. A sheriff is also responsible for transferring offenders and criminals from jails to courts.

A sheriff’s work routine may be stressful, physically demanding, and highly dangerous. They are assigned to work at highly critical accident and crime scenes.

He is also known as an Administrative legal officer who has the power to pass verdicts on various cases and suits. In the United States, every state has a sheriff’s office that has been built by the government.


What is Police?

Police refer to a constituted body of officers who are responsible for maintaining law and order throughout the country. They are responsible for investigating various cases related to criminal and civil offences.

The police officers in a particular area are responsible for maintaining law and order in that specific area. They have limited jurisdiction and are directly accountable to the upper authorities.

The major duties of the police are:-

  • Promoting and preserving public order is a major duty of the police.
  • Protecting internal security by preventing riots, terrorist attacks, and other militant activities.
  • Protecting public property against any type of violence and unrest.
  • Reducing the rate of crime by taking adequate steps to ensure law and order.

Police officers are not allowed to grant bail and pass verdicts on various legal matters. In India, a person who wishes to become a policeman must pass a particular examination depending on the rank he wants to get placed in.


Main Differences Between Sheriff and Police

  1. Sheriffs are elected by the citizens of the state, whereas a police officer is selected through a particular mode of examination that is followed by a physical test.
  2. A sheriff is accountable to the government or the concerned ministry, whereas a police officer is accountable to his senior.
Difference Between Sheriff and Police
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Last Updated : 26 August, 2023

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16 thoughts on “Sheriff vs Police: Difference and Comparison”

  1. I think the comparison table and explanations of ‘What is Sheriff?’ and ‘What is Police?’ are very well done – clear and concise.

  2. I think this article made it very clear that the sheriff’s position holds more power and authority than that of a police officer.

  3. The informative details provided in the ‘Sheriff vs Police’ section of the article were very helpful in understanding the differences between these roles.


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