The Greater Cincinnati Police Museum
“Preserving the History of Law Enforcement in the Greater Cincinnati Area”
Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office:
The office of sheriff was first established in 1066 A.D. by the Normans. The word sheriff was derived from “shire” (the equivalent of today’s county) and “reeve” (chief law enforcer). Thus, the term “shire reeve” was eventually shortened to simply sheriff. At the same time, the title of constable was also created, and this was the position of keeper of the reeve’s stable of horses. Sheriff and constable were the first two titles for law enforcement officers in America, and each owe their origins to English ancestry.
In Ohio, a sheriff is elected by the people they serve in of each of 88 counties. It is the oldest law enforcement position in the United States. The term of office for sheriffs in Ohio is four years.
The primary duties of sheriffs in Ohio are to provide common pleas court services and corrections on a countywide basis and full police protection to the unincorporated areas of the county. Full police jurisdiction is maintained in all municipalities, townships and villages.
Road Patrol personnel were uniformed in the 1920s. Patches were worn on the uniforms of the deputies in the 1940s who were assigned to Patrol, indicating that they were the Hamilton County police; though the badges read “Deputy Sheriff.” In 1949, Sheriff Dan Tehan officially created the Hamilton County Police, and their badges and patches reflected that designation.
Ohio sheriffs and deputies have worn a standardized uniform since 1960 when the Ohio Legislature adopted new five-point star badges along with new patches, both using the term “Deputy Sheriff.”
Deputies are hired to perform different functions in lieu of the sheriff and, based on their functions, there are several styles of badges and shoulder patches. Sheriff’s vehicles in every county are also similarly painted.
The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office is a full-service agency consisting of: Aviation, Marine, Road Patrol, Detectives, Computer Crime Section, Organized Crime Division, Regional Narcotic Unit, Dive Team, Information Systems, Internal Investigations, Court Services, Corrections, Records-Identification and Warrant Section. Ranks within the sheriff’s office are as follows: deputy, detective, corporal, sergeant, lieutenant, captain, major, colonel, chief deputy and sheriff.
There are several interesting tidbits of trivia about our sheriffs: Asa V. Butterfield (1931-1934) was a candidate on two tickets (democrat and independent). George A. Lutz Jr. finished his father’s term (1935-1938). Sheriff Dan P. Tehan (1949-1972) served the second longest term as sheriff with a total of 24 years of service and also retired as a National Football League referee. Sheriff Lincoln J. Stokes (1977-1987) had the third longest tenure of ten years. Sheriff Simon L. Leis’s was the longest, he having served from 1987 to 2013.
20th/21th CENTURY HAMILTON COUNTY SHERIFFS
January 7, 2013 to present, Sheriff James Neil
1987 – 2013 Simon Simon L. Leis, Jr.
1977 – 1987 Lincoln J. Stokes
1973 – 1976 Paul J. Fricker
1949 – 1972 Dan P. Tehan
1943 – 1948 C. Taylor Handman
1939 – 1942 Fred Sperber
1937 – 1938 George A. Lutz, Jr.
1935 – 1936 George A. Lutz, Sr.
1931 – 1934 Asa V. Butterfield
1927 – 1930 William Anderson
1923 – 1926 Richard B. Witt
1919 – 1922 Ferd Bader
1915 – 1918 George F. Schott
1911 – 1914 Charles Cooper
1907 – 1910 Henry W. Hamann
1903 – 1906 Salmon Jones
1899 – 1902 Thomas A. Taylor