How to Become a Sheriff in Massachusetts?

Sheriffs are elected in the State of Massachusetts. The State of Massachusetts has 14 counties – all operating under the Massachusetts Sheriffs’ Association. This organization aims to unite the sheriffs of the Commonwealth to help address the various issues that have a direct effect on the criminal justice system and the operational efficiency of the office of sheriff in various counties. These issues revolve around major law enforcement activities in a given jurisdiction, care and custody of detainees and inmates, transportation of prisoners, officer training, re-entry programming, judicial services and legislative advocacy.
In addition to these, the MSA also promotes friendly relations among various sheriffs’ offices to develop standardized training, figuring out the best operational practices, providing valuable governance on shared projects and evaluating research and data on projects of mutual concern and interest.
“Ultimately, the MSA works to promote a greater understanding of the matters impacting the sheriffs’ offices and to bring together other law enforcement and criminal justice professionals and practitioners to increase cooperation and demonstrate strategies that can be utilized to improve the public safety of all Massachusetts communities.”
If you want to join the prestigious force of sheriffs operating under the MSA, the following guide on how to become a sheriff in Massachusetts would be of great interest to you. Bear in mind, however, that the following information is largely general, and is applicable across the state. For a more detailed look at the requirements to become a sheriff, you will need to check with your county.

County Established Population
Barnstable County 1685 210,000
Berkshire County 1761 130,000
Bristol County 1685 560,000
Dukes County 1695 17,000
Essex County 1643 780,000
Franklin County 1811 71,000
Hampden County 1812 470,000
Hampshire County 1662 160,000
Middlesex County 1643 1,600,000
Nantucket County 1695 11,220
Norfolk County 1793 700,000
Plymouth County 1685 510,000
Suffolk County 1643 780,000
Worcester County 1731 820,000
How to Become a Sheriff in Massachusetts
How to Become a Sheriff in Massachusetts

Requirements to Become a Sheriff in Massachusetts

To be eligible for the position of a sheriff in any county in Massachusetts, you will need to fulfill the following requirements.

    • You must be a US citizen
    • You must be at least 18 years of age
    • You should have a high school diploma or a GED
    • You should be a resident of the county you intend to become the sheriff of
    • You ought to be in a good physical and mental shape

Additional requirements may be applicable depending on the application procedure of the county you are applying for. Make sure you do your research well before moving on to the steps to become a sheriff in Massachusetts.

Steps to Become a Sheriff in Massachusetts

Even though the exact process of applying, campaigning and getting elected would vary from county to county, the following steps would give you a good general idea.

Step 1: Enroll in a Police Academy

Being in a leadership position in law enforcement, a sheriff has to take care of a lot of security related tasks. For this purpose, training as a police officer is considered necessary. Some counties might have their own training programs, but most would require you to have finished a formal police training academy course. Upon the completion of this training, you should be able to use firearms, control rowdy crowds, drive at high speeds, understand constitutional law, etc.

Step 2: Gain some Experience

Most counties would require you to have at least 1 year of experience working as a police officer. Some might even need more before you can be eligible to apply for the office of sheriff.

Step 3: Consider a College Degree

While the minimum education criterion is a high school diploma, having a college degree can be a big plus point for you. Not only will this add to your existing knowledge regarding criminal justice and law enforcement, but it would also increase the voters’ confidence in you. Voters are likely to consider you as a more formidable candidate with the ability to lead their county, in comparison to other candidates who do not have college degrees.

Step 4: Meet your County’s Application Requirements

When applying, you will need to meet some county specific requirements as well. These would typically include passing a written exam, an interview, a background check and a physical fitness exam. Make sure you clear all of these before the deadline.

Step 5: File your Paperwork

Once your entire application package is complete, you will need to submit it at your local courthouse, or wherever specified by your county. Make sure all the requirements have been met before you submit it.

Step 6: Begin your Campaign

If all goes well, you will formally start your election campaign. This is the part of the entire process that you will need to plan impeccably. Get yourself a proper campaign team to help you with the fundraisers, media interviews and newspaper ads. It is important that you get your message across to the maximum number of people before the election day.

Step 7: Get Elected and Begin your Term

If you receive the highest number of votes, you will be asked to take an oath of loyalty before you assume office. Your term as the sheriff will last for six years, after which, you may opt for a re-election.

How much does a Sheriff Earn in Massachusetts?

According to 2017 data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Police and Sheriffs Patrol Officers made an annual mean wage of $68,190 in Massachusetts, which is slightly higher than the national average. The prospects in law enforcement for residents of Massachusetts are surely looking positive.