The 33 elected sheriffs of New Mexico are assisted in the day-to-day law enforcement matters by the New Mexico Sheriffs’ Association. To find out what needs to be done to become a sheriff in the Land of Enchantment, read this guide.

New Mexico Sheriff Requirements

The following conditions must be met to become a sheriff in New Mexico.

  • Should be 18 years old at least.
  • Must have cleared high school at least. The alternative GED certificate is accepted too.
  • Must be a lawful and law-abiding American national (whether by birth or on the basis of naturalization)
  • Fulfill all residency requirements of the office of sheriff in your preferred county.

*The requirements mentioned above apply generally to all counties of New Mexico. However, all counties have their own separate eligibility criteria which may differ from one another. So, you must obtain exact information about the requirements of the county in which you aspire to become a sheriff.

Steps to Reach the Sheriff’s Office in New Mexico

  1. Join a police academy to obtain basic law enforcement training. Sheriff-specific training programs are offered in some counties as well. If your chosen county provides it, then such a training program is certainly recommended.
  2. Gain work experience in law enforcement after completing police academy training. For this purpose, you will have to serve as an officer for a few years. Most counties have a minimum law enforcement experience requirement. Depending upon your chosen county, you may have to serve as an officer for as much 5 years or as little as 1 year.
  3. Pursue higher studies if possible and obtain a college degree. This is not a lawfully binding requirement but your quest to become a sheriff will certainly receive a shot in the arm with better educational credentials. Criminology, law enforcement, psychology and criminal justice are some of the recommended fields in which you can pursue a college degree.
  4. Clear the initial selection process involving a written evaluation, interview, physical exam and background scrutiny.
  5. File your nomination papers for the sheriff’s ballot in your county.
  6. Run an effective election campaign to make the voters understand why you are the ideal candidate for the sheriff’s office.
  7. Win enough percentage of votes to become sheriff for a fixed tenure. When this term ends, you can run for another.

Time Needed to Become a Sheriff in New Mexico

Considering the time spent training at the police academy and the years serving as an officer, it is likely to take as little as 3 years and as much as 8 years to become a sheriff in New Mexico. This will depend heavily on the specific law enforcement work experience requirements of your chosen county.

New Mexico Sheriff Salary

New Mexico’s First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives drew an annual mean wage of $78,980 in May, 2018 (info gathered and recorded by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics). Sheriffs in the state earn lucrative salaries since they are effectively the heads of their respective departments.