In the state of Maryland there is an Office of the Sheriff for each county and one for Baltimore City. The office carries with it all of the common law powers, duties and responsibilities to preserve the peace, enforce the laws, and arrest and commit to jail felons and other infractors of the law. The powers and duties of the Sheriff are analogous to those imposed upon police departments. The Sheriff is the principle conservator of the peace within the County.
The Sheriff is the Chief Constitutional Law Enforcement Officer. He is elected to a four year term with no limit on the number of consecutive terms for which he may run. His power and salary—which cannot be altered during his term of office—are determined by the State Legislature. All members of his staff are employed under conditions of the merit system of the County.
The staff currently consists of a Chief Deputy, an Undersheriff, two Lieutenants, six Sergeants and 73 Deputies. All have delegated authority to carry out powers of the Sheriff. Their duties are supported by a clerical staff which includes an Executive Secretary and six Criminal Records Processors. The staff expands as needs are justified and funds are allocated.
All Maryland Sheriffs and their Deputies are sworn Police Officers, graduates of certified police academies and have all the powers and authorities granted to any other law enforcement officer in the state and are certified by the Maryland Police Training Commission. To qualify for positions, deputies are required to complete an accredited police training course supervised by the Maryland Police Training Commission. Continued training is required annually.
The major responsibility assigned to Deputy Sheriffs is the provision of security for judges, juries and witnesses during trial sessions of both the Circuit and Juvenile Courts.
The Court Services section handles the custody and security of all prisoners brought into the Baltimore County Circuit Court, from the time of their arrest to the time of release or relocation following sentencing, and ensures their appearance at trial.
The Administrative Services section is responsible for all applicant, internal and recruitment investigations for the Sheriff's Office. Additionally, this unit performs all personnel matters relating to the agency.
As an arm of the Court, the Sheriff must also carry out judgments of the Judiciary against citizens who fail to pay debts that the Court determines they owe. The Sheriff may also—at the direction of the Court—be required to seize personal property and sell it at auction to satisfy claims of a creditor.
The Security section is a subdivision of the Sheriff's Office. They are responsible for the security of the County Courts Building. All entrances to the County Courts Building have scanners, which are staffed by Deputies and Security personnel whose presence serves to maintain a higher level of security in the building.
Service of Process
The Service of Process section serves all summonses and writs as directed by the Courts. The Sheriff's Office is responsible for processing and serving all legal papers issued by the Circuit Court of Baltimore County or by any official local or state agency in the County. In a single year, about 95,000 documents—including summonses, subpoenas, warrants, writs and court orders—are served, resulting in collection of approximately $221,000 in fees.
The responsibility for transportation of prisoners includes:
- Transportation from places of confinement to courts for trial
- Transportation after conviction and sentencing to the Maryland Reception and Diagnostic Center in Baltimore City where places of confinement are selected or decided
- Trips to state institutions and funerals of family members
The Warrant Services section is responsible for the service of non-support warrants. This unit also handles District Court warrants and juvenile body attachments.