Why do some places have just police, just sheriffs, or both?

I know how sheriffs and police officers differ in their duties. What I'm curious about is why some towns/counties have JUST police or JUST sheriffs, while others have both.

For example, the county I live in has both. When I went on vacation to Maine over the summer, the county had just sheriffs; any police officers worked for whatever town hired them. Why is that?

7 Answers

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  • 2 years ago

    Police are either city or state . Sheriffs are county and the ONLY law enforcement that is REQUIRED by the US Constitution.

  • 2 years ago

    In the US, EVERY county has a Sheriff and MOST towns have police. There is NO SUCH THING as a town/city Sheriff or county police.

  • odd
    Lv 7
    2 years ago

    Sheriffs take care of outside of city limits (the county areas). Police are of whatever city is their jurisdiction.

  • Anonymous
    2 years ago

    In most states the Sheriff is a county wide elected office. Police departments are normally part of municipal government. Unincorporated areas are normally only served by a sheriff's department

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  • Anonymous
    2 years ago

    The federated nature of the USA means that each state has a LOT of latitude in how it organises its internal affairs.

    There's no more reason to expect Maine, California and Alaska to have the same policing structure as there is to expect Ireland, the UK and France to.

  • Tulip
    Lv 7
    2 years ago

    It depends on how law enforcement is structured it differs from state to state

  • Anonymous
    2 years ago

    Depends on the town

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