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The role of a deputy sheriff is to enforce local, state, and national laws within a county. Much like police officers in urban areas, deputies are appointed officers responsible for overseeing certain police duties.
What Does a Deputy Sheriff Do?
Deputy sheriffs are commonly in charge of patrolling their jurisdiction, making arrests, and responding to emergency and non-emergency calls. However, they may also be tasked with running the county jail or ensuring courtroom security. Many times, especially in rural areas, the sheriff’s department is the main law enforcement agency.
Most deputy sheriffs work 12-hour shifts; some work alternating day and night shifts. Since around-the-clock public safety is the primary concern of a sheriff’s department, a deputy may be asked to work double shifts and should expect overtime pay. They should also be ready to work holidays and weekends as needed, especially at the beginning of their career.
How Much Do Deputy Sheriffs Earn?
Salaries vary greatly by department size and location. The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not report specifically on the salaries of deputy sheriffs, but a comparable salary is that of police and sheriff’s patrol officers. The median annual salary for those roles is $61,380. Pay will vary based on location, experience, and education.
How Do I Become a Deputy Sheriff?
To effectively provide services like law and traffic enforcement, emergency response, and criminal investigation, deputy sheriffs must complete intense training requirements. The strict selection process for this training ensures the best-suited candidates receive a chance to compete for this role. A written test to assess reading, writing, and math skills is also typical. Physically, candidates will be evaluated for stamina, strength, and dexterity. One of the final requirements is that candidates pass an interview and psychological exam with senior officers. This is to ensure the applicant is fit to handle the mental trials of law enforcement work.
Depending upon a department’s location, there may be a civil service exam a candidate must pass before they earn eligibility to enter a training program.
Those interested in pursuing careers as deputy sheriffs must be U.S. citizens with no felony or domestic violence convictions and no recent DWI or misdemeanor convictions. Before an applicant is offered a job, they must pass a thorough background check. In some instances, a polygraph exam may be required to verify all information gathered during a candidate’s interviews and background check.
Not unlike many careers in law enforcement, the minimum education required to become a deputy sheriff is a high school diploma or GED. However, sheriffs who hold a bachelor’s or master’s degree will increase their attractiveness to employers. They will also likely earn more money and have greater opportunities for advancement.
Concordia University, St. Paul offers a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a master’s degree in criminal justice leadership. Both programs can help you develop the skills needed to excel as a deputy sheriff. In addition, they are offered in a convenient online format that allows you to study at a time and place that works best for you.