A sheriff is an elected law enforcement official for a county. Sheriffs usually have policing jurisdiction over unincorporated areas of the county, though in some states, sheriffs have jurisdiction throughout the state.
In many locations, the sheriff also runs the county jail.
The sheriff keeps records on criminal arrests, incidents reported to the sheriff, traffic collision reports, and other records. Many of these records are available to the public.
The Sheriff's Office keeps a number of records. This includes records on crimes committed in the sheriff's jurisdiction, traffic incidents, and other records produced in the course of the sheriff's business. If the sheriff is charged with running the county jail, the Sheriff's Office will also have jail records.
The Sheriff's Office makes arrest reports and incident reports. Arrest reports contain basic information about the arrest, including the name of those arrested, the location, and the number of charges. If an individual resisted arrest or the patrol officer used force, this will be recorded in the arrest report.
The Sheriff's Office also produces incident reports. This includes accident reports, citizen reports of crimes, and 911 calls for assistance. Incident reports list the time, location, and nature of the incident, as well as any injuries or weapons found at the scene.
Arrest reports and incident reports are often included in summary logs produced by the Sheriff's Office. These summary logs are typically available to the public, and they can be searched through online databases maintained by local Sheriff's Offices.
Sheriffs may request that certain records remain sealed if they believe public access might endanger those involved in the case or hamper the investigation. Some of these files may be available in court records after the conclusion of the case.
In some locations, the sheriff runs the county jail. Where that is the case, the sheriff can also provide information on current or former inmates, including the facility housing the prisoner, the release date, and the court that charged the prisoner. Some Sheriff's Offices provide online inmate locators.
In addition to arrest records and incident reports, Sheriff's Offices also have records on their operations. This includes annual reports, strategic plans, and in some cases, department manuals.
Many sheriff department records are available online. If they are not, you can file a records request with the Sheriff's Office or request documents by email, telephone, or in person.