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Although the sheriff has jurisdiction over the entire county, most sheriff’s departments tend to operate largely in the rural areas of a county, leaving law enforcement within city limits in the hands of the local police. Some cities contract with the sheriff’s department for services. In Orange County, for example, the sheriff’s department serves thirteen contract cities, in addition to unincorporated portions of the county. In Los Angeles County, 42 of the 88 municipalities contract with the sheriff’s department for services.
The sheriff’s department often has divisions for providing services to meet specific needs in a county. In Orange County, there are divisions for the Orange County Transportation Authority, John Wayne Airport, and Harbor Patrol. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the largest in the United States, provides law enforcement services for local parks and marinas, nine community college campuses, and the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Metrolink. While some counties have a separate Marshal’s Department to provide bailiffs and other court services, in many counties these services are under the jurisdiction of the sheriff’s department. Some departments, such as San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, which serves the largest county in the nation, provide aviation services for general law enforcement and emergencies. The Aviation Force in San Bernardino County is the third largest non-military air force in the world. It helps with fire suppression, medical transport, and search and rescue efforts. The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department provides law enforcement for the twelve federally recognized Indian reservations within the county.