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, smaller cities, McFarland and Wasco, contract with the Sheriff's Office to provide police protection within their community.
The Sheriff's Office has 1,239 sworn and civilian employees. There are 572 authorized deputy sheriff positions deployed in patrol, substations, detectives, courts services, and special investigations units. There are 336 detention deputy positions deployed in the detention facilities, and 331 Sheriff's professional support staff assigned throughout Kern County.
The Sheriff, who also serves as the Coroner, is an elected official. All other ranks are county employees and fall under civil service regulations.