Step by Step Guide to Become a Sheriff in Indiana

Indiana is home to 92 counties, each with its own sheriff’s department. These departments fall under the Indiana Sheriffs’ Association (ISA). The Association was formed to ensure better operations and coordination between all the sheriffs’ departments across the state. It helps improve the delivery of the county sheriffs’ duties and encourages the practice of law enforcement in the State of Indiana.

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To ensure that the goals of the Association are being met, the Indiana Sheriffs’ Association engages in activities such as providing training programs, technical assistance, research facilities, manuals, publications, staff and newsletters. These help sheriffs execute their duties to the best of their abilities, along with providing them organizational guidance.

If you want to become a sheriff in Indiana, you would soon be joining this Association and working in accordance with its mission and vision. To get to that point, however, aspiring sheriffs would have to follow some steps. The information contained in the guide below would be of great help to those who intend on becoming a sheriff in Indiana.

How to Become a Sheriff in Indiana
How to Become a Sheriff in Indiana

Requirements to Become a Sheriff in Indiana

The requirements to become a sheriff in Indiana would largely depend on which county you are applying in. The exact requirements typically vary from county to county but as a general principle, the following might be taken as guidelines:

  • Candidates must be at least 21 years old
  • Candidates need to have a high school diploma or GED
  • Candidates must not have any prior felony convictions
  • Candidates need to be US citizens
  • Candidates should be in a good physical and mental shape

Once you have ensured you fulfill all the basic qualification requirements set forth by your county, you can then move on to the actual hiring process.

Steps to Become a Sheriff in Indiana

The following information is meant to serve as a basic guideline for sheriff applicants in the state of Indiana. For the exact steps and details, aspiring sheriffs will have to visit the official county websites or their offices.

Step 1: Enroll at a police academy

Before you set on your path to becoming a sheriff, you will first need to become a police officer in Indiana. This is to ensure that you have the proper training and experience to understand the job of a sheriff. A police training academy will help you become proficient in areas such as the following:

  • Use of firearms
  • High speed driving
  • Crime scene management
  • Criminal law
  • Witness questioning
  • Crowd controlling
Step 2: Get law enforcement experience4

To work as a sheriff, you will need some prior work experience in a law enforcement field. Ideally, this would mean working as a police officer for a few years. However, law enforcement experience in other categories (such as working as a judge) might be substituted, depending on your county’s law. Some jurisdictions might require a license or a certificate, in addition to your work as a police officer.

Step 3: Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice

While this may not be a compulsory component of the procedure, it will certainly help in making your application stronger. Having a bachelor’s degree or even a 2-year long associate degree would improve your job prospects manifold and will also make your potential voters feel more confident in you. With a degree in law enforcement, you would be well-versed in many advanced subjects that will come in handy at later stages, should you get elected.

Step 4: Apply for the office of sheriff in Indiana

Before the actual campaigning and electioneering, you will need to file all the relevant documents with the county’s office. Once this is done, you will need to fulfill a few requirements:

  • Clear a written exam that will determine your writing skills, reasoning and other job-related concerns
  • Clear an interview that will judge your communication skills, logic and reasoning abilities and your motivations for wanting to be a sheriff in the particular county
  • Pass the background check that will check your previous criminal, financial and employment records. This will determine your suitability as a person to be the sheriff.
  • Clear a physical exam that will test your stamina and proficiency in handling arms and ammunition

Specific requirements are subject to vary according to your county, so make sure you do your research meticulously.

Step 5: File the paperwork and start your campaign

If all else goes well, you will be filing your official documents with the county courthouse and starting your election campaign soon. For this, you are advised to put together a team that helps you execute your mission and gets your message across the county. Make sure you have your funds in order before you begin the process.

Step 6: Get elected and take an oath

If you receive the most votes in the election campaign, you will be asked to take an oath of loyalty and begin your four-year term as the sheriff of your county.

How much does a sheriff make in Indiana?

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, police and sheriff’s patrol officers made an annual mean wage of $53,260 as of May 2017. O*NET OnLine also lists the category in its list of occupations and shows a positive outlook for it, in terms of employment change. According to it, an 8% positive change is expected in the number of jobs available in this sector between 2016 and 2026.

Therefore, if you are planning to apply to become a sheriff in Indiana, the current landscape has the perfect opportunities available.