Conservators of the Peace

Duties of the Sheriff

DSCF1400aIn each of the 36 counties in Oregon, the Sheriff is the chief law enforcement officer.  His primary duty is to give full police protection to the unincorporated areas of the county. However, he maintains full police jurisdiction in all municipalities.

His responsibilities cover the entire spectrum of law enforcement — criminal investigation, search and rescue, service of legal process of the courts, the operation of the county jail, and total police services on a 24-hour basis. The Sheriffs Office must provide court security, transport all criminals to and from penal institutions and is also called upon to handle mental patients within their jurisdiction.

OSSA Conf-0001 (1)The Sheriffs maintain well-trained reserves to aid regular deputies and to assist them in any way possible. As an unpaid service unit, volunteer deputies are required to have law enforcement education.

In many counties, the Oregon Sheriff is directing large numbers of personnel, and managing budgets in excess of several million dollars. The efficient and effective management of the Sheriffs Office demands a highly trained and experienced Sheriff.

jailThe state law sets the qualifications for Sheriff as: Not less than 21 years of age, be certified or eligible for certification by the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training, and have at least four years’ experience in law enforcement or two years post high school education, or any combination of experience and education for at least four years.

IMG_3251aAll Sheriffs have full police authority in any county in Oregon when requested by another Sheriff In this respect, these men have established great working rapport.  The communication between the respective Sheriffs is effective, efficient, and a true service to the people of Oregon.



Duties of the Sheriff

2017 Oregon Sheriffs’ Annual Conference

Countdown to Conference


Message from the OSSA President

washington-pat-garrettAs the newly elected president, I am honored to represent all 36 Oregon sheriffs.

The sheriff has historically been the chief executive officer of the county, and this is still true under Oregon law. Elected by you and answering directly to the voters, your sheriff can be an effective voice of the people in the serious work of protecting the community. OSSA enables us to work together to serve you best.

By way of introduction, I am in my second term as the Washington County Sheriff, where deputies serve over a half million residents across 727 square miles of rural areas, urban communities, and cities. Our deputies also operate the only county jail. While Oregon counties are diverse in terms of climate, population, and economic drivers, your sheriffs work together to solve problems and challenges that we have in common.

The sheriffs of America have always played a significant role in the history of our nation; in fact, the office of Sheriff was the first county office established in the United States. Also, the first person to read the Declaration of Independence publicly was Philadelphia Sheriff John Nixon in Pennsylvania in 1776.

I look forward to working together to strengthen the office of Sheriff and the communities we proudly serve. Thank you for your continued support of the men and women on shift every day to keep our diverse and proud communities safe.


Pat Garrett
President and Washington County Sheriff.

Jail vs. Prison … What’s the Difference?

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