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Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office History - Greater Cincinnati Police Museum Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office History - Greater Cincinnati Police Museum

Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office History


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.


Sheriffs of Hamilton County

NameYr to YrTotal Yrs
Brown, John1790to17923
Ludlow, John1793to17942
Symmes, Daniel1795to17962
Smith, James1797to18048
McFarland, William1805to18062
Goforth, Aaron1806to18105
Jenkinson, Joseph1811to18122
Wallace, John S.1813to18142
Hosbrook, David1816to18161
Ruffin, William1817to18171
Ayers, Stephen1818to18225
Ruffin, William1823to18253
Avery, John C.1829to18291
Hulse, Ebenezer1831to18344
Fostick, Samuel1836to18383
Avery, John C.1839to18424
Garrard, John H.1843to18464
Weaver, Thomas S.1847to18482
Cooper, Joseph1849to18502
Smith, Charles W.1851to18522
Higdon, Benjamin1853to18542
Brashears, Gassaway1855to18562
Mathers, Richard1857to18582
Kessler, Henry1859to18602
Armstrong, John B.1861to18622
Long, William1863to18642
Calvin, Richard1865to18662
Schlotman, Henry S.1867to18682
Weber, Daniel1869to18702
Heart, Joseph E.1871to18722
Ziegler, George W.1873to18742
Springmeier, Ferdinand1875to18762
Wallace, William P.1877to18782
Weber, George1879to18802
Bailey, Samuel, Jr.1881to18822
Hawkins, Morton L.1883to18842
Beresford, Samuel M., Jr.1885to18862
Schott, Leo1887to18904
Heim, Valentine H.1891to18922
Archibald, Robert M.1893to18975
Reichel, Chris1898to18981
Taylor, Thomas A.1899to19024
Jones, Salmon1903to19064
Hamann, Henry W.1907to19104
Cooper, Charles1911to19144
Schott, George F.1915to19184
Bader, Ferd1919to19224
Witt, Richard B.1923to19264
Anderson, William1927to19304
Butterfield, Asa V.1931to19344
Lutz, George A., Sr.1935to19362
Lutz, George A., Jr.1937to19382
Sperber, Fred1939to19424
Handman, C. Taylor1943to19486
Tehan, Dan P.1949to197224
Fricker, Paul J.1973to19764
Stokes, Lincoln J.1977to198711
Leis, Simon L., Jr.1987to201226
Neil, James2013to20208
McGuffey, Charmaine 2021topresent