Organizing a Sheriff Department


The Sheriff’s department organization consists of:

  • The Sheriff is the top ranking officer in the department and is almost always an elected official.
  • The assistant Sheriff or under-sheriff is the next in line of police ranks in the department, followed by…
    • Division Chief
    • Captain
    • Lieutenant
    • Sergeant
    • Corporal
    • Deputy

Sheriff department uniforms may differ, but all US Sheriffs perform a vital community role. We expect the same role of community protector and peace keeper here in Australia.

What is the difference between a US Marshall and a Sheriff, and does it apply in the Commonwealth of Australia?

The answer to the question is No, there is no such position in Australia. The Australian Federal Police are the closest equivalent to a US Marshall, but their duties are different in many ways.

A Commonwealth of Australia common law assembly appoints a court Bailiff to carry out many of the functions of a US Marshall, but the Bailiff is always accountable to the assembly and its common law court rules, and has limited authority while performing their duty in the court room.

However, should the people of the Commonwealth of Australia decide in the future that Marshalls would be a valuable addition to administering the law they may vote in a referendum on the question.

A Sheriff is an elected position and is usually a ceremonial officer that meets certain needs within a community. Sheriff are elected, whereas a US marshall is usually appointed by the government.

A US Marshall fulfills specific functions providing security for courts at the local, state and federal level. They serve subpoenas or take people into custody.

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