The Office of the Sheriff in Ohio was created in 1792 by the then Northwest Territorial Governor St. Clair.  In 1802, under the Ohio Constitution, the Office of Sheriff became an elected position with two-year terms.  The Sheriff’s elected position remained a two-year term until 1936 when it was changed to a four-year term.  The Office of Sheriff in Richland County was established in 1813, the same year Richland County was organized into a separate political entity.  The first Sheriff in Richland County, Ohio to be elected was JOHN WALLACE, who was elected to the position on April 1st 1813.  History reveals him to have been a man habitually observant of truth in speech and statement, but who remained in the area but a short time.  Prior to 1886, the Sheriff served as executioner until the State Legislature abolished this duty.  History reveals that only one man was executed in Richland County in May 1878.  A man convicted of murder was put to death in the courtyard of the County Jail on N. Franklin St. and East Third St.

 The first Jail was situated in the lower part of the “blockhouse” which then was located on the square and used until 1827.  The second jail was built at the corner of East Third St. and Sugar St. (presently Franklin St.) which was utilized until 1928 at which time it was replaced by the jail built on S. Diamond Street, just south of the old courthouse.  This jail also served as the personal residence of the Sheriff and jail matron who was usually the Sheriff’s wife.  This third jail served the County until 1968 when the present County Administration building was built that included the Sheriff’s Office and Jail.  In 2008 the Sheriff’s Office opened a new jail built at East 2nd St and Franklin Street with that portion of Franklin Street vacated as a city street.  A walkway connects the new jail to the County Administration Building housing the Courts.  The Sheriff’s Office Administration and Patrol section were moved to the old People’s Hospital on Park Avenue East.

 The Richland County Sheriff’s Office Law Enforcement Division was awarded the distinction of being CALEA certified in 2016. CALEA stands for Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. This means that the office has demonstrated compliance with the Standards established by the commission, who systematically conduct an internal review and assessment of the agencies’ policies and procedures. Richland County is one of three Sheriff’s Offices among the 88 in Ohio that has this distinction. 


The Sheriff’s Office has a Corrections, Operations and Support Division. The Office also has a partnership with the US Marshal’s Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force in which the Sheriff’s Office provides a full time task force member along with part time task force members.  In 2011, the Sheriff’s Office was awarded the Law Enforcement Partner of the year by the Marshal Service.

 The Sheriff’s Office also have two detectives assigned the METRICH enforcement unit and one detective assigned to the SWAT/ASORT team. In 2013, the Sheriff’s Office was awarded the Narcotic Officer/Unit of the year for the state of Ohio by the Ohio Narcotics Association Regional Coordinating Officers.

 Deputies, 911 Operators and Corrections Officers have Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) certification through NAMI.

 Other programs that the Sheriff’s Office supports and are actively involved in are the Starfish Project, (Drug addiction resource) and Project Lifesaver, (Provides monitors to those who have a cognitive disability who may wander away). The monitor is used to locate them.     

 The Sheriff’s Office has an outstanding working relationship with law enforcement entities in the area as well as its community that it serves.