The Plymouth County Sheriff's Department is one of the oldest law enforcement agencies in the nation. It can trace its origin to the arrival of the Mayflower in 1620, when Myles Standish assumed responsibility for maintaining civil order as the Old Colony's military leader. Plymouth's first formal law enforcement agency, the Office of Constable, was created in 1633 with the charge of maintaining peace and holding people charged with crimes. The office of High Sheriff was established in 1692 and became an elective office in 1855.
The primary responsibilities of the sheriff are to operate the Plymouth County Correctional Facility; assist public safety; and oversee delivery of legal documents needed to support the operation of the courts.
The Plymouth County Correctional Facility is designed to hold more than 1,200 inmates, making it the largest correctional facility under one roof in New England. The jail holds a diverse population, including county, state, and federal prisoners. Some inmates have been sentenced; others are awaiting trial. Opened in 1994, the PCCF's design reflects modern corrections management practices, allowing for safe and secure operation. It is accredited by the American Correctional Association.
In addition to providing for the security and safety of inmates, PCCF offers rehabilitative, educational, and vocational programs. Qualified inmates are eligible for work assignments within the facility, on the County farm, or in supervised work crews. Many communities and non-profit civic organizations have benefited from labor done by inmate work crews and by the print shop program.