Okay, so you're writing a crime story of some sort. Might be a mystery. Might be a suspense. Perhaps a cozy. With lots of romance. Or not. But you need a local law enforcement officer.
Well, that would be someone from the local police department, right? Maybe. Or you might want to go with a Sheriff or a deputy.
What's the difference?
Chiefs of police usually are municipal employees who owe their allegiance to a city. Chiefs are usually appointed by the Mayor of a city; or, they may be appointed by or subject to the confirmation of a Police Commission. Members of the police department of that city report to the chief or someone under his command.
Deputies may serve as police officers or they may work in the county jails, courtrooms, and in the civil process department (which handles delivery of civil papers such as jury summons, subpoenas, divorce decrees, etc.). Only members of the sheriff's office can serve civil papers.
Most larger sheriff officers (or departments) have both uniformed and plain-clothes officers (detectives). Some sheriffs also serve as coroner.
So next time you're looking for a local LEO for your story, think about the local PD but don't overlook the Sheriff's Office.
Have you ever used a sheriff or a deputy in one of your stories?
Groaner of the Day: Snow White received a camera as a gift. She happily took pictures of the Dwarfs and their surroundings. When she finished her first batch she took the film to be developed. After a week or so she went to get the finished photos. The clerk said the photos were not back from the processor.
She went back again the next week, but again her pictures were not ready.
By the third week, she was feeling quite distraught and when told the photos still weren't ready, she began to cry.
The clerk, trying to console her, said, "Don't worry, Princess. Some day your prints will come".