The Office of the Sheriff is one of the oldest and most renowned of all state law enforcement organizations in America, and is a carryover from the British form of county administration. The first oath of Sheriff in the New World dates back to 1634 in Northampton County, Virginia, and the earliest recorded Sheriff in Hampton was appointed in 1645.
The history of the Sheriff has paralleled that of our country in its long and courageous defense of the principles of law and justice, and they remain an integral part of todays state law enforcement structure. Constitutionally elected, todays sheriffs are responsible for the operation of jails and play major roles in supporting the state courts.
Under the direction of Sheriff B.J. Roberts, first elected in 1992, one hundred and eighty-four deputies and civilian personnel in four major divisions maintain the custody, control and movement of inmates; serve civil and criminal processes and court orders; maintain security for court facilities, judges, jurors and other trial participants; and seize and dispose of property under court order.