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What qualifications are there to be a sheriff?

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Quick Answer

The qualifications for sheriff vary by state and county. In general, one must be 18, a U.S. citizen, and have a driver's license and high school diploma or GED. One must also have a clean police record with no felonies, recent misdemeanors, DWIs or domestic violence, according to LawEnforcementEdu.net.

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Full Answer

States and counties often add additional requirements. In Monroe County, New York, an individual needs to be 18 years old to be a jailer or do court security but must be 20 to do road patrol or civil work. The physical fitness requirements vary by age and gender, explains MonroeCounty.gov. However, to move up to elected sheriff or undersheriff in the state, the individual must also have two years of college and five years of experience in law enforcement or a related field.

San Diego, California, requires applicants to be 21 years old by the time they are appointed, reports the San Diego County Sheriff's Department. Resident aliens are considered if they have applied for citizenship. Applicants must have at least 20/100 vision, uncorrected, and 20/30 with glasses. They need effective oral and written skills in English, although English does not have to be the native language.

Some jurisdictions consider military records, history of alcohol or drug abuse, debts, and traffic violations, states the New York State Sheriff's Association. In addition, hiring committees look to see which applicants are likely to succeed in the basic training program, which includes physical fitness, high-speed driving, firearms training and a detailed classroom component on laws and procedures.

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