For many people, the image of a county sheriff is one of law enforcement, whether it's meeting people in neighborhoods or busting drug dealers. But the responsibilities of a county sheriff reach far beyond that. In addition to catching criminals, the sheriff is also the primary tax officer for the county, and deals with the challenges of collecting taxes, and even in some cases handling money in an estate.
"If somebody, in the event where somebody passes away and there's no next of kin to take care of that estate, the sheriff has the initial responsibility to take care of that estate and to settle the estate," said Sheriff Adam Gissy, Lewis County.
Those duties are two of the more visible ones that the sheriff is in charge of, but they're still not the only ones. The sheriff's department can also be seen as bailiffs in court proceedings, as well as other duties around the county.
"We're also responsible for inmate custody when they come in here. It's our responsibility. We're responsible for serving papers in the civil process. We're responsible for something called a mental hygiene if somebody's of an altered mental state and is a danger to themselves or others."
Of course, law enforcement remains a central part of the modern sheriff's department, and Gissy said that he draws his biggest motivation from keeping the county safe as an officer and also as a father.
"Not only for my child, but for every child, you want to have the peace of mind to know that if they're growing up in our community, that its safe and that they're going to have the chance to succeed in life. That's something that's absolutely my biggest motivation."
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Clarksburg, WV 26301
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