How to Become a Sheriff in Ohio?

Becoming a sheriff is a challenging but rewarding career choice for those who are passionate about serving their community and upholding the law. The role of a sheriff is to maintain peace and order, protect citizens, and enforce laws within their jurisdiction. But it takes more than just a badge to become a sheriff. It requires a combination of education, training, experience, and personal qualities such as leadership, communication, and problem-solving skills.

In Ohio, the role of the sheriff is critical in ensuring public safety and maintaining law and order in the community. Ohio sheriffs are responsible for a range of tasks, from serving court documents to enforcing traffic laws to overseeing county jails. They work closely with local law enforcement agencies, courts, and other organizations to ensure that citizens are protected and that justice is served.

However, the job of a sheriff is not without its challenges. Sheriffs in Ohio must navigate complex legal and political systems, manage personnel and resources effectively, and maintain a high level of professionalism and integrity in all aspects of their work. But for those who are up to the challenge, the rewards of serving as a sheriff can be immense, including the satisfaction of making a positive difference in people’s lives and the opportunity to build strong, lasting relationships with members of the community.

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Requirements to Become a Sheriff in Ohio

Before you begin the application process for becoming a sheriff in Ohio, you will need to meet the following basic requirements.

  • All candidates should be US citizens
  • All candidates need to be at least 18 years of age
  • Candidates should possess at least a high school diploma or GED
  • Applicants need to be in a good mental and physical shape
  • Applicants ought to have a residency status in the county where they intend to become the sheriff
How to Become a Sheriff in Ohio
How to Become a Sheriff in Ohio

Job Description and Responsibilities of Sheriffs in Ohio

  • Enforcing state and local laws and ordinances
  • Investigating crimes and making arrests
  • Serving and executing court orders and warrants
  • Providing security for courts and other public facilities
  • Maintaining county jails and overseeing the incarceration of prisoners
  • Conducting patrols and responding to emergency situations
  • Coordinating with other law enforcement agencies and community organizations
  • Training and managing personnel, including deputies and civilian staff
  • Managing departmental budgets and resources
  • Providing community education and outreach programs

Programs and Training Available for Sheriffs in Ohio

Type of Program/Training


Skills TaughtDuration
Ohio Peace Officer Training AcademyCriminal law, investigative techniques, defensive tactics, firearms proficiency, emergency vehicle operations, ethics and professionalismApprox. 20 weeks
Ohio Sheriff’s Association Leadership AcademyLeadership, communication, problem-solving, decision-making, team building, conflict resolution5 days
Ohio Attorney General’s Concealed Carry CourseFirearm safety, legal requirements for carrying a concealed weapon, marksmanship training8 hours
Crisis Intervention Team TrainingTechniques for responding to individuals in mental health crisis, de-escalation strategies, community resources and partnerships40 hours
Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault TrainingInvestigation and prosecution of domestic violence and sexual assault cases, victim advocacy and support services40 hours

Career Outlook for Sheriff in Ohio

The career outlook for sheriffs in Ohio is positive, with a projected growth of 3% between 2020-2030 according to O*Net Online. This growth is expected to result in 1,890 annual job openings in the same period. Alternative career options for those interested in law enforcement include police officer, detective, probation officer, and correctional officer.

Steps to Become a Sheriff in Ohio

Once you have satisfied the basic eligibility criteria of your county, you would be required to follow a series of steps to get elected as a sheriff in Ohio. Bear in mind that the sheriff in most counties in Ohio is chosen via election, so you ought to start getting involved in the community matters early on.

Step 1: Complete a police training academy and get experience

The first step is to get involved in the law enforcement sector. For this, you will need to enroll yourself in a police training academy to get a basic understanding of the field. The academy will teach you the basics, such as the use of firearms and crowd management techniques.

Once you graduate from the police academy, you may proceed to look for a job in law enforcement. The most ideal job to get at this point would be to work as a police officer for a few years.

Step 2: Consider higher education

Most counties would only require candidates to have a high school diploma for eligibility for the position of sheriff. However, having higher education, such as a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or an associate degree in any law enforcement related field would make you a stronger candidate. The voters might feel that your additional knowledge makes you more capable of running the office of sheriff.

Step 3: Meet the county requirements and file your paperwork

Every county will have a different set of requirements, so you might want to check with your county courthouse. In general, you would have to pass a written exam, an interview, a physical fitness test and a background check before you are eligible to file your paperwork.

Step 4: Begin your campaign

You are advised to fully plan out your fundraising and campaigning activities beforehand. This will ensure that you get your message across to your voters in the most effective manner possible.

Step 5: Get elected and assume office

If you get the highest number of votes in the elections, you will be asked to take an oath of loyalty and begin your four year long term as the sheriff of your county.

How much does a sheriff make in Ohio?

According to data by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2021 annual mean wage for sheriffs and other law enforcement workers in Ohio was $67,110. In addition to their salary, sheriffs in Ohio also receive benefits such as healthcare, retirement plans, and paid time off.

Sheriff’s Office in Ohio: An Overview

The Buckeye State Sheriffs’ Association (BSSA) is the organization that oversees the 88 sheriffs in Ohio. The Association was created in Columbus, Ohio, on 16th May, 1931 and has since then served as a strong developmental force for sheriffs across the state. The BSSA also provides information for the citizens of the state about what they ought to expect from their local sheriffs and how they need to cooperate to make the Sheriff’s Office a truly effective institution.

The Association lists the following duties of Sheriffs in the State of Ohio:

  • Courts: Sheriffs in Ohio are responsible for the security of the courthouse, under Section 311.07 of the Ohio Revised Code.
  • Jail Operation: Sheriffs are responsible for the county jail and all those who are held in it. They ought to be fair and impartial in their dealings.
  • Prisoner Transportation: Thousands of prisoners are being transported every year, all over the state. Sheriffs ensure that these transportations to and from various state and local holding facilities are done with the utmost care.
  • Police Services: Several communities in Ohio rely on the office of the sheriff solely for the provision of basic security services, since they cannot afford police departments of their own.
  • Traffic Control: Sheriffs are specifically trained in traffic control methods and vehicle crash investigations. They would also be in-charge of re-routing traffic in case of an event in the county.
  • Civil Process Service: Sheriffs perform duties such as delivering subpoenas and summonses. They also do repossessions, evictions and buying and selling of property ordered by the courts.
  • Communications: In many counties across the state, the office of the Sheriff provides dispatch services for various other agencies as well, such as the fire department or ambulance associations.
  • Specialized Programs: Sheriffs may also assist in controlling crime and traffic with the help of specialized DUI enforcement programs.
  • Community Involvement: Sheriffs ensure that the community is fully involved, with programs such as Neighborhood Watch, McGruff, Speakers Bureau and D.A.R.E.

If you are interested in becoming a sheriff in Ohio, the above mentioned guide would be of use to you. Keep in mind though, that the information provided is largely general, and may vary from county to county.
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