i'm writing a police procedural novel (like rules of prey, silence of the lambs, no country for old men, sherlock holmes, etc) my main character is the sheriff of a hick, rural county. but i don't know all that much about sheriff departments. where does their pay come from? how many deputies can a sheriff have? are there ever elections in which there is no opponent running against a sheriff? i feel pretty uncomfortable going up to a deputy of my local dept and asking stuff, but i might have to break down and do just that. but does anybody here have any special knowledge about this?