Step by Step Guide to Become a Sheriff in New York

The New York State has a total of 58 sheriffs, all operating under the New York State Sheriff’s Association (NYSSA) since 1934. This Association has been a way for all sheriffs in the state to coordinate and work on their county’s problems in a joint and collaborative manner. Thanks to this, the sheriffs all across the state are able to deliver and perform their duties effectively. The Sheriffs’ Association enables its members to perform better through training programs, public safety programs, legislative advocacy and accreditation.

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It serves the following purposes:

  • improve the efficiency and capability of Sheriffs to provide better services in law enforcement, corrections, civil law enforcement, court security and the many other areas of a Sheriff’s responsibility;
  • collect, analyze and disseminate important decisions of local, State and Federal courts that may affect the operations of a Sheriff’s Office;
  • appear as amicus curiae in court cases affecting Sheriffs and their constituents;
  • establish standards of excellence and accredit Sheriff’s Offices that meet those standards;
  • assist Sheriffs and counties in their interactions with state and federal agencies;
  • seek grants and non-tax funding sources to assure the delivery of needed programs while alleviating the burden on local taxpayers;
How to Become a Sheriff in New York
How to Become a Sheriff in New York

Requirements to Become a Sheriff in New York

The following state-wide requirements only serve as a general guideline, since they may vary from county to county. For exact requirements, you will have to get in touch with your county’s office or visit their website.

General guidelines on requirements to become a sheriff in New York are listed below:

  • Candidate must be at least 18 years of age
  • Candidate should be a US citizen
  • Candidate should have a high school diploma or GED at least
  • Candidate might be required to be a resident of the county
  • Candidate should have a clean criminal record with no felonies
  • Candidate needs to be in good mental and physical health

Steps to Become a Sheriff in New York

If you meet all the above mentioned qualifications, along with the specific requirements of your county, the next thing to do would be to follow these series of steps:

Note: Bear in mind that these steps are not applicable throughout the State of New York. You might want to check the exact procedure with your county office.

Step 1: Graduate from a police training academy and get some experience

To be able to apply for the position of a sheriff, you will first need some relevant experience. The ideal way to go about this would be to work as a police officer in your locality for a few years. The number of years would be defined by your county’s sheriff’s office.  It could be anywhere between one year to 5 years, and even more.

To work as a police officer, you will first need to graduate from a police training academy. This would teach you a number of skills that would be required for you to work as a sheriff. These include the ability to use firearms, control large crowds, understand constitutional law and drive at high speeds, among other things.

Step 2: Consider getting a higher education

Most states would not require you to get an education beyond the high school diploma. However, it would be highly beneficial for you if you invest your time and effort in getting a higher degree, for instance, a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or an associate degree in any law-related field. Not only would a higher degree give you a better understanding of criminology, but it would also make you seem like a stronger candidate as compared to others who do not have higher education degrees.

Step 3: Begin running for the office of Sheriff

To begin the process, you will first need to complete a series of steps. These include passing a written examination, an interview, a background check and a physical fitness exam. These application requirements are also subject to change according to your county.

Step 4: File your paperwork and start campaigning

Make sure your paperwork is complete before you officially submit it. After this, you need to start planning your campaign, its activities, the members of the campaign team and the finances associated with it. During this process, you would want to ensure that the voters are well aware of your agenda and plans for your county.

Step 5: Get elected

If you get the maximum number of votes, you will be elected to serve as the sheriff of your county for the next four years (in most counties). Before you assume office, though, you will be required to take an oath of loyalty and sign a contract.

How much does a sheriff make in New York?

New York is a great place to work as a sheriff. According to data by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, police and sheriff’s patrol officers made an annual mean income of $73,000 as of May 2017. This is significantly higher than the national mean wage of $64,490. New York also came in at number three in terms of highest employment level in this occupation.