Both positions are vulnerable for political exposure because of today’s media. Both positions are at the top of the chain of command and are accountable for their department or local suburb.
The elected Sheriff is put in office by we the people, rather than being promoted within the department. Unlike police chief Sheriffs run for office, and do a lot of campaigning and politics. “Sheriffs are elected in all but two states. (In Rhode Island, they are appointed by the governor; in Hawaii, they are appointed by the chief justice of the state supreme court.) As elected officials, sheriffs are important political figures. In many rural areas, the sheriff is the most powerful political force in the county.” (Charles R. Swanson, Leonard Territo, and Robert W. Taylor).
A Chief of Police is an official who is appointed by an elected official usually a Mayor. A study conducted in California showed that the average tenure of a police chief in that state was less than 3 years before the chief was fired or resigned. (Swanson pg.144) Police chiefs can be removed by the mayors or city managers who appoint them. There is no protection or security for a police chief when it comes down to securing a job. However, Illinois and New Hampshire prohibits the chief from being removed without cause and an explanation. This leaves the chief to look for protection with a civil agency. A select number of states allow chiefs who are removed from their positions to return to the ranks they were within their departments before their promotion.
How do the political relationship with elected officials and the community-at-large differ between the Sheriff and the Chief of Police? Why?
I think the relationship differ because the sheriff is elected by the people, and do not want to let them down as a leader in the free world.
Swanson, C. R., Territo, L., & Taylor, R. W. (2012)