The Office of Sheriff has been in existence since 1066. Originally appointed by the English King, the “Reeve of the Shire” or "SHIRE REEVE" executed royal court orders and writs and was generally responsible for the capture of wrong-doers in their respective Shires. The office evolved and eventually the title was shortened to "Sheriff.” 

The office was soon adopted by colonial governments. As the colonies broke from English rule, Sheriffs became elected officials chosen by the people. Although the Sheriff served as the chief law enforcement officer in the county, the sheriff's primary responsibility was to keep the peace and serve as an officer of the court.

Each Missouri Sheriff provides countywide law enforcement and serves as officers of the court and keepers of the jail. The Sheriff is charged with the responsibility of maintaining the public peace and protecting the lives and property of all citizens in St. Clair County, Missouri. His obligations and responsibilities have continuously grown throughout the years.

The duties of the Sheriff have increased as administrative procedures, court decisions and requirements of the laws have brought about sophisticated and technical advancements to law enforcement. The St. Clair County Sheriff's Office is comprised of five basic divisions which perform the varied duties required by Missouri law and the criminal justice system. These divisions are patrol, investigations, court services, jail operations, and communications.

The Sheriff’s main objectives when he took office was to take a more aggressive stance on fighting the drug problem in St. Clair County, create a more open and interactive relationship with all other law enforcement agencies, and have an “open door” policy when it comes to the public. The Sheriff was eager to work with area schools in order to better secure the children and staff. He was also eager to provide a more effective agency for the county.

Sheriff Hilty takes the responsibility of his office very serious. He is committed to providing the citizens of St. Clair County with a safe place to live and raise their families by implementing various programs including the following: