A deputy sheriff provides support by enforcing law at the county level, fulfilling similar responsibilities to officers in urban police departments. A sheriff’s office is usually small – often employing no more than 50 officers. Deputies may spend much of their time patrolling their jurisdiction and responding to calls. They also spend significant time completing paperwork.
Potential candidates for deputy sheriff must be 21 years of age, have U.S. citizenship, reside within the jurisdiction, and have no criminal record. In addition, deputy sheriffs must be in excellent physical condition.
Although the minimum educational requirement for most deputy sheriff positions is a high school diploma, a two-year college degree is often the preference. Many colleges offer programs in law enforcement or administration of justice. Prior military or police experience can also be invaluable to applicants in this field.
The sheriff and his deputies have all the powers and responsibilities of police officers, plus the authority to summon private citizens to various judicial duties. Candidates should have a passion for working with people and display character traits of honesty, integrity and a strong sense of civic duty.
The duties of a deputy sheriff vary from county to county and from state to state, but generally include the following:
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment for law enforcement officers to grow by 10% through 2018, with competition toughest at the State and Federal levels.
A report put out by the Department of Labor lists the average salary for deputy sheriffs as ranging from $74,800 to $96,200.