About the Sheriff's Office

About the Sheriff's Office

About the Sheriff's Office 

Origins of the Baltimore City Sheriff’s Office 

The Baltimore City Sheriff’s Office began operation in 1845, 178 years ago. The Sheriff’s authority is derived from the common law and Maryland Constitution. 

The Sheriff’s Office is part of both the executive and judicial branches of government. The City of Baltimore is required to fund the Sheriff’s Office, but the Sheriff does not report to the mayor. The separation of powers found in the Maryland Declaration of Rights Article 8, provides that the judiciary also does not have a role in the internal workings of the sheriff's office. Furthermore, the Maryland General Assembly has not acted to restrict the enforcement authority of the Baltimore City Sheriff’s Office through the legislative process. This means that the Sheriff’s Office has the same authority to enforce the law today as it had back in 1845.   

Office vs. Department 

The Sheriff’s Office is an independent Office, not a Department. The use of the word Department indicates an organization that is a subdivision of another branch of government. 

Operating Power

The Sheriff’s Office conducts both local (City) and State actions. When the Sheriff’s Office is conducting traditional policing and traffic enforcement we are acting in our capacity as the conservator of the peace (of the county/city) which is a local function. When we are protecting the court, serving a writ or warrant, or transporting prisoners we are considered a State actor. This is true for all Sheriff’s Offices in Maryland.

The Baltimore City Sheriff’s Office and The Baltimore Police Department 

While there exists a larger Baltimore Police Department that is funded and authorized to police the City, both the Police Department and Sheriff’s Office have parallel criminal enforcement jurisdiction and a Deputy Sheriff maintains their full authority to enforce the law throughout Baltimore City.The public and local laws that created the Police Department state that a Baltimore Police Officer shall have the same powers, concerning criminal matters, and the enforcement of the laws related thereto, as sheriffs.

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