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Posse comitatus is the common-law or statute law authority of a county sheriff, or other law officer, to conscript any able-bodied man to assist him in keeping the peace or to pursue and arrest a felon, similar to the concept of the "hue and cry". Originally found in English common law, it is generally obsolete; however, it survives in the United States, where it is the law enforcement equivalent of summoning the militia for military purposes.

In practice the posse was seldom better than the felons it pursued. However it remains a staple of the legend of the Old West.