Deputy sheriffs are trained law enforcement officers. Educational requirements for deputy sheriffs vary by locality, but most require a high school degree or equivalent and the completion of a deputy sheriff training program. Earning an associate or bachelor's degree in criminal justice or law enforcement may increase employment and career advancement opportunities for aspiring deputy sheriffs.
Deputy sheriff training programs are typically offered through state academies in partnerships with local colleges. Students will get a combination of classroom study and hands-on training, including self-defense and weapons training.
Here are some common skills you'll learn while training to become a deputy sheriff:
- Law enforcement principles
- Vehicle speed assessment technology use
- Emergency driving techniques
- Firearm use
- Safety with firearms
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List of Classes
Law Enforcement Theory and Practice
Understanding the role of the deputy sheriff is integral to this course. Students review the laws that give deputy sheriffs authority to police and make arrests. The rights of a person accused of a crime are discussed in detail, including an examination of Miranda rights, which are read to the accused upon arrest. Societal views of law enforcement officers may be discussed. This course is one of the first courses completed by new deputy sheriff recruits.
Vehicle Speed Assessment for Deputy Sheriffs
Deputy sheriffs enforce speed limit laws by using RADAR and LIDAR to assess the speed of a moving vehicle. RADAR and LIDAR technologies use radio, sound and light waves to measure speed. In this course deputy sheriffs receive instruction in the safe and accurate operation of RADAR and LIDAR equipment. Successful completion of this course results in certification in RADAR and LIDAR. This class can be taken by deputy sheriff trainees or by established deputy sheriffs as a refresher course.
Controlled Driving in Emergency Situations
This course provides instruction in driving at high rates of speed in challenging environments while maintaining safety. Deputy sheriff recruits begin using driving simulators to learn the potential hazards of losing control of a motor vehicle. Once students are ready for the road, they practice driving skills, such as sharp cornering and emergency breaking, in a closed course. A final test of high-speed chases is completed before the end of the class. Driving courses are taught midway through a 9- to 14-week sheriff's academy training program.
Deputy sheriffs carry weapons for protection, to stop crimes in progress and to protect themselves and the public. Courses in firearms use are taught in the classroom and the firing range. Before hands-on training begins, students review when a firearm should be used and the consequences of mishandling a firearm. Marksmanship is taught and tested at a firing range. This course may be completed by new recruits or by those who want to improve their shooting skills.
Deputy Sheriff Training
Many sheriff's departments offer training programs in partnership with local or regional community colleges or universities, while some operate their own training facilities and programs. These programs include classes in areas like law, safe driving and weapon use and may include a physical fitness training course. Successful completion of a training program is required before becoming a sworn deputy sheriff.
Sheriff's deputies who work in specialized areas, such as gang prevention, may seek additional training through national organizations. Sheriff's deputies must re-certify in areas such as firearms training on a regular basis, and thus some training courses must be retaken.