The Sheriff's responsibilities cover a range of public safety functions that vary from locality to locality.
Sheriffs provide all law enforcement services, including investigating crimes, pursuing offenders and making arrests.
Sheriffs maintain local jails, housing from a handful to hundreds of offenders awaiting trial or serving short sentences, and by statute are represented on governing boards of all regional jails. The sheriff may also manage other local corrections programs and transport criminal defendants to and from corrections facilities.
All Virginia sheriffs provide security in local courthouses, serve legal papers throughout their jurisdictions, summon jurors and witnesses, and execute upon court judgments.
Sheriffs are assisted in their duties by deputy sheriffs, appointed by the principal officer.