About the Sheriff's Office
Since 1742, the Sheriff's Office has proudly served Fairfax County as the original law enforcement agency. Today, the Sheriff's Office is one of three county public safety agencies responsible for the more than one million citizens who live in Fairfax County. With more than 600 employees, the Fairfax County Sheriff's Office is the largest in Virginia.
The position of sheriff is one established by the Virginia Constitution. At best count, there have been 70 sheriffs in Fairfax County since 1742, including the current sheriff, Stan Barry, who was first elected in 1999. Though early sheriffs served for terms of two years, the people elect the current position every four years.
The sheriff's responsibilities have changed from sole law enforcement official for a mostly rural area of Northern Virginia, to wide-ranging duties in coordination with a county police department in a booming suburb of the nation's capital. When the police department was formed in 1940, it assumed patrol, investigative, crime fighting, and transportation safety responsibilities. Since then, the Sheriff's Office has provided three main areas of service to the community—managing the Adult Detention Center, providing security in the courthouses, and serving civil law process.
Individual staff members and the agency as a whole consistently have been accredited and awarded commendations for performance in correctional management, health care, inmate classification, and meeting judicial standards.
The sheriff and his deputies have both civil and concurrent criminal jurisdiction. That jurisdiction is in Fairfax County, the City of Fairfax, and the towns of Vienna and Herndon. The Sheriff's Office—in conjunction with local police departments—assists with controlling traffic, issuing traffic summonses, and working with state and local law-enforcement agencies. Additionally, sheriff's deputies aid the county police, the U.S. Marshals Service, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in a joint fugitive task force that provides apprehension and arrest of felons who face current warrants.