About Us

The first Sheriff of San Mateo County took office in 1856 when the County was incorporated from parts of San Francisco and Santa Cruz Counties. As the chief law enforcement officer, the Sheriff is responsible for planning, organizing, directing, and reviewing the activities and operations of the Sheriff's Office, including adult correctional facilities, rehabilitation, and re-entry services for offenders; public safety and emergency services; forensic laboratory services and specialized programs, such as narcotics, search and rescue, and bomb detection and disposal. The Sheriff and his Office coordinate assigned activities with other County departments and outside agencies, as well, and provide highly responsible and complex administrative support to the County Manager and Board of Supervisors.


  • Protect life and property and preserve the public peace.
  • Enforce state laws and County ordinances.
  • Prevent crime.
  • Support positive youth development.
  • Apprehend criminals and supervise and care for incarcerated prisoners.
  • Coordinate emergency services.
  • Process civil actions.
  • Provide security for the Courts, Health Services, County employees, SamTrans/Caltrain, and the public visiting the County facilities.

Office History

Founded in 1856, the County of San Mateo, with the San Francisco Bay and Pacific Ocean making up the eastern and western most boundaries, covers over 500 square miles consisting of densely populated cities and rural farmland. Over 90% of the county's 720,000 citizens reside in 20 incorporated cities. Read more ».

In Memoriam

Fortunately, there have been very few line-of-duty deaths in the Sheriff's Office. The first was Deputy Sheriff George Tallman, in 1888, who was a jailer at the Spring Street Jail. During an escape, four inmates slammed a cell door on Tallman's arm, breaking it in several places. He died two days later from his injuries. Read more »

Organizational Chart (PDF)

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Organizational Chart