It depends on what you want out of your career... Also what is your Sheriff's Department responsible for and what is your local Police Department responsible for? In some areas the Sheriff's Department has a list of duties which can include operating a correctional facility, transporting inmates, court security/baliff duties, civil process service, tax collection, operating the county coroner, operating the 911 center, transporting juveniles, mental hygeine commitments and transports, and crime prevention programs ON TOP OF THE REGULAR PATROL DUTIES-----also in many areas the sheriff's department genarally will focus their patrols in the unincorperated areas of the county and leave the cities to the municipal police and in others they do both. Some people go work for the sheriff's department and when they get "stuck" with all these other non traditional police duties and they when they get to patrol they are looking at cows and barns...they get frustrated. So just keep this in mind, this may not be the case in your area. Now as far as police departments they will mainly stick to patrol duties and what we can consider "traditional" law enforcement. So if your picture of you in law enforcement is you on patrol and doing investigative work ONLY you may want to look at the police department. However if you want that but won't mind if you sometimes get stuck with other duties then you can also want to look at the sheriff's department. You also have to look at benefits and pay because like someone else said you will have to eventually support a family and would probably want the agency with the better benfits. Bottom line do your research on beneifts, and pay. Find out what each agency is responsible for and do a ride along with each then decide.