The Office of the Sheriff is the oldest office under the system of common law in the United States and is an integral part of government in the State of New York. The position of Sheriff in Columbia County dates back to at least 1772 when Phillip J. Livingston was appointed to the position. In 1822, Samuel E. Hudson was the first Sheriff to be elected to serve a term of three years. Since then, the Sheriff has been an elected official with the current term being for four years.
As the oldest constitutional law enforcement officer of the county, the Sheriff is charged with maintaining the peace in all municipalities, villages, and townships within his/her jurisdiction, as well as the care and custody of persons pending court action. The Sheriff's Office is unique in that it is one agency which provides five public safety functions.....law enforcement, corrections, security services, emergency management and civil enforcement. In addition to police services, the Sheriff maintains a 135 bed county jail located at the Public Safety Facility and provides security for Local, County and Supreme courts and other county buildings such as the County Clerk's Office and Social Services.
The Columbia County Sheriff's Office is a state accredited law enforcement agency which currently employs 115 full time and approximately 60 part time men and women who serve as Deputy Sheriff's, Correction Officers and civilian members of the Communications, Civil, Records, Court Attendant, medical and Food Service sections of the office. The men and women within the five divisions of the office, (Law Enforcement, Corrections, Security Services, Civil Enforcement and Emergency Management), provide a wide range of services to County residents. Deputy Sheriffs must reside in Columbia County. The Sheriff's Office is a civil service agency. Full time employees are required to pass a civil service test and be ranked on a list approved by New York State and administered by the county Civil Service Commission.
Columbia County is located in the Hudson Valley of New York State between the Hudson River and the Massachusetts and Connecticut state lines. It is approximately 125 miles north of New York City, 30 miles south of Albany and 100 miles west of Boston, MA. In addition to approximately 64,000 residents residing over 644 square miles of land area, Columbia County has roughly 30 miles of Hudson River waterfront along its west border.
The Sheriff's Office owes its successful development to the support of the Columbia County Board of Supervisors, the many previous Sheriffs and all of the men and women, both past and present, who have dedicated themselves to the service and protection of the citizens of Columbia County.