Yesterday my email box was flooded with questions about sheriff’s offices. Why the sudden interest? I haven’t a clue, but the questions were mostly related to sheriff’s offices in Alaska and how they operate. The answers to those questions are quite simple, because there are no sheriff’s offices in Alaska. In fact, two other states, Hawaii and Connecticut, also function without a sheriff at the helm of county law enforcement.
Alaska doesn’t have sheriff’s offices because the state doesn’t have county governments.
King Cove Alaska Police Department
Connecticut simply grew weary of its county sheriffs and changed the state constitution, eliminating the office entirely. In its place they established a state marshal system, which basically serves the same function, but without a sheriff at the top of the chain. Now, instead of having an elected official in charge (county government has no control over an elected official) the department is run by the State Marshal Commission. The commission also hires and fires all marshals.
What are the qualifications to be a Connecticut State Marshal? Here’s what the commission says:
Marshals must be an elector in the county where the vacancy exists, speak/write/read English, have resided in Connecticut at least one year, be 21 years old, have a high school diploma or its equivalent, be free of any mental or emotional disorder that may adversely affect performance, be of good moral character, hold a valid Connecticut drivers license, not be convicted of a felony, not be convicted of certain misdemeanors within five years prior to appointment, pass a written exam, complete required training, provide a $10,000 bond, and provide evidence of personal liability insurance.
How much does a state marshal earn? Well, according to one news report (HartfordInfo.com), John T. Fiorillo, a state marshal, earned more than ten times the salary of the state’s governor. In fact, Fiorillo raked in over two-million dollars serving foreclosure papers (for private firms) to people losing their homes during the economic downturn.
Wow, this system sounds much better than having a sheriff’s office…
And, then there’s Hawaii, another state without sheriffs, but they still employee deputy sheriffs who serve in the Sheriff’s Division of the Hawaii Department of Public Safety.