Mention the word "sheriff" and many people's minds will fill immediately with images of shootouts and gunfights in the Wild West. Such is the power of old movies and television series, which have so magnified the role of the nineteenth-century American sheriff that it is now virtually impossible to think of sheriff's as existing in any other place or time. Most people would be surprised to know that the office of sheriff has a proud history that spans well over a thousand years, from the early Middle Ages to our own "high-tech" era.

The Office of the Sheriff is the oldest law enforcement office known within the common law system. The Title of Sheriff is first referenced in DANIEL, CHAPTER 3 of the King James translation of the Old Testament. The Office of the Sheriff is the only elected law enforcement office in the country. Today, with some variations from state to state, the duties of the Office of the Sheriff have remained consistent.

Although the duties of the sheriff vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, the Sheriff's Office is generally active in all three branches of the criminal justice system: law enforcement, the courts, and corrections.

The sale of property has been the responsibility of the Office of the Sheriff for over seven hundred years and this function is still performed to this day. The authority over bailiffs, constables, wardens and the jail are a continuing responsibility along with court safety and the service of warrants. Today's Office of the Sheriff has not only continued the responsibilities of the past, but has expanded it's duties to adapt to a modern world.