About Us

In honor of all of the men and women who have dedicated their lives to law enforcement.

First Sheriff

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office is Minnesota’s Pioneering agency with the first Sheriff appointed to the territory in 1840. Phineas Lawrence served from 1840-1845. The Washington County Sheriff’s Office has a significant history of service to the citizens of Washington County. All past and present members of the office are proud to serve or have served.

Service Area

Washington County is 423 square miles and has a population of over 252,000 people. The Washington County Sheriff's Office is a “full-service” law enforcement agency providing services to all of the cities and townships in the county. We also contract with the cities of Mahtomedi, Dellwood, Willernie, Hugo, Grant, Lake Elmo, Scandia, Afton, St Mary's Point, Lakeland Shores, St Croix Beach, Lakeland, Birchwood, and Newport for law enforcement services.


The Washington County Sheriff’s Office has  260 full-time employees, 30 temporary part-time staff, and more than 100 volunteers to serve the citizens of Washington County. The Sheriff’s Office has an annual budget of $36 million and can offer a variety of police and public safety services to the citizens of Washington County.

The more than 260 dedicated individuals that provide services the citizens of Washington County do so with a high degree of professionalism and integrity.


Our Patrol Division is the most visible part of the organization. Most citizens in the county see and recognize the patrol vehicles and the deputies. The deputies are licensed peace officers in the State of Minnesota. They are dedicated to public service and are often called upon to be problem solvers. The patrol division is responsible for general patrol functions (i.e. traffic education and enforcement, emergency and service call response) within the county and contract cities. The Patrol Division is a very active, community-oriented division of the Sheriff’s Office.

Washington County Jail

The Washington County Jail has an inmate capacity of 228. We house individuals ranging from habitual or serious traffic offenders to serious criminal offenders ranging from property crimes to homicide. It is a very complex operation; the folks that work in the jail do an outstanding job keeping those in and out of the jail safe. In addition to the adult detention area, we have a temporary holding area for juveniles waiting court appearances.

Communication Center

Our newly built Communication Center (9-1-1 Dispatch) and Public Safety Radio System fall under the purview of the Special Services Division. Many citizens first contact with law enforcement will be a phone call to the Communication Center. The dispatchers do an outstanding job helping folks in their time of need. It maybe a simple call or one of crisis; regardless, each call is important. The Records Division and Fleet Management are also the responsibility of Special Services. Court security, civil process, and specialized training area part of Special Services. The court security staff is well-trained with the safety of the judges, employees, and visitors to the new five-story court building foremost in their mind. The Sheriff’s Office has the statutory responsibility of civil process. Civil process can include subpoenas, eviction notices, foreclosure notices, or a variety of other legal notices required by statute.

Emergency Management

Washington County Emergency Management plays a crucial role in the county and under the responsibility of the Sheriff. County Emergency Management personnel work with individuals from city and township government to assist during and plan for response to natural and man-made disasters.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office also has responsibility to patrol the waterways, parks, and trails within the county. This is completed by full-time, temporary, and a large dedicated volunteer staff. It is their mission to assure that folks using the county parks and trails are safe in their experience.


The Investigation Division deals with a wide-range of cases, from property to very complex narcotic cases. Typically, investigators are referred cases from the Patrol Division after a patrol deputy has initiated a case and either needs assistance because of the type of case or the case brings the deputy outside of the county. The Washington County Sheriff’s Office is fortunate to have very talented folks in the Investigation Division.