I have often been asked "What's the difference between the Sheriff's Department and a Police Department?" or "What exactly does a Sheriff's Deputy do?"

I've found that taking the time to explain who we are and what our role is in the County is very helpful to people to gain an understanding of our importance to Law Enforcement and the Community as a whole. 

The Sheriff's Department is, in a sense, a small business. We are not funded by the County or by the State, so we have to work under contracts to get our own funding. So, anything that we do has to be paid for from somewhere. 

A lot of our time is spent patrolling towns in the county that do not have their own police department. They hire us for a set number of hours each month for police services. This can be anything from car stops, to taking reports, to doing a VIN verification, and everything in between.

We also provide security at the courthouse in Middlebury under a contract with the State. Deputies' roles at the court are to run all visitors through a security checkpoint, provide security inside each courtroom, and help each court proceeding run smoothly by assisting the Judges and court staff with whatever they need.

As needed, Deputies transport prisoners from the jail to the courthouse for their hearings. If someone is arrested on a warrant by another police department, a Deputy is usually the one that takes them to jail too. On rare occasions, if someone is wanted in Vermont and arrested out of state, Deputies will travel and bring them back to Vermont from wherever they were arrested.

Ever see us at a road construction site or escorting a wide load? This is another way to not only keep people safe, but bring in money to the Department to help cover costs. Often, the State requires that the Police provide a blue light presence for road construction. This brings extra attention to the need to pay attention while traveling through these zones where men and women are working next to busy roadways. Similarly, the State requires a blue light escort if they determine that an oversized load could benefit from a police presence. Blue lights usually get your attention faster than yellow lights, right? The Sheriff's Department is usually the one filling these necessary roles to keep people alert to the potential hazards. We are often also hired for special events to either provide security or traffic control.

Sheriff's departments also do a lot of serving of paperwork. If someone has to go to court for a civil hearing, the Sheriff's Department is usually the one that lets them know. We provide them with the paperwork telling them why they have to go to court and when. Though not a fun part of the job, it's another necessary role that the Sheriff's Department fills. 

Though we wear many different hats in this job, at the end of the day, we aren't really that different from the other police departments in the County. We each have a role and a job to do, and as Sheriff, I plan to fit into the role that we have been assigned and do that to the best of our ability.