The basic political subdivision of the United States of America is the County, a format upon which all government is based. It is at the county level where crime can best be recognized and curtailed.
Additionally, the Sheriff is required to transport all insane persons coming into his charge to an appropriate institution, and if they have been charged with or committed some criminal act, take charge of them upon restoration of competence. Each of these agencies has its own realm within which it functions. Municipal police agencies operate primarily within the city boundaries, not serving civil process nor do they operate or maintain jails. The Highway Patrol, while performing a valuable function, operates primarily in the area of traffic enforcement exclusively.
The TBI on the other hand is an investigative body, but operates as an arm of the District Attorney General, and performs its duties at the direction of the District Attorney General except in certain specific criminal activity. The FBI and other federal agencies operate within the field of federal law alone. If there is no federal violation they do not intervene or assist. There are other facets of criminal justice which must be considered in light of the Sheriff's Office. Cities have municipal police agencies, the state provides the highway patrol, TBI, etc., and the federal government provides the FBI, ATF, DEA, along with others too numerous to mention. There is one factor common to all criminal violations throughout Tennessee whether they be local, state or federal crimes, they all happen in the county. The county must provide protection to its citizens from local, federal, and/or state crimes. County Officers are not limited to specific violations or certain areas within the county, the Sheriff is the chief law enforcement officer in the county and is responsible for it all. We in Tennessee recognize that all power is inherent in the people, all free governments are founded on their authority, and instituted for their peace, safety, and happiness.
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