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Sheriff/Deputy Sheriff  What They Do

Just the Facts


Enforces law and order in rural or unincorporated districts or serve legal processes of courts. May patrol courthouse, guard court or grand jury, or escort defendants.

This career is part of the Law, Public Safety, Corrections and Security cluster Law Enforcement Services pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Investigates illegal or suspicious activities.
  • Drives vehicles or patrols specific areas to detect law violators, issue citations, and make arrests.
  • Takes control of accident scenes to maintain traffic flow, to assist accident victims, and to investigate causes.
  • Verifies that the proper legal charges have been made against law offenders.
  • Records daily activities and submit logs and other related reports and paperwork to appropriate authorities.
  • Executes arrest warrants, locating and taking persons into custody.
  • Notifies patrol units to take violators into custody or to provide needed assistance or medical aid.
  • Serves statements of claims, subpoenas, summonses, jury summonses, orders to pay alimony, and other court orders.
  • Questions individuals entering secured areas to determine their business, directing and rerouting individuals as necessary.
  • Patrols and guards courthouses, grand jury rooms, or assigned areas to provide security, enforce laws, maintain order, and arrest violators.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Exposure to pollutants, gases, dust, fumes, odors, poor ventilation, etc.
  • Exposed to disease and infections more than once a month through work such as patient care, laboratory work, and sanitation control
  • Lighting is either extremely bright or inadequate
  • Conditions are very hot (above 90 F) or very cold (under 32 F)
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Exposed to hazardous equipment such as saws, machinery, or vehicular traffic more than once a month
  • Exposed to hazardous situations involving possible injury such as cuts, bites, stings, and minor burns more than once a month
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Work in this occupation requires being outside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Judging how far away an object is, or which of several objects is closer or farther away
  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person
  • Exerting oneself physically over long periods of time without getting out of breath
  • Lifting, pushing, pulling, or carrying objects

Work Hours and Travel

  • Irregular hours
  • Weekend work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Detective -- Conducts investigations to solve criminal cases and to prevent crimes from occurring.
  • Undersheriff -- Performs work of directing and coordinating the activities of the Sheriff’s Office in accordance with the authority delegated by the Sheriff.