Sýslumaður

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Sýslumaður (Old Norse: Sýslumaðr) is an office or title created in Iceland when it submitted to the King of Norway in 1262–1264. This sort of office had already been established in Norway, called sysselmann in contemporary Norwegian. It is often translated as sheriff or magistrate in English.

The Sýslumaður was granted a fief called Sýsla in which he was responsible for collecting tolls, taxes and fines, upholding the law and military defences. They were also to hold courts of justice and name the men who were to sit in juries.

The Sýslumenn traditionally had large retinues of soldiers, but this practice was mostly abandoned after 1550, when the Danish King sent an army which succeeded in disarming most of Iceland as a preventative to rebellion.

Currently the Icelandic sheriff's are only tasked with being chiefs of police in their districts still known as sýsla, collecting taxes and issuing various permits and passports. Although recent changes in the organisation of the National Police of Iceland have created some differences in the tasks entrusted to different sýslumenn. The sýslumaður of Suðurnes maintains, for example, additional non-police security forces for Keflavík International Airport, meanwhile the sýslumaður of Kópavogur is in charge of issuing all Icelandic passports.

During the era of when the U.S. Military was able to assist the needs of the Icelandic Police, they had instruction sessions, on life saving techniques at sea, supervised and arranged by them on regular basis. Their training for local schools also played a vital role in the safety of maritime sailors that began work and occupations at sea in the fishing industries. These were coordinated with the Icelandic Coast Guard, and Search and Rescue, in the early to mid and latter 1990s.

Iceland is now split up between 24 sýslumenn.