Anonymous asked in Politics & GovernmentLaw Enforcement & Police · 9 years ago

Is it true that a County Sheriff is the ultimate authority inside a county?

A good friend of mine was telling me today that County Sheriff's have Ultimate Authority inside of the county they preside over. He would not elaborate, just kept telling me "that is the law, look it up".

I tried to engage him in a little extrapolation of just what that would mean but he did not want to discuss the consequences of what could happen if one person inside a county was given ultimate the kind of authority to keep Federal Officers from doing ANYTHING within the county.

I was calling bull on it because that would mean a corrupt Sheriff could basically take full control over a county and be like a god, untouchable by any outside force.

So if a Sheriff is corrupt, say he is gun running or smuggling drugs or involved in prostitution, does the Authority of the Federal Government override any authority given to a County Sheriff so the corrupt Sheriff is put behind bars?

Can Federal Authorities conduct investigations inside of a county without informing the County Sheriff of their activities?

Can a County Sheriff arrest an IRS Agent for trespassing?

I want to know what the law currently states, not what anti-government types wish it would be or think it should be.

Thanks for answers...

5 Answers

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    A fallacy presented by those who believe in sovereign citizenship (they are a separate state unto themselves and do not have to obey the laws of common man). Comes from a bogus reading of century old laws and ideas from England.

    The chief law enforcement officer of a county is the elected prosecutor, often called a district attorney or states attorney.

    The county prosecutors or the state prosecutor, usually called the Attorney General or the any U.S. Attorney via the FBI can investigate corrupt county sheriffs and arrest them, all depends on what specific laws they are breaking. gun running over state lines would be Federal or state.

    In the last 10 years I remember at least 5 county sheriffs police departments that were shut down for corruption and the work was taken over by the state police until things were reorganized.

    IRS revenue officers or agents cannot be arrested by county sheriffs unless they break state or county laws, like anyone else.

    Source(s): retired cop
  • 9 years ago

    Although in some states the sheriffs are the chief law enforcement officer of the county. However, in many other states, the District Attorney (who has NO ARREST POWERS) is actually the chief law enforcement of the county. In my state, and several near me, sheriffs have no police powers outside of serving as officers of the Court. And NO sheriffs have authority over Federal agents when they are dealing with violations of Federal law.

    If you research, you find that Federal and State authorities have arrested lots of sheriffs over the years. Like some others have told you, people with extreme political view and many members of the "sovereign" movement try to spread this incorrect information.

  • Bruce
    Lv 7
    9 years ago

    The sheriff is the primary law enforcement officer for the county. He is NOT the ultimate authority.

    Yes, federal authorities can conduct investigations without notifying the locals. However, it is unlikely that would happen. Although conflict makes for good TV, in real life law enforcement agencies work well together.

    Source(s): Law enforcement since 1991
  • 7 years ago

    ... the sheriff has ultimate authority and law enforcement power within his jurisdiction. He is to protect and defend his citizens from all enemies, both "foreign and domestic."


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  • Paula
    Lv 6
    9 years ago

    It is not true.

    Only anti-government types believe it.

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