Formed in 1866, the Kern County Sheriff's Department is the oldest law enforcement agency in the county. The Sheriff is the chief law enforcement officer in the county.
In addition to providing police services to the unincorporated portions of the county, the Sheriff has the responsibility for the jail system, providing bailiff and prisoner transportation service to the courts, search and rescue, coroner services, and civil process (serving lawsuit papers).
Usually a city has its own police department, however, several smaller cities, Tehachapi, Maricopa, McFarland and Wasco, contract with the department to provide police protection within their community.
The Sheriff's Department has roughly 1,050 sworn, non-sworn, and civilian employees. The 452 authorized sworn (peace officer) positions are deployed as deputies in the Bakersfield metropolitan patrol, 14 substations, detentions, detectives and other support positions.