The Kentucky Sheriff


In the South, where the county system was strong, the office of Sheriff was more important than in those areas where local government centered in towns or townships.

First Constitution

Under the first Kentucky Constitution, the office of the Sheriff was elective and the term of office was three years.

Second Constitution

Under the second Constitution the Sheriff was nominated by the county court and appointed by the governor from the courts list of nominees. The term of office was two years (Kentucky Constitution (1799), Article III, section 31).

Third Constitution

In 1850, under the third Constitution, the Sheriff’s office was again made elective. The term of Office was two years (Article VI, section 4).

Present-Day Constitution

The present Constitution requires the election of a Sheriff in each county. His term is for four years (section 99). Before taking office he must execute bond as provided in the Kentucky Revised Statutes (KRS) 70.020, 134.230, and 134.250. The bond required by KRS 70.020 relates to the performance of his tax collection duties. He must also take the constitutional oath of office (Kentucky Constitution, section 228) and statutory oath of office.


Kentucky Sheriffs must meet the following qualifications:

  • Citizen of Kentucky
  • Resident of the Commonwealth for two years
  • Resident of the county in which he is elected one year prior of election.
  • Twenty-four years of age

Before Taking Office

Before taking office sheriffs must execute a bond and take constitutional oath of office.

Term of Office

The term of sheriff is four years, with the possibility of re-election.