1. thunderbyrd
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    thunderbyrd New Member

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    need to know about sheriff's dept.'s

    Discussion in 'Research' started by thunderbyrd, Mar 30, 2010.

    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?
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    the county budget...

    depends on the size of the county, its population and needs...

    there certainly could be, but if so, they'd be pretty rare exceptions...
     
  3. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Why? Research is part of being an author. I've always found law enforcement agencies to be very helpful with such inquiries.
     
  4. zaphod
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    zaphod Member

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    The Sheriff is a county official usually. You should do a google search for your local Sheriff's department to learn about their duties and missions. The Sheriff's department traditionally has policing jurisdiction over the unincorporated county, which is going to typically be rural, but it can also be suburban neighborhoods which are not officially within any city limits or a municipality or township lacking a police force. These kinds of jurisdictional enclaves aren't rare and you'll see the sheriff handling problems in a trailer park off the highway as much as out in the boonies. Often they are not just a bunch of sleepy hicks, they have challenges not unlike inner-city cops, with drugs being a social problem affecting rural and poor suburbs today. As an elected official it is of course not impossible for a Sheriff get voted for that fits the stereotype, but they are real cops and I wouldn't necessarily underestimate them as all hayseeds.

    It would really be where the setting is.

    In urban counties, like Harris(where Houston in located), they can have other roles and be supportive of certain activities, or handle things that sprawl beyond any one department's jurisdiction.

    LA County Sheriff is well known law enforcement agency. They have choppers that fly around the city, they handle crime in the sparsely populated high desert communities beyond the mountains, and rescue people from floods.
     

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