How to Become a Sheriff in Texas?

A sheriff in Texas would generally be responsible for performing the following duties:

  • Serve as a licensed peace officer enforcing the criminal laws applicable to the state of Texas
  • Manage and operate the county jails
  • Provide security for courts across the county
  • Serve civil papers and warrants
  • Regulate the bail bondsmen in counties that do not have a bail bond board

Note: Bear in mind that the exact duties of sheriffs may vary from county to county.

How to Become a Sheriff in Texas
How to Become a Sheriff in Texas

What are the Duties of a Sheriff in Texas?

A sheriff in Texas would generally be responsible for performing the following duties:

  • Serve as a licensed peace officer enforcing the criminal laws applicable to the state of Texas
  • Manage and operate the county jails
  • Provide security for courts across the county
  • Serve civil papers and warrants
  • Regulate the bail bondsmen in counties that do not have a bail bond board

Note: Bear in mind that the exact duties of sheriffs may vary from county to county.

Requirements to Become a Sheriff in Texas

Before we get into the details of the requirements for sheriffs, it is important for you to understand that the position of a sheriff is a county level position, rather than a state-level position. The following information is generally applicable to sheriffs across the country, so exact county-level requirements and hiring details would vary.

On a general note, aspiring sheriffs are expected to meet the following requirements:

  • Be a US citizen
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Live in the area where you want to become the sheriff
  • Be in good physical and mental health
  • Get a high school diploma or GED

Steps to Become a Sheriff in Texas

Even though the specific process to become a sheriff in Texas would vary across counties, the following general information can be used as a basic guideline. For exact details, you are advised to visit your county’s official website or their office.

Step 1: Go for Higher Education

While most counties do not require more than a high school diploma, it is advised that you consider getting a higher education nonetheless. A bachelor’s or an associate degree in criminal justice or a related subject would greatly improve your ability to perform as the sheriff and would also make the voters feel more confident in you.

Step 2: Pass the Police Academy

To begin your journey towards becoming a Sheriff in Texas, you will need to first become a police officer, or work in law enforcement in some other capacity. For this, you will need to pass the police academy training program, which will train you in the use of firearms, crowd management, high speed driving and crime scene management, among other things.

Step 3: Gain Experience

Once you have graduated from a police academy, you will have to find a job in law enforcement. The experience requirements are different for different counties, so be sure to check with your local county office. Working as a police officer or a judge for a few years would prepare you for the sheriff’s job.

Step 4: Run for Sheriff

Each county in Texas would have its own checklist of requirements for the office of sheriff. Make sure you are aware of the application procedure and documents you would need, along with the rules of campaigning. As a general rule, you will be required to file an application, clear a written exam, undergo a detailed interview and clear background and physical fitness tests.

Step 5: File Paperwork and Begin Campaigning

Before you kick off your official campaign, you will need to file the relevant paperwork with your county’s office and plan out your entire campaign. Make sure you work out all the financial concerns, fundraising activities and the plan of action for the campaigning days. Since other candidates will be running against you, you can expect competition to be tough, especially in the bigger counties.

Step 6: Get Elected and Assume Office

If you are successful, you will be asked to take an oath and assume office. You will have to sign a contract that lays down your duties and responsibilities. This will be the official start of your four-year term as the sheriff. At the end of your term, you may run for a reelection.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Sheriff in Texas?

The amount of time it takes would depend on the status of your application, your educational qualifications and your experience. It will also depend on the county’s individual laws. The police training academy may take approximately 18 to 20 weeks to complete, after which you would be required to gain a few years of experience. The campaigning and application process might last a few months as well. All in all, you are looking at a substantial time investment if you intend to become a sheriff in Texas.

How Much Does a Sheriff Make in Texas?

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the annual mean salary of Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers as $62,430, for 2017. The state with the highest level of employment in this occupation was California, with Texas coming in second. The exact salary figures would vary according to each county’s budget allowances.