The Texas Sheriff

In Texas, the Sheriff is a constitutionally created office with duties prescribed by the Texas legislature (Tex. Const. Art. V, Sec. 23).  The Sheriff is the chief law enforcement officer for the county and is responsible for operating the county jails (including the safekeeping of inmates and operation of the jail commissary), investigating crimes, traffic enforcement, and maintaining communications with other law enforcement organizations. The Sheriff has countywide jurisdiction but, typically, most sheriff offices concentrate their activities outside city limits where municipal officers have no jurisdiction to operate.

The Sheriff is elected every four years and aids in the security of the courthouse and its personnel, including every county and district court.  The Sheriff accepts bail for prisoners in his custody, serves a variety of judicial process and notices, provides for their return, collects fees for such services, and is responsible for property held or seized under such actions. The Sheriff is responsible for executing subpoenas, carrying out execution of judgments, executing and returning writs of garnishments, serving temporary restraining orders, executing writs of attachment and writs of sequestration and serving summons to persons to report for grand jury duties. 

The Sheriff is charged with operating a centralized sex offender registration office to monitor sex offenders residing in the unincorporated areas of the county. The Sheriff may also apply to a justice court for a warrant to seize animals being treated cruelly.  Finally, the Sheriff may conduct sales of seized and forfeited property, property being sold at auction for failure to pay property taxes, and property sold to satisfy judgments in civil cases.

In some jurisdictions, Sheriffs will institute law enforcement initiatives or jail programs to enhance the premise of making out communities safer places to live. In Collin County, Sheriff Skinner has instituted a number of special programs, such as a detention intelligence unit, a child exploitation unit, a criminal highway interdiction unit, and a fugitive task force.

In Collin County, Sheriff Skinner currently manages a $58 million budget and a staff of 550 personnel.  The daily average inmate population at the Collin County Jail is 1,055 inmates.

*  Facts derived from Texas state statutes and the Texas Association of Counties.

Pol. Adv. paid for by the Jim Skinner Campaign, Charlie O'Reilly, Treasurer.