About the Office of Sheriff

Powers & Duties

The powers and duties of the county sheriff can be found in Title 11 Chapter 3, Article 2 of the Arizona Revised Statutes beginning with ARS 11-441. In general, the sheriff is responsible for:

  • Law enforcement in all the unincorporated areas of the county
  • Custody of the county jail and care of prisoners
  • Serving the superior court orders and warrants throughout the county
  • Collection of delinquent taxes
  • Conducting or coordinating within the county of search and rescue operations involving the life or health of any person.


The only legal qualification for county sheriff is that the individual must reside in the county from which they are elected (11-404) and that while serving as sheriff, they cannot practice law (11-403).

Legal Authority

The sheriff also has a legal authority which is extended to all county elected offices. That is, the sheriff may appoint a chief deputy and all other employees necessary to conduct the affairs of the office, subject to the approval of the budget by the board of supervisors (11-409). The sheriff may also establish offices in any city or town outside the county seat when it is deemed to be in the public interest.

The sheriff continues to have the authority to command the assistance of as many inhabitants of the county as may be necessary to carry out their duties. The sheriff can also form a posse if deemed necessary. For all court-related civil actions, the sheriff is required to perform, the law provides that a specific fee based on the activity shall be charged. These fees are detailed in ARS 11-445. All fees collected under this section must be paid into the county treasury by the first Monday of each month.

The statutes provide that the sheriff may employ prisoners, inside or outside the county jail.

County Law Enforcement Efforts

As the sheriff is the chief law enforcement officer in the county, they are responsible for coordinating county law enforcement efforts with those cities and towns located within the county boundaries.