Sheriff and Police

One thing that we don’t see quite so much in Australia is the word Sheriff used. In the US, especially as I was driving through the smaller towns I occasionally saw a Sheriff’s car, and once a Sheriff talking to someone on the street. It made me wonder what the difference between a Police Officer and a Sheriff was since we really only deal with Police day to day in Australia (OK, well not day to day, unless you’ve done something really wrong).

This post on Yahoo! Answers provided some insight. The impression I get is that a Sheriff is assigned to a county to perform policing duties in towns which are too small to have their own dedicated police officers. This is in contrast to Australia where police officers are a resource managed at a state level. From what I read, a Sheriff is also an elected official.

Australia also has Sheriff’s but it seems that they are mostly related to the execution of warrants, especially in relation to evictions etc. Years ago I actually had a warrant issued against me because of a dispute with CityLink (oh joy). Can’t quite remember the detail now, but I think it was about a fine that I thought was cleared, but ended up not being cleared and then progressed to the warrant stage.


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