Each of Louisiana’s 64 parishes has an elected sheriff. Sheriffs are considered to be local auditees, and provide annual financial reports to the Louisiana Legislative Auditor.

The legal authority for the operations of a sheriff’s office may be found in Article 5 Section 27 of the Louisiana Constitution of 1974, and Title 13 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes. Sheriffs are the chief law enforcement officer of the parish in which they serve; the ex-officio collector of ad valorem (property) taxes for the parish, and the chief executive officer of the related law enforcement district.

The parish sheriff collects ad valorem taxes on behalf of the taxing authorities in the parish, and remits the taxes to these authorities. The sheriff is authorized by law to collect a commission for the collection of ad valorem taxes. The collection and distribution of ad valorem taxes is reported in a custodial (fiduciary) fund in the sheriff’s audit report, as required by generally accepted accounting principles. There are also special reporting requirements in the state of Louisiana for those agencies that collect ad valorem taxes on behalf of other taxing bodies (see Special Reporting – Agencies that Collect Ad Valorem Taxes). In addition, the sheriff also collects and remits fees and other monies on behalf of other local government agencies.

Law enforcement districts were created by Revised Statute (R.S.) 13:5901 as a mechanism for providing financing for each parish sheriff. A sheriff’s bonded or other long-term debt is issued through the related law enforcement district. The activity of the law enforcement district is reported in the sheriff’s audit report.

The sheriff operates the parish prison; and the cost of feeding and housing prisoners is borne by the parish governing authority. Parish governing authorities are also required by R.S. 33:4713 to provide suitable office space, furniture and equipment for the parish sheriff.

The Louisiana Compliance Questionnaire requires sheriffs to provide a statement or representation to their auditor that they have complied with laws and regulations that are important for the sheriff to follow. The sheriff’s auditor is required to test the sheriff’s compliance with these laws and regulations.

R.S. 24:513 gives sheriffs the discretion of being audited by LLA or an approved CPA firm; however, sheriffs are generally audited by approved CPA firms.

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