Origin of posse comitatusMedieval Latin posse comitātūs : Medieval Latin posse, power, body of men (from Latin, to be able; see potent) + comitātūs, genitive of comitātus, county, territory of a count; see county.
posse comitatus - Legal Definition
- Power of the county.
- A sheriff may summon citizens to assist him in making an arrest; hence posse in the traditional Old West sense.
- A federal statute prohibiting the Army and Air Force from direct participation in civilian law-enforcement activities.
Variant of posse
- Historicalin full posse comitatus
- the body of men required, upon being summoned, to assist the sheriff in keeping the peace, pursuing felons, etc.
- a band of men, usually armed, so summoned
- any body of persons armed with legal authority
- in the Old West, a group assembled to hunt for criminal fugitives
- a search party
- a gang, esp. one engaged in selling drugs
- any group of people, as of a person's friends and associates
Origin of posseMedieval Latin short for posse comitatus, power of the county ; from Classical Latin posse, to be able (see potent) + comitatus, county ; from comes, a count