How to Become a Sheriff in Louisiana?

The Louisiana Sheriffs’ Association has 64 sheriffs and 14,000 deputy sheriffs working under its umbrella. The association, which was formed in 1938, helps maintain the powers of the sheriff as the county’s peace officer. It also ensures optimal delivery of services by using relevant legislations.
The issues dealt by the Louisiana Sheriff’s Association include:

  • Legislation
  • Civil Law
  • Risk Management
  • Emergency Task Force
  • Jails and Prisons
  • Juvenile Incarceration
  • Narcotics Education and Enforcement
  • Senior Citizens
  • Law Enforcement Compensation
  • Jail Operations
  • Unemployment Compensation
  • Tax Law
  • Contractual Services
  • Conferences
  • Alternate Financing

If you are interested in working in any of these capacities and serve as a law enforcement officer in Louisiana, the following information would be of use to you.
Disclaimer: The information in this article is not county-specific. To get a detailed understanding of each county’s requirements, you will need to do some added research. The following general guidelines are meant to give you a basic idea of the process.

How to Become a Sheriff in Louisiana
How to Become a Sheriff in Louisiana

Requirements to Become a Sheriff in Louisiana

The minimum criteria to become a sheriff in Louisiana is nearly the same as that in many other states. If you need detailed requirements for the specific county you are applying in, you will need to check with their individual authorities on official websites. The general guidelines are as follows:

  • Candidate should be a citizen of the US
  • Candidate should not be under 18 years old
  • Candidate ought to have at least a high school diploma or a GED
  • Candidate needs to be in a good physical and mental state
  • Candidate needs to attain a residency status in the county where he/she is running for sheriff

Steps to Become a Sheriff in Louisiana

If you have cleared all the above requirements and met the eligibility criteria, you can then begin the application process. The steps listed below can be used as a general guideline to become a sheriff in Louisiana:

Step 1: Enroll in a Police Academy

The job of a sheriff requires officers to be able to perform certain law enforcement tasks. A police training facility is where you learn how to complete these tasks. Some counties have their own sheriff training programs, while others follow a general police training format. In either case, you will be exposed to subjects such as the following:

  • Witness questioning
  • Constitutional law
  • Use of weapons
  • Procedures for arrests
  • Managing crime scenes
  • Crowd controlling
  • High speed driving
Step 2: Work as a Police Officer

Working as a sheriff will put you in a leadership position that requires a lot of experience and understanding of how a law enforcement department is operated. To get that experience, you will need to work as a police officer for some years before being eligible to run for the office of sheriff. The experience requirement also varies from county to county.

Step 3: Get a College Degree in Law Enforcement

Even though this is not a mandatory requirement for most states and counties, it is still highly recommended that you invest in a bachelor’s or a master’s degree in criminal justice. This would set you apart from other candidates and make your application stronger. A higher education degree would particularly be useful in increasing voter confidence in you. Also, by taking classes in subjects such as criminology, writing, psychology and public speaking, you would be polishing your leadership skills and subsequently paving the way for a stronger future in law enforcement.

Step 4: Clear the Minimum Requirements to Run for the Office of Sheriff

These requirements would also be variable from county to county, but would be something on the following lines in most cases:

  • Pass a written exam
  • Clear a background check
  • Clear an interview
  • Pass a physical fitness exam
Step 5: File Paperwork with your Relevant County

Please ensure that you have completed the entire application package and have met all the requirements before filing.

Step 6: Plan and Execute your Election Campaign

The position of a sheriff is an elected one – so campaigning automatically becomes an integral part of the process. Make sure you have an extensive plan and a capable team to help you execute it. The whole idea is to make yourself heard and get your message across. You can do this through interviews, ads and fliers and other campaigning activities.

Step 7: Get Elected and Assume the Office of Sheriff

If you receive the most votes on the day of the election, you will be elected as the sheriff. You will then be required to take an oath of loyalty and sign a contract before you can begin working as a sheriff. Your term in office will be four years long after which you may apply for re-election.

How long does it take to become a Sheriff in Louisiana?

This time frame would be variable according to the state and local laws. The time duration is usually in accordance with five areas – the time required to become a police officer, the time required to get an undergraduate degree, the time required to gain some experience, the time required to complete the application process and the time required for elections and assuming office.

How much does a Sheriff make in Louisiana?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual mean wage of Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers in Louisiana was $41,550 as of 2018.

Career outlook for becoming a Sheriff in Louisiana

The employment in this sector in Louisiana was 11,810, which means that Louisiana comes in third in terms of the highest concentration of jobs and locations quotients in this occupation.