I need to pick your brains on sheriff departments. The story is set in upstate New York and the departments there handle more than just the courts and jails. They have CIDs, but I can't get a straight answer about whether they handle homicide investigations.
My guess is it depends on the county, which I'm making up btw-- I just want it to have some resemblance to the real thing-- and that the investigators aren't homicide inspectors, they just handle all investigations of a criminal nature which would include homicides.
I know that many small communities have deals/contracts with larger cities, and that the cities 'lease" their homicide detectives to these towns to solve murders. I fear though that the sheriff's department would have a limited role and that some other agency would be called in to handle the murder instead of them, which wouldn't work for the story at all.
Also while I thinking about it, the role of Sheriff, even undersheriff, and the various Majors in charge of the sheriff departments (CID, Jail, Patrol, etc) would have limited roles themselves in an investigation, and that for all practical purposes they're mostly administrative posts. If I want my MC to have a hands on role in the investigation, I think, I can only make him a Deputy Sheriff. Definitely not above the rank of Captain-- I'm guessing. Anyway, thoughts on this topic would also be welcomed.