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In Georgia, the Sheriff is the highest-ranking law enforcement official in the county. The office of the Sheriff in Georgia is considered  to be both a constitutional and a county office. The constitutionality of the office stems from the common law, from the constitutional provisions extended to certain offices in existence when the first Georgia constitution was ratified, and because the Sheriff is listed in the Georgia Constitution of 1983 as one of four independently elected county officers (see below).


In the structure of county government, the office of Sheriff has the distinction of not being simply  another department.  Because the office of Sheriff is a constitutional one, its internal operations are the sole responsibility of the Sheriff, and the Sheriff is not subordinate to a county administrator or manager.


While most of the legal provisions concerning the office of Sheriff in Georgia are contained in the state's statutory and case law, one paragraph of the state constitution does apply to the sheriff. Article IX, section 1, paragraph III, of the Georgia Constitution of 1983, specifically lists the Sheriff as a county officer.  In addition, general law requires that all county officers must have resided in the county for at least two years prior to the election and be a qualified voter. Constitution, State of Georgia, effective July 1, 1983.Article IX. Counties and Municipal CorporationsSection 1. CountiesParagraph III. County officers; election; term; compensation.(a) The clerk of the superior court, judge of the probate court, sheriff, tax receiver, tax collector, and tax commissioner, where such office has replaced the tax receiver and tax collector, shall be elected by the qualified voters of their respective counties for terms of four years and shall have such qualifications, powers, and duties as provided by general law.(b) County officers listed in subparagraph (a) of this Paragraph may be on a fee basis,

salary basis, or fee basis supplemented by salary, in such manner as may be directed by law. Minimum compensation for said county officers may be established by the General Assembly by general law. Such minimum compensation may be supplemented by local law or, if such authority is delegated by local law, by action of the county governing authority.(c) The General Assembly may consolidate the offices of tax receiver and tax collector into the office of tax commissioner.

As defined in Georgia law, i.e., Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.) 15-16-10:(a)  It is the duty of the sheriff:


  1.  To execute and return the processes and orders of the courts and ofofficers of competent authority, if not void, with due diligence, when delivered to him for that purpose, according to this Code; 

  2.  To attend, by himself or his deputy, upon all sessions of the superiorcourt of the county and also upon sessions of the probate court whenever required by the judge thereof and, while the courts are in session,never to leave same without the presence of himself or his deputy, orboth, if required;

  3.  To attend, in the same manner specified in paragraph (2) of this subsection, at the place or places of holding an election at the countysite, on the day of an election, from the opening to the closing of thepolls, and to take under his charge all subordinate officers present, aspolice to preserve order;

  4.  To publish sales, citations, and other proceedings as required by lawand to keep a file of all newspapers in which his official advertisements appear, in the manner required of clerks of the superiorcourts;

  5.  To keep an execution docket wherein he must enter a full description ofall executions delivered to him and the dates of their delivery,together with all his actions thereon, and to have the same ready foruse in any court of his county;

  6. To keep a book in which shall be entered a record of allsales made by process of court or by agreement of the parties under thesanction of the court, describing accurately the property and theprocess under which sold, the date of the levy and sale, the purchaser,and the price; 

  7. To receive from the preceding sheriff all unexecuted writs and processes and proceed to execute the same; to carry into effect any levy or arrest made by a predecessor; to put purchasers into possession, and to make titles to purchasers at his or her predecessor's sales, when not done by his or her predecessor; 

  8.  To perform such other duties as are or may be imposed by law or which necessarily appertain to his or her office; and

  9.  To exercise the same duties, powers, and arrest authority within municipalities which such officer exercises in the unincorporated areas of counties.

(b) If any sheriff or deputy fails to comply with any provision of subsection (a) of this Code section, he shall be fined for a contempt as the clerk of the superior court is fined in similar cases. Code Section 15-6-82, as to removal, shall also apply to sheriffs.(c) In all counties of this state having a population of not less than 350,000 nor more than 550,000 according to the United States decennial census of 1990 or any future such census, it shall be the duty of the sheriffs of such counties to receive, confine, feed, and care for all persons charged with the violation of any ordinances of such counties in the same manner as persons charged with an indictable offense, whether such person charged with the violation of an ordinance is being held pending a hearing before the recorder's courts of such counties or has been sentenced by the recorder's courts to imprisonment in the county jail.

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