Washington Association of
Coroners and Medical Examiners
"In Forensics We Trust"


Is the Coroner the Only Official Who Can Arrest the Sheriff?

We often hear people refer to a law that says the coroner is the only government official who can arrest the sheriff. There is no such law.

ANY law enforcement officer with probable cause and jurisdiction may arrest anyone, including another law enforcement officer, for any crime.

There is a law that allows the coroner to act as the sheriff under certain conditions: 

However, a coroner would rarely be appointed sheriff since the law also states that a court may appoint any suitable person to fill the position (examples: the undersheriff, the prosecutor). 

This information is valid for Washington State only. Other states' laws may differ.