Washington State Sheriffs
"The Office of Sheriff is one of antiquity.
It is the oldest law enforcement office known in the common law system, and
it has always been accorded with great dignity and high trust"
- Walter H. Anderson, in Sheriffs, Coroners and Constables.
The Sheriffs of Washington are elected and are constitutional officers
within the Constitution of the State of Washington.
In order to improve and provide effective service and protection to all citizens of Washington,
the 39 Sheriffs joined together in 1984 to form this
Association. This joining together of the
Sheriffs has allowed the Sheriffs to assist each other in fulfilling their duties and obligations to the people of this state as
the chief law enforcement officers of their respective counties.
WSSA Mission Statement
serve and protect the people of Washington State, and to
uphold the Constitution and laws of the State of Washington,
and the United States, the mission of the Washington State
Sheriff’s Association (WSSA) is to promote ethics,
professionalism, leadership development,
training and dialogue among its members and the law
To preserve and protect the office of Sheriff.
To be a unified voice addressing local, state, and
federal lawmakers on criminal justice issues.
To improve public awareness of criminal justice issues.
To study emerging common issues and develop responses.
To maintain a close working relationship with WASPC on
issues of mutual concern.
To provide a centralized body through which prompt
cooperation may be had with other public officials and
bodies in performance of their duties.
To provide immediate support to fellow sheriffs, law
enforcement officers, and their respective agencies in times
The sheriff is the chief executive officer and conservator of the peace of the county. In the execution of his office, he and his deputies:
(1) Shall arrest and commit to prison all persons who break the peace, or attempt to break it, and all persons guilty of public offenses;
(2) Shall defend the county against those who, by riot or otherwise, endanger the public peace or safety;
(3) Shall execute the process and orders of the courts of justice or judicial officers, when delivered for that purpose, according to law;
(4) Shall execute all warrants delivered for that purpose by other public officers, according to
the provisions of particular statutes;
(5) Shall attend the sessions of the courts of record held within the county, and obey their lawful orders or directions;
(6) Shall keep and preserve the peace in their respective counties, and quiet and suppress all affrays, riots, unlawful assemblies and insurrections, for which purpose, and for the service of process in civil or criminal cases, and in apprehending or securing any person for felony or breach of the peace, they may call to their aid such persons, or power of their county as they may deem necessary.
Duty to make complaint.
In addition to the duties contained in RCW 36.28.010, it
shall be the duty of all sheriffs to make complaint of all
violations of the criminal law, which shall come to their
knowledge, within their respective jurisdictions.