History

On April 22, 1696, Colonial Governor Sir Francis Nicholson appointed Thomas Greenfield the first Sheriff of Prince George’s County, which makes the Office of the Sheriff the oldest law enforcement agency in the County. The title of Sheriff is derived from England’s “Shire Reeve,” and is first found in history around the year 992. The “Shire Reeve” was responsible for protecting the King’s land, collecting taxes and enforcing the King’s will (or the law of the land). In the Colonies, the role of the Sheriff evolved into a law enforcement officer whose duties were largely directed by the Courts.

Today, the Office of Sheriff is an elected position with a four year term. In addition to fulfilling various public safety roles, the Office of the Sheriff is considered the enforcement arm of the courts.

Notable Dates

  • Thomas Greenfield elected first Sheriff of Prince George’s County April 22, 1696
  • Board of County Commissioners were established April 6, 1795
  • First Deputy Sheriffs were appointed 1799
  • Sheriff Charles Early formed the County Police Department 1927
  • The County Sheriff and Police Departments were separated 1930

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