Do you know the difference
between a Sheriff and Police?
On many occasions
a question comes to our mind "What is the difference
between the Sheriff's Office and the Police Department?"
To most people, the distinction is unclear at best, and at
worst the citizens have no knowledge of the office. There
are many differences as well as similarities. In the state
of Maryland, for example, there is an Office of the Sheriff
for each county and one for Baltimore City. In many counties,
the Sheriff's Office is the provider of primary law enforcement
duties. In jurisdictions which have police departments, the
Office of Sheriff provides services to the Courts. Sheriff
Deputies are the primary officials who handle all criminal
and civil matters within the unincorporated areas of a County.
The city Police are the primary officials who handle all criminal
and traffic matters within the city limit boundaries of their
Since the year
992 A.D., Sheriffs have been enforcing laws, protecting citizens
and enforcing the will of King and Court. It is here the powers
of the Sheriff originated in English Common Law which has
been absorbed into American Common Law and subsequently into
the Constitution of the states. In 1941, Walter H.Anderson,
a prominent attorney of the Idaho, California and Tennessee
state Bar and supreme Court of the United States Bar, wrote
A Treatise On The Law Of Sheriffs which has become the foremost
legal authority on the subject of Sheriffs.
that "the Sheriff's primary obligation is to represent
the sovereignty, authority, and interests of the state in
his respective jurisdiction", whereas the Police department
represents the interests of the local jurisdiction. Originally
the Sheriff was the King' s man, representing the interests
and authority of the King in his Shire, often controlled by
noblemen not always sympathetic or loyal to the King. In preserving
the rights of the government, he (the Sheriff) represents
the sovereignty of the state and has no superior in his county.
Office of Sheriff carries with it all of the common law powers,
duties and responsibilities to preserve the peace, enforce
the laws and arrest and commit to jail felons and other inflators
of the law. The powers and duties of the Sheriff are analogous
to those imposed upon police departments. The Sheriff is the
principle conservator of the peace within the county. In addition
the disparate duties, there is at least one other big difference
between the sheriff’s department and the police : the
funds available to carry out their respective missions.
Beacons on Police
Police work is serious
We, as residents of this
country (irrespective of status),have duties and rights
to know about the Police force and assist in law keeping.
And here, unlike in India, Police are really to protect
you and not to harass you!
This write-up is just
about the logic behind colors of beacon-lights on Police
vehicles here in the US.
Why do beacons
on Police cars flash Blue and Red lights?
practical advantage of using two colors for high intensity
lights on police car beacons. Blue is easier to see during
daytime and red more clearly discerned at night. Blue also
is chosen for its long association with police in US (e.g:
blue lights in front of police stations, blue uniforms in
many states) and because of its high daylight visibility.
Red has long been a symbol of warning and danger and a signal
to stop. No other emergency service uses blue in its beacon.
Firefighters and ambulances use red. Construction and emergency
transport vehicles (towing etc.) use yellow or amber. Only
police beacons are two-colored. Some states/cities have experimented
with all-Red beacons (e.g NY capital city Albany, where I
am on a visit currently), while some cities have tried
with all-Blue (e.g our Chicago police) beacons. However,
the most common is Right-Blue, Left-Red beacon.
Why are the blue
lights on Passenger's side and red on Driver's side?
It is so
that the driver being pursued (the soon-to-be-a-ticket-recipient
:-)) can better see it in his/her rear-view or side-view mirror.
People are conditioned to stop for a red light. This is the
most efficient way to signal the driver of a car in front
of Mama's car to stop. The LA police dept (which has to handle
huge traffic safety and other crimes) uses an amber light
on the rear of Mama's car which is activated by an on-off
switch. We are also conditioned to think of a yellow light
as a caution light. In this case, cars behind the police vehicle
are being cautioned by the amber lights to slow down because
police activity is taking place!
Police in America takes readers beyond the sound-bites
and statistics to present a complete and contemporary overview
of what it means to be a police officer. Comprehensively
revised and updated, the Fourth Edition incorporates information
on police and policing as current as today's headlines.
This across-the-board revision discusses the most contemporary
police operational strategies and the effectiveness of these
strategies; police response to gang crime, school crime,
terrorism, and computer-related crime; state-of-the-art
strategies that the police are using to respond to the homeless,
the mentally ill, and people with HIV/AIDS; and police innovations
such as community-oriented policing, problem-oriented policing,
and zero tolerance policing.