PhILS banner
Agency level banner

Sheriff, Office of the

[Record group 7]
Agency home page.
Agency Function
The Sheriff is elected every four years by the citizens of the city and county of Philadelphia and is the highest elected law enforcement official of the city and county. The Sheriff is also a member of the Jury Selection Board. Powers and duties of the office include:
  • Transporting and escorting prisoners to and from Philadelphia courtrooms;
  • Providing courtroom security for Municipal and Common Pleas Court;
  • Conducting real and personal property sales; collecting and disbursing both fees and funds relating to such activities;
  • Serving and executing writs and warrants, and enforcing injunctions.

Agency History
This office was established under the Duke of York's Laws and William Penn's Frame of Government of 1682. Until 1717 it was filled by the Governor's appointment of one of two candidates chosen annually by the electors of each county. In that year it was made fully elective and in 1730 its term was extended to three years (and to four in 1909). The Sheriff's duties have always chiefly included attendance upon the county courts and the execution of their orders, which matters range through serving writs, executing liens upon real estate and selling such properties to satisfy judgments upon it, and selecting jurors which is at present done by the Jury Selection Board. The Sheriff also continues to receive prisoners and to produce them for trial. His varied functions regarding the administration of elections have over the years been distributed to other offices, and with the establishment in 1937 of the County Board of Elections, the City Commissioners were all centered in that office. In 1953, under an ordinance approved on 16 October of that year, the Sheriff became a city, rather than a county, office.

Archival Records
7.1 Annual Reports (1922, 1967, 1989)

7.2 Civil Docket, 2nd & 3rd Districts (1877-1879)

7.3 Prisoners' Docket, Cell Room (1952-1953, 1956-1959, 1962-1967)

7.4 Expenses Book, Transferring Prisoners to Institutions (1952-1954, 1959)

7.5 Daily Account Book (November - December 1954, December 1962 - December 1964)

7.6 Execution Fee Docket, Common Pleas Court (March & September 1930)

7.7 Record of Prisoners to Institutions (January -October 1952)

7.8 Record of Transfers of Prisoners (January 20, 1959 - November 26, 1963)

7.9 Time Book, Cell Room (January 1956 - September 1958)

Current Records

Click on a folder or file to return to that level...
PhILS Home
City Agencies
Current Agency Information Sheet. (Text-only version of this page)

Send your comments to
Last updated on November 8, 2000