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Qualifications for Sheriff

NYS Sheriff’s Association Training Conference Resolution regarding standards for the elected Sheriff and appointed Undersheriff


WHEREAS, many States around the country have legislated qualifications and standards for the Office of Sheriff, but New York State simply requires the Sheriff to be age 18 or older, a U.S. citizen, and a county resident, and


WHEREAS, this Association believes that an effective way to increase and guarantee professionalism in the Office of Sheriff is to announce minimum standards for candidates in such areas as police/peace officer certification, college education or military service, specific experience, initial state law enforcement training, criminal history background checks and continuing education to retain the position, and


WHEREAS,  the elected Sheriff holds a constitutional public office of trust and is accountable to the people, and is the only example of elected law enforcement in this country, and


WHEREAS, Sheriffs in New York State are public safety administrators with lawman duties and legal responsibilities that can be complicated in nature and involve not only police work, but custody and maintenance of the county jail, operation of a civil division which must collect and account for hundreds of thousands, and sometimes millions, of dollars, protection of our courts, and many other activities,


NOW, THEREFORE, IT IS RESOLVED THAT this Association has adopted the following standards which it recommends to the voters of every county to consider when nominating and selecting a person for election to the Office of Sheriff in New York State, and standards for holding the office of Undersheriff as well:


•    No person with a conviction for a felony, a fraud, official misconduct, perjury or making a false statement shall be eligible as a qualified candidate to be elected to the Office of Sheriff or undertake the oath of Undersheriff. Criminal history convictions shall be verified by the County Board of Elections through fingerprint submissions to both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and to the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services.


•    Prior to taking the oath of office the Sheriff-elect and the Undersheriff designee must have previously attended a Basic New Sheriff Training Course to be sponsored by the New York State Sheriffs’ Association or any successor organization.  Such training shall be offered following the election of the Sheriff. However, in the event of an appointment to the office of Sheriff by the Governor or a County Judge, such training shall be offered and completed as soon as practicable after the appointment.


•    To hold the office of Sheriff or Undersheriff, a person must have at least 60 credit hours from an accredited college  or university or have five years experience in leadership and management; and five years experience in one of the following: law enforcement, public safety, corrections, court security, civil process, or like experience in the criminal justice, legal field or military command.


•    To hold the office of Sheriff or Undersheriff, a person must at least 25 years of age.