Georgia's Constitution mandates that each county have a sheriff, and legislation designates the sheriff as the chief law enforcement officer in the county. The sheriff is elected every four years.
As an officer of the court, in addition to providing physical security in the courtrooms and courthouse, the sheriff must serve as bailiff to the superior court or designate deputies to serve in that capacity. Bailiff duties include escorting juries to the courtroom, and if requested to do so, to their meals and hotel rooms. Bailiffs otherwise attend to the needs of the jury and guard them against outside influences.
As a law enforcement officer the sheriff has the responsibility of protecting life and property and for preservation of the public peace. This includes all law enforcement functions associated with those endeavors.
The sheriff is charged with serving all court summons, including subpoenas and civil process papers. In addition, the sheriff must execute all court-ordered levies on property to satisfy judgments- in court actions. The sheriff is also responsible for the transportation of mentally ill residents of his county to mental health emergency receiving facilities.
As a detention officer the sheriff is the official jailer of the county and is responsible for the health, safety, and welfare of all inmates. The courts have established strict guidelines that the sheriff must follow in providing these things to his inmates.