Sheriff's Offices are small buildings that can be found throughout communities in the American West at the time of the Red Dead series.
Sheriffs, Marshals, and Deputies would organize and conduct their business out of these modest buildings. Common amenities included an office, holding cells and a small weapons armory. Most lawmen that would work there were either federally appointed officers or locally elected municipal officers, varying from one community to the next. Sheriffs would often deputize civilian community members to operate on behalf of the sheriff to assist in enforcing the law.
In-game, the Sheriff's Office can be found in most settlements and offer players bounties. Alternatively, the player may also find themselves occupying a cell if they break the law and are apprehended.
In Red Dead Redemption, When the player is seen committing a crime, local law enforcement will attempt to apprehend the player. If captured alive, Marston will wake up in a holding cell at the nearest Sheriff's Office. However, the time spent there is unknown. When you are caught you are put in the sheriff's office for the crime(s) you committed. A cutscene will play of Marston sitting in a jail cell, with the crime(s) you committed showing up on the screen while day and night go by.
During Red Dead Redemption 2, this continues whenever playing as Arthur and if captured alive, Arthur will be in a cell for the full day or night. A cutscene will play, with members of the gang coming to bust or bail Arthur out of jail, sometimes the player will have to evade law enforcement if a bust out is caused. When playing as John, the same occurrence takes place but Abigail comes to retrieve him by knocking out the guard and releasing John, or if the main storyline has been completed, John may bribe the guard to let him leave. John might steal the jail cell keys from a sleeping guard.
In Red Dead Redemption, If Marston commits a crime and manages to evade the initial manhunt, the player can opt to approach the Sheriff's Office and resolve their bounty. If the player does not have enough money to pay the bounty, he must assist the lawmen with other criminals. The player can pay the bounty amount or can acquire a letter of pardon by various means throughout the game, but they cannot be purchased in stores.
In Red Dead Redemption local lawmen will post wanted posters outside of the sheriff's office. Marston can choose to collect a wanted poster and players can start the bounty hunting activity. If the fugitive is captured alive, Marston must drop off the criminal at the sheriff's office to obtain the reward. If the fugitive is killed, you must loot the body and bring back proof that you killed him.
Occasionally, sheriffs or their deputies may approach Marston as he is going about business in town, and ask for assistance retrieving stolen goods or getting rid of a local gang threat. This is more likely to occur as the player's fame increases. Often rewards for completing these activities will be cash.
Sheriff's offices are located in most major settlements in the game, including the town of Armadillo, MacFarlane's Ranch and Chuparosa. Some towns have other forms of law enforcement, for example Escalera has a military barracks and Blackwater has two police stations.