Relationship to County Legislative Body and Other Officials-Sheriff

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The sheriff must interact with the county mayor and/or a finance/budget director as well as the county legislative body regarding the sheriff's budget and budget amendments. The exact procedures vary from county to county depending upon whether the county operates under a charter or optional general law regarding budgeting or has a private act dealing with this subject. However, all sheriffs must submit budget requests in a timely manner in the first half of each calendar year for inclusion in the county's annual budget. Most counties have budget committees that may recommend appropriations for the sheriff's budget that differ from the budget submitted by the sheriff. The county legislative body determines the amount of the sheriff's budget, subject to certain restrictions, such as not reducing the sheriff's budget for personnel without the consent of the sheriff and following the requirements of any court order regarding a salary suit for deputies or assistants or any other lawsuit that may have been filed to require the county legislative body to fund an adequate jail or otherwise meet its statutory or constitutional duties. In many counties, depending upon the applicable law, the county mayor has the authority to approve line item amendments to the sheriff's budget within major categories unrelated to personnel costs, whereas major category amendments require the approval of the county legislative body. T.C.A. § 5-9-407.

Since the sheriff waits upon the courts and serves process directed to the sheriff, the sheriff must interact with judges and chancellors holding court in the county as well as with the clerks serving these courts. Clerks of court routinely add sheriff's fees to the bills of costs that are prepared in each case and collect these fees along with the fees of the clerks of court and other costs. Also, the sheriff or deputy must go before an official deemed a "magistrate" by state law to obtain arrest warrants, search warrants, and orders to a jailer to incarcerate a prisoner (mittimus).

The sheriff interacts with the office of the district attorney general in the vast majority of counties wherein the sheriff has law enforcement duties. It is the district attorney's office that prosecutes criminal cases in the courts with criminal jurisdiction that are held in the county. Therefore, a good working relationship with the district attorney's office is vital to successful law enforcement in the county. The district attorney's office also has investigators who can be very valuable in helping the sheriff carry out the sheriff's law enforcement duties.