History of "The Office of the Sheriff"

While it is not possible to state with any exactness the date when the first sheriff swore to protect the lives and property of citizens, it is certainly one of the oldest documented offices of public trust. The Book Of Daniel, Verse 3.2, composed about 165 BC is perhaps the first recorded use of the term Sheriff.

The office and tradition of the “Office of Sheriff” in America is largely derived from the English tradition where it dates back at least to the reign of Alfred the Great. In English Law the county form of government and the Office of Sheriff are inseparable; United States of America adopted the English law and legal institutions. The functions, status, and powers of the office have undergone change, but the Office of the Sheriff has remained one of the most familiar and most useful office found in the history of English and American institutions.

In America generally a sheriff, is the principle legal official with responsibility for a county. In practice, the specific combination of legal, political, and ceremonial duties of a sheriff vary greatly from state to state.

Georgia was established in 1732 as the last of the thirteen colonies. Camden County is one of the original counties in the state and was established in 1777. In the tradition of English common law, the sheriff’s office was constituted as the chief law enforcement officer within the county. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788.

The Camden County Sheriff’s Office dates continuously back until at least 1787. Each of the 159 counties in Georgia has an elected sheriff directly responsible to the people of that county. Georgia sheriffs have years of law enforcement and educational experience. They are highly-trained law enforcement officers with certain constitutionally mandated responsibilities including: