Washington County Sheriff - Office Articles


There is a lot that goes on in the Sheriff's Office. Learn what responsibilities the Sheriff, Jail and Juvenile Detention Facility hold in Washington County.

For a list of all archived articles visit our Archived Articles List.

Information About Services by the Sheriff's Office



The Washington County Sheriff’s Civil Process office is benefiting citizens, the legal community and police departments across the county.
The Sheriff's Civil Process office serves more than 25,000 legal documents annually, mostly to parties in civil lawsuits. The legal community can rely on the qualified and experienced staff at the division. A variety of services are available including attachment, execution and seizure of vehicles.
The legal community and citizens can utilize the Civil Process Division to serve summons, warrants and a variety of legal documents. Among these are...

  • Landlord – tenant disputes
  • Divorce proceedings and child support warrants
  • Real estate attachments and seizures
  • Sheriff sales of personal property
  • Subpoena of witnesses

The primary function of the Civil Process Unit is the "service of process", which is defined as "the writ or mandate that serves as the means used for bringing a defendant to court to answer in an action or proceeding, civil or criminal."  It is the responsibility of the sheriff's office to serve or execute according to law, all processes, writs, precepts, and orders issued or make by lawful authority according to Wisconsin State Statute 59.27.

Papers for service will be accepted at the Sheriff's Office main lobby window:  Weekdays from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm.

The Sheriff can only serve papers on individuals or entities located within Washington County.

Time Requirements

  • Eviction:  The paper must be served not less than five (5) days prior to the court date.
  • Execution:  On a notice of mortgage foreclosure - Sale shall be advertised posting at least three (3) weeks prior to the date of sale.  On a notice of sale of property - Notice of sale shall be posted at least twenty (20) days before the date of sale.
  • Garnishment:  Notice of such service or a copy of the garnishee summons and complaint, together with the complaint in the principle action, shall be served on the principal defendant, no later than ten (10) business days after service on the garnishee defendant.
  • Large Claims Action:  The paper must be served within ninety (90) days of filing and must be over $5000.00.
  • Replevin:  As a small claims action the paper must be served eight (8) business days before the court date.  The return date for the summons served must be no less than eight (8) business days from the issue date and no more than thirty (30) days from the issue date.  As a large claims action the paper must be served within ninety (90) days of filing.
  • Restraining Orders:  Unless otherwise specified, they can be served right up to the time of hearing.  Usually served asap.
  • Small Claims Action:  A small claims action must be served at least eight (8) business days before the date the party must appear.  The date of appearance shall be no less than eight (8) business days from the issue date and no more than thirty (30) days from the issue date.
  • Writ of Restitution:  No writ shall be executed if received by the Sheriff more than thirty (30) days after it is issued by the court.



Nearly every city now has a 9-1-1 emergency phone system.  This means you can dial 9-1-1 for any fire, police or medical emergency.

Here are some tips to remember when calling 9-1-1

  • Remain calm
  • You must tell the 9-1-1 operator the following:
  • Your name
  • Location
  • Phone number
  • Nature of the emergency
  • Listen to the 9-1-1 operator:
  • Answer questions and follow instructions you are given
  • Hang up only when you’re told to do so, unless staying on the phone puts you in danger


If you do not have an emergency, dial the regular phone number for the police, sheriff or fire department.  Keep these numbers posted by your phone.  You can find your Washington County local non-emergency number on our website at:  

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What Does A County Sheriff Do?

The office of Sheriff is created by the Wisconsin Constitution (Art. 6, Sec. 4). The specific duties of the Sheriff are also set forth by statute (Sec. 59.26 - 59.33, Wis. Stats.). The Sheriff is an elected office in each county and beginning in November 2002, the Sheriffs term of office changed to a four (4) year term.

There are over 3,000 counties in the United States, and almost every one of them has a sheriff, except for Alaska. The office of sheriff is established either by the state constitution or by an act of state legislature. There are only two states in which the sheriff is not elected by the voters. In Rhode Island, sheriffs are appointed by the governor; in Hawaii, deputy sheriffs serve in the Department of Public Safety's Sheriff's Division.

There is really no such thing as a "typical" sheriff. Some sheriffs still have time to drop by the town coffee shop to chat with the citizens each day, while others report to an office in a skyscraper and manage a department whose budget exceeds that of many corporations. However, most sheriffs have certain roles and responsibilities in common.

Law Enforcement -  A sheriff always has the power to make arrests within his or her own county. Some states extend this authority to adjacent counties or to the entire state. Many sheriffs' offices also perform routine patrol functions such as traffic control, accident investigations, and transportation of prisoners. Larger departments may perform criminal investigations, and some unusually large sheriffs' offices command an air patrol, a mounted patrol, or a marine patrol.
Sheriffs still enlist the aid of the citizens. The National Neighborhood Watch Program, sponsored by the National Sheriffs' Association, allows citizens and law enforcement officials to cooperate in keeping communities safe.

As the sheriff's law enforcement duties become more extensive and complex, new career opportunities exist for people with specialized skills: underwater diving, piloting, boating, skiing, radar technology, communications, computer technology, accounting, emergency medicine, and foreign languages.

Court Duties -  Sheriffs are responsible for maintaining the safety and security of the court. A sheriff or deputy may be required to attend all court sessions; to act as bailiff; to take charge of juries whenever they are outside the courtroom; to serve court papers; to extradite prisoners; to collect taxes, or to perform other court-related functions.

Jail Administration -  Most sheriffs' offices maintain and operate county jails or other detention centers and community corrections facilities such as work-release and halfway houses. Sheriffs are responsible for supervising inmates, protecting their rights and providing food, clothing, exercise, recreation and medical services. As jail conditions continue to improve, sheriffs and their departments are earning increased respect and recognition as professionals.

Law enforcement is becoming increasingly complex. For the progressive, forward-looking sheriffs' offices of today, education and training are the keys to effective job performance. Today's sheriff is likely to have a college degree, a graduate degree in criminal justice, law or public administration, and several years' experience in the criminal justice system.

President Ronald Reagan stressed the importance of the modern sheriff in his address to the National Sheriffs' Association on June 21, 1984. He said, "Thank you for standing up for this nation's dream of personal freedom under the rule of law. Thank you for standing against those who would transform that dream into a nightmare of wrongdoing and lawlessness. And thank you for your service to your communities, to your country, and to the cause of law and justice."

Article from: http://www.Wisconsinsheriffs.org/ns/whatis.php

Information and recommendations are compiled from sources believed to be reliable. The Sheriff’s Office  makes no guarantee as to and assumes no responsibility for the correctness, sufficiency or completeness of such information or recommendations. Other or additional safety measures may be required under particular circumstances.

Last Revised: 06/15

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