Everything you need to know about being a Sheriff in Alberta

Are you interested in being a sheriff in Alberta? Here’s everything you need to know to get there—from the application process and fitness testing, to the interview process and the psychology interview.

What you need to know about being a sheriff in Alberta

There are 5 types of sheriffs in the province:

  • law courts / legislature – transport inmates and ensure the safety of those in courthouses and at the legislature
  • communications – track sheriff units across the province; monitor surveillance equipment and inform response agencies of emergencies
  • surveillance – gather evidence of criminal activity and investigate specific property-related complaints
  • traffic – enforce traffic safety laws, investigate collisions and conduct commercial vehicle inspections
  • fish and wildlife – responsible for wildlife and fisheries enforcement work in the province (learn how to become a fish and wildlife officer)

Contact the Alberta Sheriffs branch

THERE ARE MANY BENEFITS TO BEING A SHERIFF, SUCH AS:

Excellent benefits, job security and a strong pension and pay;

Career opportunities and growth across Alberta in the field of law enforcement;

Rewarding and challenging work with a professional team of co-workers;

Paid training and promotional opportunities in a variety of areas or departments;

Helping others and being a strong role model;

A broad variety of experiences and daily challenges!

An Alberta Sheriff is dedicated to promoting safe and resilient communities while performing a wide range of activities in collaboration with other law enforcement and policing partners in Alberta. As a sheriff there are opportunities to work within six directorates: Court & Transport Services (CTS), Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Services (FWES), Investigation Services (IS), Protection and Communication Services (PCS), Operational Support Services (OSS) and Sheriff Highway Patrol Services (SHPS).

WHAT IS EXPECTED OF A LAW COURT SHERIFF?

A Law Court Sheriff is an entry level position, which can lead to opportunities in other directorates across the Branch. As a Law Court Sheriff you will provide a secure and armed presence within Alberta court facilities. In addition, you will ensure the safety and security of all persons within the above assigned areas including the judiciary, government employees and officials, as well as members of the public.

Specific duties include:

• Escorting prisoners to and from various facilities

• Assisting with out of province prisoner escorts

• Screening persons entering courthouses

• Monitoring courtrooms and supervising prisoners attending court

• Supervising prisoners within holding cells ensuring care, custody, and control

• Providing security services for special events and conferences

• Patrolling designated facilities

As a representative of the Alberta Sheriffs Branch, you must maintain a high level of professionalism and reliability and be able to demonstrate sound judgment and excellent problem solving skills when interacting with challenging individuals in volatile situations. A high degree of integrity and maturity is essential for this role as well as confident and sound decision-making skills. Excellent verbal and written communication skills are also essential, as you will interact with various internal and external stakeholders and members of the public.

Sheriff in front of his patrol vehicle

BLUE LINE FITNESS TESTING CAN HELP YOU BECOME A SHERIFF WITH OUR STANDARD FIRST AID COURSES, CPR LEVEL-C CERTIFICATION, INTERVIEW PREPARATION SESSIONS AND PRACTICE AND CERTIFICATION TESTING FOR THE COMPLETION OF THE PHYSICAL ABILITIES REQUIREMENT EVALUATION (PARE)

How to apply to become a Sheriff in Alberta, Canada.

There’s a 5-step process to becoming a sheriff recruit:

Submit resume, required paperwork and valid PARE test.
Interview
References and academic verification
Psychological test

Offer of employment

These 5 stages can take up to 3 months or more to complete and are oftentimes dependent on you as the applicant being fully prepared and having all applicable documentation and requirements ready when requested.

The paperwork for applying to become a sheriff: 

1) How to apply to become a sheriff.

2) Successful completion of Physical Abilities Requirement Evaluation (PARE) of 4 minutes and 45 seconds or less

3) Class 4 Drivers License and Drivers Abstract (10-year commercial Driver’s Abstract -issued within 3 weeks of application)

4) Current Standard first aid and Level C CPR/AED certification

5) Criminal Record Check including vulnerable sector check

6) • IQAS or other standard equivalency certificate for educational credentials granted outside of Canada

7) Personal Disclosure Questionnaire (PDQ)

To become a Sheriff, you must have

 a high school diploma (or equivalent) with 2 years combined related education and/or experience.

be a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident or eligible to work in Canada with a valid class 5 drivers license (including drivers abstract).

A minimum of a two-year diploma is required. A post-secondary diploma, degree, or journeyman certification in any field may be considered. Preference will be given to educational credentials in the areas of law enforcement, criminal justice, justice studies, sociology, psychology or comparable programs.

Preference will be given to applicants with journeyman qualifications in mechanics or heavy-duty mechanics or comparable programs. At least two years of progressively responsible related experience is also required. Equivalencies will be considered on the basis of one year of experience for one year of education or one year of education for one year of experience.

Candidates with less experience and education may be considered at a lower classification and salary. Experience interacting with the public in a problem-solving role is an asset. Examples that may be considered include working in a bank, restaurant, hospital, school, working with vulnerable populations, etc. Experience in any supervisory or leadership position that oversees a team and provides a service to clients is an asset.

How to prepare for your PARE to become a sheriff

To pass the PARE for Alberta Sheriffs, the participant must perform all activities as per the defined protocol and complete the timed portion of the test within 4:45 minutes, and then demonstrate the ability to lift and carry the 80 lb torso bag a distance of 50′. To prepare for the PARE test, regular training at Blue Line will include both cardiovascular and strength training. These types of training can be done in combination or separately. You are encouraged to be highly physically active for at least 4 to 6 weeks before attempting the PARE; including:

3 to 5 high intensity cardiovascular training sessions with an elevated heart rate per week, (walking and jogging will not suffice) and

2 to 3 resistance training sessions per week with a focus on core and leg strength.

Blue Line has weekly classes, obstacle specific workshops and practice sessions for you to be fully prepared to pass your PARE. Check out our post on How to Pass the PARE for more information!

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER YOU COMPLETE THE PARE TEST?

After you complete your PARE, you have the opportunity to move on in the application process. Generally following the completion of the PARE, and the submission of your clean drivers abstract, proof of class 4 license and first aid certifications, you will be called for a phone or in-person interview. Being fully prepared for your interview is also key to becoming a Sheriff and knowing how to answer questions to the best of your ability can be achieved by taking our one hour Interview Preparation sessions

Things to keep in mind when prepping for your sheriff interview:

The interview panel is usually made up of a sergeant and an inspector but may also include an additional sergeant or inspector. You must be willing to work in one of several locations in Alberta so be ready to discuss which locations you prefer during your interview.

Before your in-person interview, the Recruiting sergeant will conduct a short questionnaire over the phone with you. Honesty in both your personal disclosure and during your interview is paramount – Do not try to impress the recruiter by exaggerating situations or attempting to deceive the recruiter.

Being very specific in your answers and providing answers that detail what you specifically did in the situation using “I” statements will allow you to fully describe your skillset, competency and abilities.

After your interview, the recruiter will:

  • check all your references
  • verify your academic credentials
  • do any other required checks / verifications

tHE PSYCH EXAM .. *INSERT SCARY MUSIC HERE*

If you are successful in passing your interview, you will be invited to attend a psychological exam and interview. This session is arranged by and paid for by the ministry.

Key things to remember about your psychological exam are to:

1) Relax

2) Be Honest

Many law enforcement services are now performing suitability testing to screen applicants. The tests involve questions about your preferences, opinions about society, workplace procedures and your personal history. These tests will often involve a large number or questions, and you will be much better off if you answer each question honestly. Attempts to avoid questions or deflect answers or to lie outright will be noted and follow up interviews may be required.

I passed my psych .. now what?

The recruiter will call you with a verbal offer of employment. If you accept it, they will send you an offer letter that includes your employment details:

  • salary
  • job classification
  • work location
  • training class start date
  • benefit plan overview

In some cases, the sheriffs may offer you a position as a pre-hire recruit. This position lets you do administrative work with us until the next training class starts – which can be up to 10 weeks away.

sheriff RECRUIT TRAINING

Sheriff Induction Training Program is paid, comprehensive and designed for the new sheriff recruit.

The program runs for 15 weeks at the Alberta Justice and Solicitor General Training Academy in Edmonton. The college’s mission is to promote public safety and secure and resilient communities through the advancement of:

  • professional standards
  • delivery of quality training
  • innovative program development
  • educational leadership and operational accountability

Classroom and field experience

During your 15 week training you will cover the following subjects:

  • subject control tactics (officer safety)
  • emergency vehicle operation
  • legal studies
  • firearms
  • physical conditioning
  • ethics
  • drill / ceremony
  • gangs and intelligence
  • verbal judo (tactical communications)
  • fingerprinting
  • DNA samples
  • notebook and report writing
  • fire hazards
  • data entry systems
  • mental health
  • multiculturalism
  • infectious diseases
  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)
  • Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIP)

During this training program, recruits are required to successfully complete the Physical Abilities Requirement Evaluation (PARE) test twice.

On-the-job training

After you successfully complete the Sheriff Induction Training Program, you will placed in the Sheriff Field Training Program for 9 months. This gives you vital operational experience and leads you to becoming a fully inducted Sheriff in Alberta.

We can help you pass the PARE test and interview if you want to become an Alberta Sheriff. 

Blue Line has experienced instructors and certified coaches who know exactly how to get people into the physical and mental condition they need to pass their PARE as part of any law enforcement entrance testing protocols and experienced staff to guide you through your interview preparation.

Are you ready to run and pass your PARE? Need help to ace that interview? Contact us today to start your journey towards your law enforcement career.

For more information on PARE prep and testing or any of the other law enforcement testing Blue Line offers, check out these pages and posts:

PARE Testing Alberta 

Becoming a Fish & Wildlife Officer in Alberta

Sirens, Slammers and Service – A podcast for first responders

nikki cloutier owner and certification instructor for blue line fitness testing in edmonton

Written by Nikki Cloutier

Owner & founder of Blue Line Fitness Testing

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