The Office of Sheriff and the law enforcement, judicial and correctional functions he performs are more than 1000 years old - read about it here.  You'll also find a listing of previous Clay County Sheriffs dating from 1859 to present.

Clay County Sheriff's Office Staff 2017
Join us on Facebook

  Clay County Sheriff's Office - History Page

The Office of Sheriff is one of antiquity. It is the oldest law enforcement office known within the common-law system and it has always been accorded great dignity and high trust. For the most part, the Office of Sheriff evolved of necessity for the Sheriff. There would have been no need for the development of police administration, criminology, criminalists, etc. This is not the case, however. Man learned quite early that all is not orderly in the universe. All times and all places have generated those who covet the property of their neighbors and who are willing to expropriate this property by any means. As such, man's quest for equity and order gave birth to the Office of Sheriff, the history of which begins in the Old Testament and continues through the annals of Judeo-Christian tradition. Indeed, there is no honorable law enforcement authority in Anglo-American law so ancient as that of the County Sheriff. And today, as in the past, the County Sheriff is a peace officer entrusted with the maintenance of law and order and the preservation of domestic tranquility.

Sheriff's have served and protected the English-speaking peoples for a thousand years. The Office of Sheriff and the law enforcement, judicial and correctional functions he performs are more than 1000 years old. The Office of Sheriff dates back at least to the reign of Alfred the Great of England, and some scholars even argue that the Office of Sheriff was first created during the Roman occupation of England.

Around 500 AD, Germanic tribes from Europe (called the Anglo-Saxons) began an invasion of Celtic England which eventually led over the centuries to the consolidation of Anglo-Saxon England as a unified kingdom under Alfred the Great late in the 9th Century. Alfred divided England into geographic units called "shires", or counties.

In 1066, William the Conqueror defeated the Anglo-Saxons and under the Normans, the King of England appointed a representative called a "reeve" to act on behalf of the King in each shire or county. The "shire reeve" or Kings representative in each county became the "Sheriff" as the English language changed over the years. The shire reeve or Sheriff was the chief law enforcement officer of each county in the year 1000 AD. He still will have the same function in North Carolina as we reach the year 2000 AD.

The concepts of "county" and "Sheriff" were essentially the same as they had been during the previous 900 years of English legal history. Because of the English law and legal institutions as its owner.

Clearly, the Sheriff is the only viable officer remaining of the ancient offices, and his contemporary responsibility as conservator of the peace has been influenced greatly by modern society. As the crossbow gave way to the primitive flintlock, the Sheriff is not unaccustomed to change. But now, perhaps more than ever before in history, law enforcement is faced with complex, moving, rapid changes in methodology, technology, and social attitudes. As Thomas Jefferson wrote in his "The Value of Constitutions", "the Office of Sheriff is the most important of all the executive offices of the county."

The County Sheriff is the principal Peace Office of the County and:

  • Summons grand jurors and trial jurors

  • May call any person to his aid, and when necessary summons the power of the county

  • Serves subpoenas and other notices and levies on property when a judgment has been secured

  • Executes and returns all writs and other legal processes issued by lawful authority

  • Custodian of the county jail, and responsible for all prisoners committed to him until discharged by law

  • On commitment from Clerk of District Court convey convicts to the penitentiary and patient to mental health facilities

  • Required to make special investigations into alleged law violations when directed by the County Attorney

  • In Unincorporated areas of the County the Sheriff is responsible for law enforcement and provides for law enforcement services for towns that contract with the office

  • Issues all gun permits and is in charge of the County drug task force

  • Patrol: The Sheriff & Deputies are the police force for residents of the unincorporated areas of the county, and provide contracted law enforcement for the cities of Dickens, Everly, Fostoria, Gillett Grove, Greenville, Peterson, Rossie, Royal and Webb. The Sheriff's Office handles all routine and emergency calls for these areas, and regularly patrols all areas of the county. They also provide security at special events in the county

  • Jail: The Sheriff oversees a Jail that has the capacity to handle 28 maximum and 20 temporary holding/work release inmates

  • Records: Maintains all the records for individuals that are booked into the jail, officer’s investigative reports, and issues permits to acquire and carry handguns

  • Civil: The Sheriff is responsible to execute and serve writs and other legal process documents including Sheriff’s Sales, subpoenas, and garnishments.
    Investigate: Deputies are responsible for handling more in depth investigations that may require additional specialized training such as burglary, robbery, sexual assault, fraud, murder, and arson

Clay County, Iowa Sheriff's Office 

Previous Clay County Sheriffs - 1859 to present (if a photo or more information is available you may click on the past Sheriffs name to see it):

1859 Henry Brockschink
1860-1861 W.R. Blain
1864-1865 R.C. Crego
1866-1867 George C. Kindelsperyer
1868-1869 David Watts
1870 Thomas C. Dodd
1871 John Copper
1872-1875 Albert Wheeler
1876-1879 John E. Francis
1880-1881 J.R. Patterson
1882-1892 P.W. Madden
1892 F.W. Mack (vacancy fill)
1893-1901 J.B. Lewis
1902-1906 J.H. Prince
1907-1908 C.M. Pinnio
1909-1912 W.R. Price
1913-1927 John M. Lidman
1928-1945 Fred Erickson
1946-1949 Elmer F. Zinn
1950-1962 Thoral All
1962-1963 Joseph Goodno
1963-1975 Boyd Bushey
1976-1988 Philip W. Nelson
1989-2000 Larry J. Stanislav
2001-2016 Randy Krukow
2016-Current Chris Raveling

Clay County Sheriff Staff 2017

Clay County Jail

Clay County Jail Seal