New York City Sheriff's Office

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Not to be confused with New York City Police Department.
Office of the Sheriff of the City of New York
Common name New York City Sheriff's Office
New York City Sheriff Uniform Patch.jpeg
Patch of the Office of the Sheriff of the City of New York
Motto New York's First
Agency overview
Formed 1626
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction* City of New York in the state of New York, U.S.
Map of New York Highlighting New York City.svg
Map of Office of the Sheriff of the City of New York's jurisdiction.
Size 1,214.4 km²
Population 8,274,527
Legal jurisdiction New York state
General nature
Operational structure
Deputy sheriffs 150
Agency executive Joseph Fucito, Sheriff of the City of New York
Parent agency New York City Department of Finance
County Field Offices


Official Site
* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.

The New York City Sheriff's Office, officially the Office of the Sheriff of the City of New York, is the primary civil law enforcement agency of New York City and the enforcement division of the New York City Department of Finance.[1] The Sheriff's Office is headed by a sheriff, who is appointed to the position by the mayor, unlike most sheriffs in the U.S. state of New York who are elected officials.[2] The New York City Sheriff holds jurisdiction over all five counties within the city, with a subordinate undersheriff in charge of each county-borough. Deputy sheriffs of various ranks carry out the primary day-to-day duties of the sheriff's office.

The New York City Sheriff is the chief civil law enforcement officer for the City of New York, and automatically holds the position of Deputy Commissioner in the Department of Finance. Responsibilities of the sheriff's office include revenue collections in civil litigation situations; collecting funds or making arrests for parents in arrears of child-support payments; and collecting on moving violations, parking violations, and judicial judgements. The office handles the enforcement of judgments for both small claims and supreme court. Such responsibilities may involve collection of unpaid taxes, enforcement of unpaid environmental fines, seizure of property and evictions. The sheriff may sell real estate and personal property to satisfy judgments, or perform arrests ordered by the civil court system. The sheriff's office has also become involved with cigarette-tax enforcement as well as assisting the NYC Department of Buildings in enforcing stop work orders. In addition, the sheriff sells vehicles not recovered by their owners, checks towed vehicles to determine if they are stolen, and enforces court judgments through a variety of programs.


The New York City Sheriff's Office originated in 1626. Originally, each of the city's five county-boroughs had their own sheriff, each which held the widest law enforcement jurisdiction in their respective county-borough. Once the city was consolidated in 1898, the New York City Police Department took over responsibility for criminal investigations throughout the entire city.

On January 1, 1942, each of the city's five county sheriff's offices were merged to become the Office of the Sheriff of the City of New York. The city's five county sheriffs were abolished and replaced with borough "chief deputies" (later undersheriffs) reporting to the now mayorally-appointed city-wide sheriff. A contemporary report of the changes emphasized professionalization of the office, which had become notorious for employing political patronage beneficiaries. The new top five commanders were "all college graduates" and "lawyers like their chief, who promises to keep out politics".[3] At the same time, the sheriff's former responsibility for running prisons was transferred to the newly established New York City Department of Correction.[4]

Chain of command[edit]

The sheriff's office has a line and staff chain of command that is similar to that of police departments and military organizations:

Title Insignia Badge Design Uniform Shirt Color
4 Gold Stars.svg
Medallion with eagle and Four stars
Assistant Sheriff
3 Gold Stars.svg
Medallion with eagle and Three stars
Chief of Staff
3 Gold Stars.svg
Medallion with eagle and Three stars
1 Gold Star.svg
Medallion with eagle and One star
Deputy Sheriff - Lieutenant
US-O1 insignia.svg
Medallion with Rank
Deputy Sheriff - Sergeant
NYPD Sergeant Stripes.svg
Shield with eagle
Dark Blue
Deputy Sheriff
Dark Blue

As of June 2014, Joseph Fucito was appointed the 121st Sheriff of the City of New York. Sheriff Fucito has over 25 years of experience in the New York City Sheriff's Office, and came up through the ranks of deputy sheriff. He has commanded a wide variety of units and county offices, and also served as Acting Sheriff two separate times before his official appointment to Sheriff.

In addition to deputy sheriffs, the Sheriff's Office employs sworn investigators and security officers. As with other sworn members of city law enforcement agencies, the investigators get their powers and privileges pursuit to the New York State Criminal Procedure Law as peace officers, under one of the subdivisions of §2.10, or in the case of security officers as special patrolmen, under subdivision 27, §2.10.

Uniformed Support Services[edit]

The Office of the New York City Sheriff is served by Uniformed Support Services in the form of a Chaplain's Support Unit and a Medical Support Unit.

The Sheriff appoints up to five Chaplains to serve the unique needs of the sworn, investigative and support staff members of the New York City Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff’s Chaplains are not deputy sheriffs and do not have peace officer status. Each of the four clergy currently serving are certified law enforcement Chaplains who collectively have over 100 years of combined service. Sheriff’s Chaplains have the assimilated rank of undersheriff with the chaplain’s insignia. While their rank affords them a place in the ceremonial chain of command, to avoid conflicts of interest they serve outside the operational chain of command with no actual law enforcement authority. In addition to the four the Sheriff appoints a Senior Chaplain who wears two stars and the chaplain’s insignia. Appointment as a Chaplain or as the Senior Chaplain is subject to the needs of the office and the discretion of the Sheriff.

The Sheriff appoints a member of the medical community to serve as Sheriff's Surgeon with the assimilated rank of undersheriff. As with the Chaplains they are members of the services with rank, shield and the medical insignia. Their rank affords them a place in the ceremonial chain of command; however, to avoid conflicts of interest, they serve outside the operational chain of command with no actual law enforcement authority.

All sworn officers are vested with an authorized badge (shield) and an identification card which designates their function and authority in the New York City Uniformed Law Enforcement Service. Sheriff's Office employees who are not sworn law enforcement officers will have identification cards without shields.

Rank/ Title Insignia Badge Design Uniform Shirt Color
Senior Chaplain
2 Gold Stars.svg
Medallion with eagle and two stars with chaplain's insignia
1 Gold Star.svg
Medallion with eagle and one star with chaplain's insignia
1 Gold Star.svg
Medallion with eagle and one star with Surgeon's insignia

Diversity of work performed[edit]

All law enforcement duties executed in the name of the sheriff are performed by deputy sheriffs and investigators. Because of the highly diverse law enforcement duties deputy sheriffs encounter, deputy sheriffs are cross trained in many areas of criminal law and civil law. The deputy sheriff can be considered the "jack of all trades" law enforcement officer. It is not unusual for a deputy sheriff to perform work similar to a investigator, lawyer, accountant, and auctioneer all in one week.

In order to be hired as deputies, candidates must first pass a civil service entrance examination and meet strong educational/experiential requirements. In addition, candidates must pass medical and psychological examinations, physical ability tests, and a full background investigation.


Law Enforcement Bureau (LEB) / County Offices[edit]

By law, the sheriff must maintain an office in each of the five counties/boroughs of New York City. Deputy sheriffs assigned to these offices perform a variety of tasks such as executing arrest process (such as warrants of arrest), orders to commit, evictions, and service other types of civil process. These deputies also enforce the seizure and sale of property pursuant to judicial mandates. Businesses and individuals that owe the city money pursuant to unpaid city tax warrants, environmental control board summons, and fire and health code violations and fines, are targeted for enforcement action by this unit. There is a Law Enforcement Bureau based out of each of the five counties in New York City. The county offices are accessible to the public, giving citizens of the county/borough a local place to file court process in need of enforcement. Deputy sheriffs also provide an additional law enforcement presence on the city streets, and may be called upon for assistance. This assistance includes but is not limited to summoning emergency medical service; preventing and terminating crimes in progress or about to be committed; and any other peacekeeping function necessary to maintain law and order. This also includes issuing summonses to vehicles in violation of New York City traffic ordinances and New York State vehicle and traffic laws.

In addition to these services, the Sheriff's Office contains several units for specific and sometimes specialized assignments.

Warrants Unit[edit]

Deputy sheriffs assigned to this unit serve legal process such as summonses and subpoenas for family court offenses as well as arresting and jailing individuals pursuant to family court warrants of arrest and commitment.

Scofflaw Unit[edit]

Deputy sheriffs assigned to this unit handle scofflaw enforcement, searching the city streets with court mandates in order to immobilize (boot) vehicles for excess unpaid parking and moving violations, and if necessary, seize the vehicle.

Mental Health Enforcement Unit (also known as Kendra's Unit)[edit]

This unit enforces Kendra's Law, named after Kendra Webdale, who was pushed onto the subway tracks by a mentally ill man in 1999. Kendra's law provides a procedure for the removal of a patient, subject to a court order, to a hospital for psychiatric evaluation and observation. In cases where the patient fails to comply with the ordered treatment and poses risk of harm, this unit will locate, detain, and transport the patient.

Field Support Unit (FSU)[edit]

Deputy sheriffs assigned to this unit undergo extensive training in advanced tactics, communications, fleet maintenance, and surveillance. Utilizing specialized equipment and vehicles, FSU is available to assist other units when called upon.

Tax Enforcement[edit]

Tax Enforcement is a branch of the Department of Finance, which operates under the umbrella of the Sheriff’s Office. Prior to 2011, Tax Enforcement was a separate division of the Department of Finance. Since then, the branch has been folded into the Sheriff's Office. It has an investigatory, audit and compliance function as it pertains to the tax codes of the city. It is staffed with investigators, auditors and various other support personnel positions. In operational command of the branch is a sworn investigator with the title of 'Director of Tax Enforcement', who reports directly to the Sheriff. Tax Enforcement is divided into two units; investigations and audits. An investigator with the rank of 'Chief Investigator', supported by supervising investigators, oversees the Investigations Unit. An audit manager supervises the Audit Unit. The investigators, auditors, and other staff members of this branch often work alongside deputy sheriffs to enforce city tax regulations. Also included in this branch is the Tobacco Tax Task Force, a unit made up of deputy sheriffs, fraud investigators, and civilian support personnel. The Tobacco Tax Task Force ensure retailer compliance with New York City taxes imposed on all tobacco products. This task force monitors inter-state sales of tobacco products, conducts inspections of tobacco retailers, and makes arrests and seizures pursuant to illegal sales and distribution of untaxed tobacco products.

Power and authority[edit]

Deputy sheriffs are New York State peace officers and are authorized to make warrantless arrests, issue summonses, conduct vehicle stops, carry and use firearms, batons, pepper spray, handcuffs, and use physical and deadly force. Deputy sheriffs have peace officer status both on-duty and off-duty.

Fallen Officers[edit]

Since the establishment of the sheriff’s offices in the five counties of New York City, seven sworn members of service have died in the line of duty.[5]

Officer Department Date of Death Details
Deputy Sheriff Isaac Smith Bronx County Sheriff's Office, NY
Thursday, May 17, 1792
Deputy Sheriff Henry Wendelstorf Queens County Sheriff's Department, NY
Friday, June 25, 1897
Sheriff Paul Stier Queens County Sheriff's Department, NY
Friday, October 13, 1916
Keeper Morris Broderson Bronx County Sheriff's Office, NY
Thursday, July 19, 1928
Keeper Daniel D. Horgan Bronx County Sheriff's Office, NY
Thursday, July 19, 1928
Deputy Sheriff John T. Miller Queens County Sheriff's Department, NY
Thursday, March 30, 1939
Automobile accident
Deputy Sheriff Fred D'Amore Queens County Sheriff's Department, NY
Thursday, March 30, 1939
Automobile accident

See also[edit]


  1. ^ New York City Department of Finance page
  2. ^ N.Y. Constitution, Article 13, section 13. See [1] (pdf) at p. 41; see also [2] (html).
  3. ^ "McCLOSKEY PICKS HIS 5 CHIEF AIDES". New York Times. 2 January 1942. Retrieved 9 January 2012. 
  4. ^ McKinley, Jesse. "F.Y.I.", The New York Times, November 27, 1994. Accessed January 21, 2008. "Established in 1626, the Sheriff's office in Manhattan and its equivalents in the other boroughs served as a major part of the patchwork of law-enforcement agencies that existed before the city's consolidation in 1898. After that, the new New York City Police Department took over the responsibility for criminal investigations and arrests. Prior to the merger into one department, the sheriff was responsible for maintaining the city jails and maintained custody over all inmates sentenced or awaiting trial for criminal cases. In 1941, The city charter was amended by public referendum votes to transfer custodial duties of inmates in criminal cases to the New York City Department of Correction. Today, the city sheriff's primary duties are enforcing court-ordered judgments and fines, including unpaid parking tickets and littering fines, and collecting judgments from reluctant losers in private lawsuits, said John George, the Sheriff's executive assistant. "
  5. ^ The Officer Down Memorial Page

External links[edit]