Things of Middle-earth
Type: Offices & Ranks
The branch of the Hobbit police force that guards the borders of the Shire.
The Shirriffs was the name that the Hobbits gave to their police, or the nearest equivalent that they possessed.... There were in all the Shire only twelve of them..., for Inside Work. A rather larger body, varying at need, was employed to 'beat the bounds', and to see that Outsiders of any kind, great or small, did not make themselves a nuisance.
At the time when [The Lord of the Rings] begins the Bounders, as they were called, had been greatly increased. There were many reports and complaints of strange persons and creatures prowling about the borders, or over them: the first sign that all was not quite as it should be.... Few heeded the sign, and not even Bilbo yet had any notion of what it portended.
The Lord of the Rings, Prologue, Of the Ordering of the Shire
'All the same,' said Sam, 'you can't deny that others besides our Halfast have seen queer folk crossing the Shire — crossing it, mind you: there are more that are turned back at the borders. The Bounders have never been so busy before.'
The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 1, Ch 2, The Shadow of the Past
The only thing that [Frodo] did as Deputy Mayor was to reduce the Shirriffs to their proper functions and numbers.
The Return of the King, LoTR Book 6, Ch 9, The Grey Havens
Elena Tiriel 20Jul07, 14Mar10