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This article is about the current version of DF.
Room requirements  
Office Modest Office
Quarters Modest Quarters
Dining room Modest Dining Room
Tomb None
Furniture requirements
Chests 1
Cabinets 1
Weapon racks 1
Armor stands 1
Mandates None
Demands None
Arrival conditions
  • Law enforcement

The sheriff is the noble responsible for crude law enforcement until your fortress grows large enough to require a captain of the guard, designated through the nobles screen. They will punish lawbreaking dwarves through beatings or imprisonment. Without a jail, jail sentences will be "commuted" to beatings as well.

(When appointing a sheriff, note that having a weak dwarf take the position is sometimes a good thing. A sheriff with good strength or training could heavily injure or kill a criminal who might have done nothing worse than push over a handmill in anger.)

When your fortress first elects a mayor (after reaching 50 dwarves), the sheriff's position will disappear and the sheriff will revert to their normal profession title. A captain of the guard must be nominated to enforce the law in larger settlements.