Deputy Sheriff Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

A Deputy Sheriff, or Sheriff’s Deputy, patrols counties to ensure citizens’ safety. Their duties include arresting criminals, investigating county crimes and providing assistance during emergency events or natural disasters.

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Deputy Sheriff Duties and Responsibilities

There are many duties and responsibilities a Deputy Sheriff must adhere to in order to enforce the law. From responding to emergency and non-emergency calls to tracking down and arresting criminals, a Deputy Sheriff has a lot to do. Other duties may include:

  • Conduct criminal investigations.
  • Obtain any necessary warrants and arrest suspects.
  • Be present in courtrooms and guard courthouses.
  • Gather evidence, interview witnesses and conduct any crime scene investigations.
  • Fill out forms and detailed reports.
  • Patrol their assigned sectors.
  • Operate their county jail.

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Deputy Sheriff Job Description Examples

What Does a Deputy Sheriff Do?

A Deputy Sheriff works to protect a county’s property and citizens. They patrol highways and cities, investigating crimes and keeping records of different criminal instances. They also escort detainees from court proceedings and ensure the courtroom is peaceful and professional. 

Deputy Sheriffs operate different communications devices, like radios and telephones to report and respond to emergency calls. They’ll also navigate the highway and county areas to ensure all drivers are following posted speed limits and adhering to other traffic laws. Many Deputy Sheriffs also serve court documents to individuals.

Deputy Sheriff Skills and Qualifications

A Deputy Sheriff has many skills, and the candidate you’re looking for should be no different. You want them to have communication skills so they can properly conduct investigations. They will need to interview witnesses and share evidence in court. Analysis skills will help them to determine likely suspects in a crime. Other important skills a Deputy Sheriff should have are:

  • Physical strength to be able to defend themselves and others when confronted with a fight.
  • Physical stamina and endurance to keep up with the rigor of the job.
  • Perceptiveness to be able to understand things from another person’s point of view.
  • Leadership skills to be comfortable in the eye of the public and keep the peace during emergency situations.
  • Critical thinking skills in order to make quick decisions in the field when the need arises.
  • Problem solving skills help when in a tough situation that requires immediate action.

Deputy Sheriff Salary Expectations

Though wages vary based on experience, a Deputy Sheriff’s average salary is $48,211 per year. This estimate is based on 584 salaries submitted to Indeed by employees and users, and collected from past and present job advertisements over the last 36 months. The tenure for a Deputy Sheriff is typically 4 to 6 years.

Deputy Sheriff Education and Training Requirements

The requirements to become a Deputy Sheriff vary based on location because each state has its own preferences. Typically, a candidate only needs a high school diploma, to pass a civil service exam and some hands-on training. Having a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or a related field can be an advantage in the hiring process, however. The candidate may also have to complete a training academy and is required to be at least 21 years of age.

Deputy Sheriff Experience Requirements

Most of a Deputy Sheriff’s experience is learned in the field, which means not too many requirements starting out, though having previous law enforcement experience is an advantage. In order to become a Deputy Sheriff, most locations only require a high school diploma, valid driver’s license and clean criminal record. A candidate may also need to complete a police training academy, law enforcement courses and field training, before becoming a full-fledged deputy. When they begin a new job, a Deputy Sheriff may be placed under a probationary period.

Job Description Samples for Similar Positions

If a Deputy Sheriff isn’t quite what you’re looking for, here are some job description samples of similar positions that may fill your needs:

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Frequently asked questions about Deputy Sheriffs


Who does a Deputy Sheriff report to?

Deputy Sheriffs typically report to higher-ranking officers like a Sheriff or Police Chief to provide their regular reports on instances that occurred while on duty, arrests they made and tickets they distributed. The Sheriff or Police Chief addresses any issues the Deputy Sheriff has and provides guidance to help them better perform in their role. They may also resolve any issues or complaints a citizen may have about the Deputy Sheriff’s work performance.  


What's the difference between a Police Officer and a Deputy Sheriff?

Though they both hold similar responsibilities, Deputy Sheriffs and Police Officers have a few differences due to their locations. A Police Officer prevents crime within the city limits they’re assigned to, while a Deputy Sheriff is often responsible for protecting an entire county. A county can consist of several small downs or many large cities, so a Deputy Sheriff usually holds additional tasks and more responsibility than a Police Officer. 

Deputy Sheriffs also receive more training than a Police Officer. Many Deputy Sheriffs may also work in county jails and courts in addition to their responsibilities patrolling a city, while many Police Officers primarily patrol their city limits and administer tickets.  


What makes a good Deputy Sheriff?

A great Deputy Sheriff must have an impressive ability to make quick and logical decisions. Much of their work comes from unexpected events, so they should be able to react professionally in high-pressure situations. They should also be able to follow directions and instructions well as they’re given several rules and regulations to adhere to in their career.

A good Deputy Sheriff should also have strong physical stamina to be on their feet and moving all day. They must be ready to move quickly during emergency or sudden situations. 


Which settings do Deputy Sheriffs typically work in?

Deputy Sheriffs usually work in different sections of the county they patrol in. Most of them have assigned sectors they primarily work in. They must move to various areas every day, like the county jail, courtrooms and resident’s homes to investigate and resolve reports and legal issues. Since they’re regularly traveling around the county, Deputy Sheriffs should have a strong knowledge of the county and its whereabouts to ensure they arrive at the necessary location in a quick and timely manner.

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