How to Become a Sheriff in Maryland?

The State of Maryland has 24 sheriffs, all a part of the Maryland Sheriff’s Association. The Association, which was formed in 1974, has the aim of protecting the citizens of Maryland, by enabling sheriffs across the state to perform their duties in the most effective manner possible.

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The Association provides multiple seminars and training opportunities for sheriffs and helps them advance their understanding of the legal system updates, dealing with prosecutors and the police, leading the county’s security services and so on.

If you plan on becoming a sheriff in Maryland, the following guide would be of great help to you. It is important for aspiring Maryland sheriffs to understand that the following information is general. It may not be applicable on all counties across the state and there may be minor variations in the details. So you are advised to check with your local county for a detailed set of information.

How to Become a Sheriff in Maryland
How to Become a Sheriff in Maryland

Requirements to Become a Sheriff in Maryland

To become a sheriff in Maryland, you will need to fulfill the following basic qualifying requirements first:

  • Candidate should be a US citizen
  • Candidate needs to be at least 18 years of age. Even though some counties have a minimum age restriction of 21, being 18 years old might be sufficient in some places
  • Candidates should be residents of the place they are applying to become sheriff of. Some counties may not require this, while some others may require at least one year of residency status before application
  • Candidates need to be in a sufficiently good physical and mental health. You will be tested on these somewhere during the application and hiring process, so make sure you get into shape before applying
  • Candidates must possess at least a high school diploma or GED

Steps to Become a Sheriff in Maryland

Once you have satisfied the requirements listed above, you may begin the process to become a sheriff in Maryland.

Step 1: Enroll in a police training academy

Since the position of a sheriff is a law enforcement position, you would be required to have some relevant knowledge and experience. For this, you ought to enroll in a police academy first. A police academy would give you knowledge about the use of firearms, crowd management, witness questioning, arresting procedures and so on. This knowledge would later come in handy, when you lead an entire law enforcement department.

Step 2: Get some experience

The position of a sheriff is the equivalent of a police chief in a precinct. Therefore, you will be required to have the right education, training and experience. Once you graduate from a police academy, you will have to work as an officer for a few years. The number of years of experience needed by each county could vary.

Step 3: Get a degree

A bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or a related major might be a plus factor for your entire election campaign. Even though this is not mandatory, having a higher education degree would not only give you more knowledge about the law enforcement field, but would also make you a stronger candidate as compared to those who have a high school diploma only.

Step 4: Apply for the office of sheriff

Now begins the official application procedure. You will have to pass a written exam that would cover areas such as logic and reasoning, writing skills and several job specific questions. Following this, you would have to clear an interview that would judge you on the basis of your critical thinking skills. Once these two requirements are met, you would have to pass a background check, a physical fitness exam and a psychological exam.

Step 5: File your application and begin campaigning

Make sure all your documents are complete before you file the application with the county courthouse. Once that is done, you can finally kick off you election campaign. For this, you would want to put together a well-organized team of strategists, who promote your candidacy throughout the county, by holding interviews and distributing fliers, etc. In addition to that, working with a team would also help you generate more funds for the campaign.

Step 6: Get elected for the position of sheriff

If you are successful in the elections, you would finally be elected as the sheriff for your county. After taking an oath of loyalty and signing a contract, you may begin your four-year long term (most counties have sheriffs elected for four year long terms).

In some counties, newly elected sheriffs might be required to complete a training program.

How much does a sheriff make in Maryland?

According to O*NET OnLine, the annual median income for police and sheriff’s patrol officers was $65,170, which is higher than the national median income of $61,050. Even though the job growth between 2016 and 2026 would experience a slight tumble, the prospects for aspiring sheriffs continue to look bright in Maryland.

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