The Differences Between a Deputy Sheriff, Police Officer, and a US Marshal
Understanding the law and the ranking system of officials within the law can be complicated. Citizens understand the general notion of what police officers, sheriffs, and marshals do, but the inner workings can be more complex. Is it important in the day to day to understand the primary differences of these officers? Not necessarily, but knowledge and information is always wise to have on hand. As your trusted police badge makers, we’re going to help you understand the role each of them plays in the law enforcement system.
Whether you’re interested in finding out how to tell a police officer or deputy sheriff apart by their custom police badges, or you’ve always been curious about the role that each one plays, we break down their primary duties and how to know who you should go regarding different crimes or area concerns.
Get to Know Police Officers with Baltimore City Police Badges
Police officers are, most commonly, general-purpose law enforcement officers. They are employed by a city government, like when you note a Baltimore city police badge on a uniform, but they can also be employed by a county or state. Police officers hired by different locations will boast different badges. Some will have uniforms with a Maryland police badge, while you will see differences in a Baltimore county police badge and a Baltimore city police badge. This is because each area may employ different law officers, and it helps provide distinction among the different offices.
Police officers may also be hired by a college, hospital, transit district, or any other similarly structured government organization that has the power to create a law enforcement branch for their needs. This is why some police officers will have custom police badges, that do not promote a city, county, or state, but instead a specific organization.
How to Spot Police Officers by their Police Badges and Uniforms
Your standard police officer will almost always be armed, in a standard police uniform, with a marked patrol car that features lights and sirens. The uniform will always include a custom police badge that marks their jurisdiction.
Police officers, no matter who they are hired by or what area they work in, can make arrests and serve warrants. You most often encounter police officers while they are acting as a security force, and their primary role is to protect the people and citizens in their area, along with all public facilities. More serious offenses will be pushed to higher-power agents or officers, but you can always go to a police officer with any concern and they will help point you in the proper direction.
The Role of a Deputy Sheriff Who Boasts a Baltimore County Police Badge
Sheriffs, in contrast to police officers, are elected officials. They are the chief of a sheriff’s department, normally operating under a county government, but sometimes they operate under a city, instead, if the city is separate from the county (most notably, in Virginia).
This is why you may sometimes see a county Sheriff badge and then a city Sheriff badge within the same area. All counties must have a sheriff, and in some circumstances, the sheriff acts as a tax collector.
The Duties of a Sheriff and Why They May Have a Custom Police Badge
What a sheriff does in their role varies from each county and in each state. Sometimes, the sheriff’s role is largely ceremonial, where they primarily serve papers and provide security within the court system — this is why sheriffs may need a custom police badge to go along with their uniform.
A sheriff may also take on these responsibilities while running the local county jail, providing general law enforcement, and taking on standard police services. The sheriff’s badge is a symbol of protection and symbolizes the serving of citizens who may be in an area that does not have their own police force. If you see a sheriff, it is okay to go to them with any issue you would take to the police, and they will help direct you to the proper channels for a resolution and protection.
What a US Marshal Does and Why He Needs a Custom Police Badge
US Marshals differ from sheriffs and police officers in one primary way: they are hired on at a federal level as opposed to in a city, county, or state jurisdiction. US Marshals primarily handle fugitive arrests, federal prisoner transportation, and the witness protection program. Other duties of theirs may include asset forfeiting management, prisoner operations, and judicial security. Most citizens will not interact with a US Marshal, as opposed to turning to their local police department for concerns or safety issues. As such, the US Marshal badge is not commonly known and rarely needs to be recnognized, in contrast to being able to discern a sheriff badge from a police badge.
Why You Won’t Commonly Come Across a US Marshal
US Marshals primarily work on apprehending fugitives and providing security for state, county, and city local courts. US Marshals do not commonly conduct traffic stops unless they believe they are apprehending a fugitive on the run.
US Marshals do have federal jurisdiction but a sheriff is still the one in primary command in their local city, state, or county. A sheriff or a police officer is who you will interact with, even if a US Marshal is in the area, unless you are involved in a federal case involving a fugitive.
Every Law Enforcement Officer Has a Different Police Badge and a Different Responsibility
It may be easy to assume that no matter what you need a law enforcement official for, the top of the line is always best. That, however, is not true. When in doubt, always go to your local police officer first — they are hired to be the first line of security and protection for those in their jurisdiction. Look for a law enforcement officer with a custom police badge that dictates their city, county, state, or other jurisdiction location. If you speak with a law enforcement officer outside of your area, they can often point you in the right direction.
Knowing if you need a sheriff, police officer, or US Marshal isn’t common knowledge, and it’s okay to reach out to whichever officer you have contact with in your time of need. No law enforcement officer should turn you away, which is why a custom police badge is so critical to look for when you’re in help.