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sciri
04-12-2010, 09:13 PM
Me again, with yet another question.

Is it plausible that a Sheriff in a small, rural County would personally take on an investigation, or would the investigation be handed over to an investigator (SO Detective, right?) and the Sheriff would maybe only supervise?

Is a Sheriff's job mostly administrative? (forgive my ignorance)

Thanks!!!

Williebee
04-12-2010, 09:16 PM
Here in a county of less than 30,000 souls (and yeah, he says it that way) the answer would be yes to both.

The job IS mostly administrative (and political - part of the job is keeping the job) and he does do some investigative stuff, and shift patrol when we're short handed.

alleycat
04-12-2010, 09:16 PM
Yes, if it's small department, a sheriff will sometimes get involved with an investigation himself.

In larger counties, the sheriff's job is mostly administrative and PR.

sciri
04-12-2010, 09:18 PM
Thanks guys! So, just to make sure: in my WIP I have a crime that has a personal significance to the sheriff, so then it makes sense that he becomes the leading investigator, right? thanks so much!

Williebee
04-12-2010, 09:23 PM
makes sense? Maybe not. depends on how personal "personal" is.

If he wants it to hold up in court, and it has the potential for conflict of interest, around here (southern illinois) it would get handed off to the State Police. If that wasn't available, he'd hand it off to an investigator, if possible. (those last two words are key) :)

sciri
04-12-2010, 09:26 PM
OK, assume no politics involved, it's just personal because it reminds him of something that happened in his family. What I wrote so far has him get on the scene right as the crime has happened, together with the forensic experts and a bunch of deputies that are interviewing people... So then that's unlikely and it would be a lead investigator instead?

alleycat
04-12-2010, 09:29 PM
It will be okay to have the sheriff as lead investigator. In my state there are some counties with less than 5,000 populations. The sheriff's department in those counties isn't very big.

What state is this set in?

sciri
04-12-2010, 09:31 PM
A rural part of Colorado -- thanks for your help!

alleycat
04-12-2010, 09:34 PM
If you want to really get the facts, that's a cop forum you can sign up for. You don't have to be a cop to join as long as you state that fact when you sign up. There is an "Ask a Cop" forum.

Williebee
04-12-2010, 09:38 PM
sciri, yeah, from what you describe Sheriff as principal investigator would work, in several areas of Colorado.

Around here the on scene arrival usually works like this: 911 gets a call, nearest officer (deputy or sheriff) shows. If there is a death the Sheriff is notified, the county coroner is notified, and if something looks suspicious the State Crime Scene Tech (forensics) is called. The Crime Scene Tech could take anywhere from a half hour to four hours to show up.

Chris P
04-12-2010, 09:43 PM
I think this is one of those cases where you could pretty much do what you want to without anyone saying too much. If you need to have a reason for the sheriff to be involved, you could say that he was a crime scene detective in Denver for a few years before becoming sheriff. I sincerely doubt you'll get angry letters for having him involved in the investigation.

You didn't mention this, but any high tech CSI-type equipment would probably be at a state crime lab and not in his own office. That part would be harder to fudge.

Williebee
04-12-2010, 09:49 PM
You didn't mention this, but any high tech CSI-type equipment would probably be at a state crime lab and not in his own office. That part would be harder to fudge.

Yup. It's only recently that our county patrol cars got laptops.