SHERIFF. The office of sheriff has been provided for under every Texas constitution and supersedes the alguacil of Spanish and Mexican rule. The Constitution of 1876 provided that a sheriff be elected biennially in each county; the term of office was lengthened to four years by a constitutional amendment in 1954. The main duties of the sheriff are to act as a conservator of the peace and the executive officer of the county and district courts, serve writs and processes of the courts, seize property after judgment, enforce traffic laws on county roads, and supervise the county jail and prisoners. In counties of fewer than 10,000 residents he may also serve as ex officio tax assessor and collector.
Guide to Texas Laws for County Officials (Austin: Texas Department of Community Affairs, 1988). Dick Smith, The Development of Local Government in Texas (Ph.D. dissertation, Harvard University, 1938).