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The Office of Sheriff was created in 1792 when the first Sheriff was appointed by the Northwest Territorial Governor St. Clair. Under the 1802 Ohio Constitution the office became an elective post; the original two-year term was extended to four years in 1936.

The duties of the Sheriff have remained unchanged since the creation of the office. The Sheriff is required to attend the Court of Common Pleas, Court of Appeals, County Court, and upon request, the Probate Court. In addition to insuring that order is maintained throughout these court proceedings, the Sheriff is empowered to adjourn the Court of Common Pleas if the judge fails to appear, and the Court of Appeals if a quorum is lacking.

Presently, the Sheriff serves all warrants, writs, subpoenas, and other orders from the Court of Common Pleas, Court of Appeals, County Court, Juvenile Court, and Probate Court. Warrants issued by the Governor are executed by the Sheriffs’ Office, which also serves writs and subpoenas issued by various state officials and boards.

In 1805 the Ohio General Assembly defined additional duties of the Sheriff: to preserve the peace by suppressing riots, unlawful assemblies and insurrections, to act as the official custodian of the county jail to apprehend and incarcerate all felons and traitors, to serve as county executioner (until 1886), to enforce the election laws at the request of the board of elections or the Secretary of State, to be present at all drawings of jurors, and to serve notice upon jurors.

Today, the Sheriff possesses jurisdiction coextensive with the county boundaries, including all municipalities and townships. In municipalities, the Sheriff and Mayor hold equal authority as law enforcement officers under state law.