Deputy Sheriff vs. Police Officer


A council certified officer is one who holds a position of authority or command. Deputies, city police, county police, state troopers, GBI agents, constables, marshals, etc. are all council certified officers. The difference between a deputy and the other officers mentioned, is that a deputy is one

appointed as a substitute for the sheriff with the power to act

as an agent of the sheriff.  He or she is an employee of the sheriff.

Their arrest powers extend across county lines and are recognized

statewide.


City police and county police officers are hired by a chief who

answers to the city council or county commission. A city police

officer’s jurisdiction is only within the city limit boundaries,

unless deputized by the sheriff of the county; a county police

officer’s jurisdiction is confined within the boundaries of the county he or she is employed by. City and county police officers, troopers, GBI agents, constables, marshals etc. were created or authorized by statutes enacted by the legislature and thusly statutorily empowered to enforce various laws.


Only the Office of Sheriff was created in the Constitution and ratified by a majority of all of the citizens of the state. Pursuant to Georgia law, sheriffs are the ONLY officials with the DUTY to preserve the peace and protect the lives, persons, property, health, and morals of the people. In addition, sheriffs, deputies and jailers must swear to an oath related to the performance of their duties.


The law authorizes or empowers other police officers to enforce certain laws, but those statutes lack any words mandating any duty, or a sworn oath to such duty.  Sheriffs have the authority to hire deputies to assist them in carrying out their official duties. The position of deputy sheriff is recognized by both statutory and case law in Georgia. Deputies are NOT county officers, but may participate in the pension plan for Georgia council certified officers and are considered employees of the county for purposes of worker’s compensation. They have no ‘term of office’, but are employees of the sheriff.


Georgia common law is clear that deputies are personnel and employees of the sheriff, not the county commission, and the sheriff has the authority to set the salaries of deputies. By approving or disapproving the sheriff’s budget required for salaries, the county commission has performed its function. All deputies must take the same oaths as the sheriff before beginning his official duties. A deputy sheriff is an agent of the sheriff and is generally empowered with the same duties and arrest powers as the sheriff.  They have the power to make arrests, to maintain the peace, and enforce the law. As a general rule the sheriff is free to use discretion in the removal or dismissal of deputies. The exception to the sheriff’s unrestrained power to remove deputies may be found in those counties with include the sheriff’s office in their civil service system.


Phone:  (706) 677-2248

160 Windmill Farm Road, Homer, GA 30547