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Once it gets dark, forget everything you ever knew and be silent. Words belong to our enemies, and our enemies are words, so be as mute and pure as a bone bleached clean by our desert sun. By our desert sun.

The Sheriff's Secret Police are the main local law enforcement agents in Night Vale. They are responsible for enforcing the strange laws and regulations enacted by Night Vale's City Council and the constant surveillance of every citizen in Night Vale. Members of the Sheriff's Secret Police can often be seen patrolling the skies in blue helicopters, and many more agents lurk in the shadows, clad in short capes, blow dart chest-belts, and tight leather balaclavas.[1][2] Their equipment also includes daggers.[3] Night Vale Community Radio host Cecil Palmer seems to believe that the Sheriff's Secret Police act as benevolent protectors of Night Vale, despite their use of gestapo tactics and approval of vigilante justice. The Sheriff's Secret Police were presumably led by the enigmatic Sheriff of Night Vale, although nobody knew for sure who he was or whether or not he truly existed.[4] Sheriff Sam has since replaced the old Sheriff as the leader of the Secret Police.


The Sheriff's Secret Police have no official headquarters, but a local sporting goods store called Play Ball, located adjacent to Night Vale Community Radio, serves as a front for their base of operations.[5] The Sheriff of Night Vale, on the other hand, is rumored to conduct his business from a hover-office in the clouds.[2] The Sheriff's Secret Police have no need for a publicly known headquarters, as Night Vale citizens can contact them at any time simply by speaking into any phone in town.[6] They are all bugged.

Citizen outreach[]

The Sheriff's Secret Police, despite their clandestine nature, frequently interfaces with the residents of Night Vale through public announcements, warnings, and manuals, and encourages citizens to help enforce the law by exercising vigilante justice. For instance, the Secret Police published and distributed the Manual on Interlopers, which is apparently a guide to all possible interlopers to Night Vale and how citizens should react upon encountering them.[7] The Secret Police often contact Cecil Palmer with announcements, warnings and alerts that they would like him to broadcast to the citizens of Night Vale.

The Secret Police encourage citizens to remain alert and to report all suspicious activity. Citizens who successfully report strange activity will receive a stamp on their Alert Citizen Card, and five stamps will grant the bearer with stop sign immunity for a year.[8] Filling up three Alert Citizen Cards will grant the bearer the mandatory right to disappear forever.

The Sheriff's Secret Police have a cartoon mascot, Barks Ennui, who announces public messages such as, "Citizens be alert! But not too alert, there is much that you should not see. Only you can prevent your own house from mysteriously catching fire. Woof, woof!" However, no one knows what Barks Ennui looks like, as that information is classified.


When the Secret Police need to address the public, they usually do so through one of their ubiquitous agents, who can be easily identified by their face-obscuring leather balaclavas, short capes, and traditional armaments, which are blow darts and daggers. However, occasionally, the Secret Police will make announcements through one of their other representatives.

The Sheriff of Night Vale[]

There are two sheriffs of Night Vale that we know of. The first Sheriff of Night Vale existence is unclear, but everyone assumes he is the man who wears the balaclava, mitre, cloak and the giant silver star and speaks through a vocoder.[4]

In episode 80, a new Sheriff arrived on the scene, Sheriff Sam. Sam is a much more public figure that the previous sheriff, and when speaking to reporters, they often perform dances or make sculptures to convey messages. However, this does not mean they are any more sympathetic to journalists, and like the previous sheriff, Sam has an antagonistic relationship with reporters, including Cecil.

The Genderless Spokesbeing[]

The Sheriff's Secret Police also have an official spokesbeing, an apparently genderless entity with smoothly beautiful features and milk-glass eyes who occasionally delivers enigmatic, poetic announcements to the citizens of Night Vale in a cool, soothing voice that calms animals.[3] The genderless spokesbeing has been known to deflect questions by directing further questions to the jade statue of a cat who hums almost inaudibly in the Sheriff's Secret Police's Secret Garden.

Neighborhood Watch Program[]

Night Vale's Neighborhood Watch Program is the program wherein the Sheriff's Secret Police is located in every neighborhood, watching everybody at all times.[4] Civic-minded Night Vale residents can assist the Neighborhood Watch Program in a variety of ways, including:

  • Keeping all windows open whenever weather permits
  • Standing near windows whenever they must be closed, for ease of identification by Secret Police cameras and microphones
  • Turning down the volume on the television and radio when having any private conversation, to cut down on noise pollution
  • Keeping conversations lively, as boring talk about garden plans or where to buy good laser discs can make the Secret Police tired and less effective
  • Not wearing tinfoil hats, which do not actually block helicopter mind-scanners and just make the wearer look pathetic and paranoid
  • Holding all conversations in a loud, declamatory manner, facing outwards, and making dramatic gestures to increase both the ease and excitement of surveillance[9]

As all Night Vale citizens are constantly being watched, the Sheriff's Secret Police advises any citizen who sees something to say, "Something."[4] That is the codeword to call a Secret Police raid on a neighbor or stranger.

Relationship with other organizations[]

City Council[]

The Sheriff's Secret Police are essentially an arm of the City Council. Not only do they enforce the City Council's many byzantine regulations, but every election season they abduct selected family members of Night Vale residents, taking them to the secret detention camp in the Abandoned Mine Shaft outside of town, "so that everyone votes for the correct council seats and there's no confusion."[10] As Cecil Palmer reminds his listeners, "Remember, this is America! Vote correctly, or never see your loved ones again."

In episode 83, Sheriff Sam and the City Council had teamed up to fight against Dana Cardinal's financial reforms to aid Desert Bluffs. They were attempting to chasing away former residents of the town on the day the two cities were merged. Dana, however, put a stop to this.

A Vague, Yet Menacing, Government Agency[]

The Sheriff's Secret Police have occasionally been known to cooperate with a vague, yet menacing, government agency, helpfully informing citizens that those trucks full of mysterious crates out in the desert are nothing and that absolutely no one is practicing consensual cannibalism in Night Vale.[11][12]

Night Vale Public Library[]

The Sheriff's Secret Police, like most citizens in Night Vale, have an antagonistic relationship with the Night Vale Public Library and its fearsome librarians. The Secret Police have advised any Night Vale citizen who encounters "a librarian, an entity suspected of being a librarian, or any excessively organized and helpful individual with a working comprehension of information systems" to shoot on sight.[13]

StrexCorp Synernists Incorporated[]

The Sheriff's Secret Police don't seem to be cooperating with the mysterious forces of StrexCorp Synernists Incorporated. When StrexCorp agents were hunting down the anti-StrexCorp resistance fighter Tamika Flynn, they asked Night Vale citizens to contact StrexCorp, and not the Sheriff's Secret Police, with knowledge of her whereabouts.[14] It was also an agent of the Secret Police who provided Cecil Palmer with the forbidden news of Flynn's incredible destruction of a StrexCorp helicopter using only stones and slingshots. However, Cecil observed agents of the Sheriff's Secret Police mournfully obey directives leveled at them by StrexCorp management on January 1, 2014.[15] It is not known how StrexCorp gained control over the Sheriff's Secret Police, or whether or not the Secret Police are fully cooperating with StrexCorp, or are only outwardly compliant while continuing to provide aid Tamika Flynn's anti-StrexCorp resistance in secret. Cecil also has difficulty in submitting a financial report to them, due to StrexCorp having taken to paying Night Vale Radio employees in scrip, redeemable only at certain, Strexcorp-owned merchants. Fortunately, the Sheriff's Secret Police turned out to be one of those merchants.

During the Strexcorp Revolt, the Secret Police actively participated in the revolt, as the sheriff was found dismantling helicopters with bricks from his hover-office in the clouds.


The Sheriff's Secret Police have a highly antagonistic relationship with journalists, frequently attacking them with pepper spray and arresting them seemingly at random, taking them to wherever journalists go when they disappear forever. Despite this, Cecil Palmer, himself a journalist, seems to largely approve of the Secret Police and their methods.


The Sheriff's Secret Police believe that scientists are comedians, and that they should stick to comedy.[16]

Night Vale Fire Department[]

Every year, the Sheriff's Secret Police faces off against the Night Vale Fire Department in a softball game.[17] There is some animosity between the two organizations after the fire department's entire bullpen was mysteriously assassinated with blow darts in the middle innings of their 2011 softball showdown.

Theft of Buildings from the Underground City[]

The Sheriff's Secret Police, along a vague, yet menacing, government agency, announce that the trucks loaded with crates in the sand wastes are nothing, and that you shouldn't worry about it[11], thus showing its involvement in the conspiracy. The police has also let Them be among the firsts to approach to the submarine arriving from Nulogorsk, and even to take two mysterious items from it[3]. However, it is not clear how deep is the secret police's involvement, and there is no proof of it directly taking a part in stealing or shipping the crates.


  1. Episode 1 "Pilot"
  2. 2.0 2.1 Episode 15 "Street Cleaning Day"
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Episode 40 "The Deft Bowman"
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Episode 16 "The Phone Call"
  5. Episode 3 "Station Management"
  6. Episode 24 "The Mayor"
  7. Episode 18 "The Traveler"
  8. Episode 35 "Lazy Day"
  9. Episode 21 "A Memory of Europe"
  10. Episode 4 "PTA Meeting"
  11. 11.0 11.1 Episode 27 "First Date"
  12. Episode 29 "Subway"
  13. Episode 28 "Summer Reading Program"
  14. Episode 36 "Missing"
  15. Episode 38 "Orange Grove"
  16. Episode 20 "Poetry Week"
  17. Episode 6 "The Drawbridge"