As part of the McKinney Chamber of Commerce's ongoing candidate information series to better inform voters, the Chamber is providing the following overview of the Collin County Sheriff’s Office.

Voters will go to the polls May 29 to cast ballots in the Texas primaries for candidates seeking state and county-wide seats. Three candidates are running on the Republican ballot for Collin County sheriff. Early voting begins May 14.

For more information on voting, go online to Collin County’s Election Department at http://www.co.collin.tx.us/elections/election_information/index.jsp.

What does the sheriff do?

The sheriff is the chief law enforcement officer in unincorporated Collin County and has a range of duties that include criminal investigations, traffic enforcement and operating the jail, which involves the safekeeping of inmates and the operation of the jail commissary.

The sheriff also provides security for the courthouse, which includes securing the county and district courts. The sheriff assists with process serving, including subpoenas, and accepts bail for prisoners in jail. Finally, the sheriff may conduct sales of forfeited property, property auctioned for failure to pay property taxes and property sold to satisfy civil case judgments.

As with all elected county officials, the sheriff has ultimate authority over the operations of the office, including the authority to hire and fire personnel and direct their daily activities. The sheriff also has authority to determine how to use all other resources allocated to the office during the budget process.

What is the budget and jurisdiction of the sheriff?

Fiscal Year 2012 budget: $36.7 million; includes salaries and benefits for about 490 employees under the sheriff’s supervision (sheriff’s office, jail operations, minimum security and inmate holding/transfer positions). The sheriff’s jurisdiction includes unincorporated areas of Collin County.

Why is the sheriff an elected position?

The Texas Constitution (Article 5, Section 23) provides for the election of a sheriff in each of the 254 counties. Currently, the term of office for Texas sheriffs is four years.