Sheriff Ranks – What Are The Different Sheriff Ranks In Order Of Salaries

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Sheriff Ranks – What Are The Sheriff Ranks In Order Of Salaries FAQs

Criminal Justice careers are often tempting for many of us but have we looked into what these careers have to offer us? Having an in-depth knowledge of the career titles, the growth opportunities that they have and the expected salary will be much beneficial for us to take the right decision.

Did you know the highest rank in law enforcement? Well, the rank of Sheriff’s is the highest rank in the law enforcement and has much to offer to the candidates who are aspiring to join the US Criminal Justice System

So, what are the ranks in the sheriff department? What are the salaries offered to each Sheriff rank? Is Sheriff higher than captain? Or what are the growth opportunities in this career? If you have these questions in your mind, you are in the right place. This article will give you an in-depth knowledge of the Sheriff’s career path while answering all your questions.

A sheriff is an official who is usually, an elected representative who is responsible for enforcing the law and ensuring that the peace is prevailing in the area on which they have authority. The specific responsibilities of the Sheriff may vary depending upon the state in which they are elected but generally speaking. They are elected to supervise the police department and ensure that the interests of the citizens are being protected through proper implementation of the law.

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Ranks In The Sheriff Department

Let’s begin by discussing the Ranks in the Sheriff’s department.



The Sheriff is the highest rank in law enforcement, and the citizens elect the individual through the election. The tenure of Sheriff may vary depending on your state, In 41 States the tenure is of 4 years while one state elects the Sheriff for three years and three states elect him or her for a tenure of two years.

The sheriff is responsible for maintaining law and order, overseeing the Jail affairs, Serving warrants, and providing security to the courts and judges. The Sheriff has to act on the court order, especially when an order is being passed to arrest a person or to seize property.

Deputy Sheriff Ranks

Deputy Sheriff also called as Chief Deputy Sheriff is the second in command after the Sheriff. The primary responsibilities of a person appointed on this position are to oversee the affairs of a department and report back to the Sheriff.

If you are aspiring to become a deputy, you can expect to supervise different departments within the Criminal justice system. The deputy serves under the command of the Sheriff and will have to report him for everything happening in all the divisions under his commands.


A colonel is responsible for overseeing several divisions within a department. A sheriff’s office may have more than one colonel who is overseeing the duties assigned to several divisions. For example the Sheriff department of Hillsborough County, Fla has four colonels, and each of them is supervising a couple of divisions.

Colonel Donna Luczynski, a colonel, is the sheriff department of the Hillsborough County, Fla is supervising the investigative department that includes three divisions.


Major is another Top management rank among Sheriff’s department ranks. A major oversees the divisions within a department. The duties that are assigned to this rank include, overseeing overall operations of that particular division, ensuring that all necessary staff and equipment is present to carry out the task and report to the higher ranks about all the developments within the division.

You will be amazed to know that many female officers of the Sheriff’s department are being promoted to this rank because of their ability to manage things in a better way. So, if you are a woman, you have a bright chance of landing at this position.


Managing the tasks and the staff of a division and are the prime responsibilities of a sheriff captain. A captain is a subordinate of a major and has to brief him about the ongoing tasks.

Captain heads a single division within a sheriff department such as a child protection unit or Patrolling unit. From managing the duties to selecting the staff of the division, everything is done by a captain after approval from his seniors.


Do you aim at becoming an officer in the Sheriff’s department? If so, the lieutenant is the first officer level rank, to begin with. A lieutenant serves in the division under the command of a Captain and is often responsible for carrying out smaller tasks assigned to him.

As he has just begun his career, experienced staff from low ranks will be given under his command so that he can get help from their experience. An important thing to note here is that, although the staff assigned is experienced yet they will follow the orders of the lieutenant because he is their senior in the sheriff office ranks.


The sergeant is the leader of the lower rank staff. Being a sergeant, you will have to supervise corporals and deputies. The promotion is this rank highly depends upon your leadership skills, through your file evaluation, the board constituting of a senior rank officer will decide whether you are a good fit for this position or not.


The position of corporal is not necessarily a supervisory role, unlike the other ranks of the Sheriff’s department. Being a corporal, you will have to take orders your seniors and execute them along with your team of deputies.

Although you might be asked to command the deputies, one cannot consider it as a supervisory role.


Deputy is the first rank within the sheriff department, and most people begin their career from this rank. The primary responsibilities of a person appointed to this position are to execute the orders of the seniors.

If you are aspiring to become a deputy, you can expect to participate in the highway patrols, specific police department, or the Jails. A proper training program is designed for the deputy to train them for the duties that are assigned to them.

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Salary Tiers And Promotions

The salaries in the Sheriff’s department are mainly dependent on your rank and the experience you have so before we discuss the salaries of different ranks, let’s first explore the salary tires and promotion procedures.

Training Salary –Training is an essential part of all law enforcement careers. The recruits of the Police academies who serve in the Sheriff’s department receive a handsome pay for the training hours that they had completed.

Entry Level Salary –The salaries that you will receive right after joining the Sheriff’s department will be minimal but do not get disheartened. You will eventually climb the ladder as your experience increases.

Promotions –The promotions are highly dependent on your performance so, if you have an excellent service book and you are a right candidate for the promotion in the eyes of your seniors, you will eventually get promoted. The good news is that your salary and other benefits will also increase with promotions.

Retirement Process –There is an age limit restrain on your services within the Sheriff’s department which means that you can serve in the department until you reach the age of 60. Mouthful perks are offered to the officers who have retired from the Sheriff’s department.

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Salaries Of Different Ranks In The Sheriff Department

What if someone asks you, what is that one thing you look in a job before applying for it? For sure, it is the amount that you are going to receive at the end of a month. Keeping in view this importance of salary, we have brought you the salaries that are offered to the different ranks within the Sheriff’s department.

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Deputy Sheriff Average Salary

According to the different statistics, the salary that is given to the deputy Sheriff ranges from $ 30,000 to $ 74,000 per year. The average annual salary for this position is, therefore, $43,000

According to the bureau of labor statics, the average annual salary of deputy is $59,640, which is even more from the above-given statistics. So, one thing is for sure. The Sheriff department offers a handsome salary to its officers.

The highest paying jobs among the entire Sheriff  department of the United States were found in California and New Jersey. On the other hand, the most number of jobs available was in the district of Columbia and Mississippi.

The highest rank in a sheriff’s department is the position of Sheriff itself. The salary for this position ranges between $96,980- 108,940 with an average annual income of $102,205.

If you think that the entry-level salary is lower, keep in mind that your salary will increase as you move to the higher ranks within the Sheriff’s department.

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Factors That Influence Salary Within The Sheriff  Department

Mainly three factors influence the salary of an employee who is working in the Sheriff’s department. These Factors are:

  • Education
  • Experience in the law Enforcement
  • And Military Experience

Education –if you have an associate, bachelor or master’s degree in Criminal Justice, it demonstrates that you have a grip on the advanced theories that you will be applying to your job. The Sheriff’s departments are willing to offer a handsome salary package to such Candidates. In some cases, you might even receive a refund of your tuition fees.

Experience In Law Enforcement –The skills and training that you have acquired during the experience of working in the law enforcement, therefore, the department will be willing to offer you an excellent salary to utilize your expertise.

Military Experience –any experience of being a veteran will enhance your value in the eyes of the Sheriff’s department, so if you have any such experience, apply for an announced position without any further due.

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General Job Duties of a Sheriff

Understanding the sheriff hierarchy is essential, but before joining the Sheriff department, one must know about the job responsibilities that are to be carried out in the sheriff department. When it comes to the sheriff department, people have many queries in their minds. Students ask this question most of the time, what are the three primary responsibilities of the sheriff’s department?

So, if you are one of those students, this section is just for you because, in this section, we are going to discuss the duties that you will have to perform is a part of the sheriff department.

Supervision –The prime responsibility of an officer in the sheriff department is to lead the force under his command to ensure that law and order are maintained.

Oversee the funds –There are Secret missions ongoing at the Local, state, and federal levels for which huge funds are allocated, so the sheriff department is responsible for overseeing the utility of those funds. It ensures that the funds are used in the right place.

Jail Operations –The sheriff department also supervises the operations of Jail, so if you are employed, you might be deployed there to supervise the operations.

Security of the courts –The courts’ security is also the responsibility of the sheriff department, so whenever they are in session, the department might allocate officers to provide security so you might be one of those officers.

Spread Public Awareness –The sheriff department also holds public awareness seminars to educate them about law enforcement related issues.

Supervise Police training – The sheriff department also conducts the training of the police department. The officers who are well disciplined and good at commanding are sent to different police academies to train them. So if you have a good record within the department, you might be dispatched to the Police training academies.

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Difference Between Sheriff, Police, And Constable

Sheriffs, police, and constables all have the same role, maintaining the law and order so that peace can prevail in society. All of them are given the power to exercise by their respective states to ensure that no one is violating the law and arresting those who fail to do so.

But do you wonder why do all the three wear different uniforms? Well, all three law enforcement titles have different natures Jobs, and to distinguish them from each other, all three are given different uniforms.

The critical difference between constable, sheriff, and police are:

·         A difference in Jurisdictional boundaries –The primary difference among all three is their jurisdiction. Now, what does this exactly means? Well, the Sheriffs are entitled to carry out patrolling and raid in their own allocated areas while the police have jurisdiction over an entirely different area.

·         Source of Funding is differentEach law enforcement agency has a different source of finances. Some agencies are federally-funded while others receive the finances from the state departments. The federal departments mostly fund sheriffs while the police and constables usually take their budget from the local or state-level departments.

·         Legislature is different for all –Whenever a law enforcement agency comes into being, several laws are made for it. These laws define their role, duties, and limitations. As the legislature is different for all three, therefore, they have different uniforms and structures.

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The Difference In Duties Of Sheriff Lieutenant And Sheriff Sergeant

Sheriff Lieutenant and Sheriff Sergeant are two different sheriff ranks. Sheriff Lieutenant is a lower rank while the Sheriff Sergeant is comparatively a senior rank in the police department.

Here is what their duties are how they are different from each other.

Duties of Sheriff Lieutenant

Duties of Sheriff Sergeant

Plans assign and review the tasks assigned to law enforcement, courts, and administrative personalsResponsible for planning, assigning, and supervising  the duties of a deputy sheriff
He is the commander of all the patrol units that come under the country’s sheriff officeHe also organizes and prepares evidence that is to be presented in the court.


He is the commander of a division therefore he has to manage the budget allocated for that divisionHe anticipates in situations where the presence of A Deputy sheriff is necessary. He takes measures for the protection of Public property and valuables.
Might have to work in the outside environment.Work is performed in different environments but mostly they work in office or detention facility.
The sheriff lieutenant must be in sound physical health where he can carry up to 100 pounds of weight, listen to the problems of subordinates, and take measures to resolve them.The work is in shifts, so the sergeant must be available for both the shifts and must be willing to handle threatening situations

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California Sheriff Department

The Sheriff Department of California is named “Orange County sheriff’s department.” It is mainly responsible for providing law enforcement services to the unincorporated areas and thirteen contact cities in the orange county.

The agency is also providing law enforcement services to the orange county transportation services and john Wayne Airport. Besides this, the agency also conducts raids, patrols, marine security operations, and underwater search and recovery services.

This is how the California sheriff the rank structure looks like:

4 Gold Stars.svg
Under Sheriff
3 Gold Stars.svg
Assistant Sheriff
2 Gold Stars.svg
1 Gold Star.svg
Captain insignia gold.svg
US-O1 insignia.svg
U.S. police sergeant rank (black and yellow).svg
Deputy Sheriff IINo insignia
Deputy Sheriff INo insignia

Who is Above the Sheriff?

Technically speaking, the sheriff is the highest elective representative, and no one outranks him as far as the law enforcement agencies are concerned. He has the supreme power, which he exercises for the better enforcement of law and order.

If we talk about towns, the Commissioner is above the sheriff and can pass orders to him/her regarding an issue. Think of a situation in which a crime has been committed in a city. The Commissioner is in a position to call an explanation from the sheriff about the incident that took place.

So, we believe now you have the answer to your question: Who is Above the Sheriff?

Uphold the Law as a Sheriff

If you want a way into the law enforcement profession, but you don’t necessarily have an abundance of post-secondary education or relevant work experience, consider training to become a sheriff. In this role, you will work to protect people and their properties at the local, state or even federal level, and you will receive training once hired, as long as you meet certain conditions. This position will allow you to be exposed to the world of law enforcement and gain experience that you can then apply to furthering your education or advancing to other positions within the field. Having a formal education to be considered for employment is unnecessary. Still, it certainly would set you apart and act to your advantage, so look into what areas you should set your focus on.

Conditions and Training

To be eligible to be a sheriff, you first and foremost need to be a US citizen over 21 years old. On top of that, it is required for you to have your high school diploma or equivalency even to be considered. Further post-secondary education is not mandatory, but it is always beneficial to be the most competitive and appealing candidate, and second of all, to be considered for advancement in your job or change jobs for another law enforcement position. Having at least a two-year associate’s degree is highly recommended, since it will give you some preparation for the job to come, and it will also put you ahead of the pack. A criminal justice degree is the best area to focus your studies and to add to your convenience. You can pursue your studies online at places like Kaplan University and Liberty University Online. A bachelor’s degree would be even more impressive on your application and would open more doors for you. It would also put you at the top of the salary range, which is about $45,000-$69,000 of this very competitive field that isn’t expected to increase by much compared to other careers in criminal justice. Suppose you are accepted to be a sheriff. In that case, you will then be admitted to sheriff’s training at one of their numerous academies, where you will undergo studies in essential law enforcement, criminal investigations, and apprehending suspects. They will provide all the necessary preparation to be ready for the job.

Job Duties

In this role, you will enforce all laws in your region, whether they be criminal, traffic or administrative regulations. You will be in charge of keeping the people and their possessions in your area safe and work to deter any potential crimes from being committed. You will also work on criminal investigations to help apprehend criminals, and you could be put in contact with other law enforcement agents for support. A sheriff has to maintain peace and order in his jurisdiction, so daily activities could take on the mundane act of speeding tickets to the dangerous extreme of looking for offenders.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Question: What rank is higher than a sheriff?

Answer: A sheriff is the highest ranking officer in the department and is an elected official.

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Question : Is Sheriff higher than police?

Answer: A Sheriff can be regarded as the “CEO” of the Sheriff’s department.

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Question : What is a corporal sheriff?

Answer:  A corporal is a rank above a deputy or officer, t is the first promotion after joining the sheriff’s department.


Question : Is Sheriff higher than chief?

A sheriff is the highest law enforcement officer of a county. Whereas a police chief are municipal employees and serve the city.

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Question : What is the difference between Sheriff and Marshall?

A sheriff is the highest law enforcement officer of a county. Whereas a Marshall is an enforcement officer serving the court.

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Question : What does Deput mean?

A Deput take on the role of the sheriff when the sheriff is not present and has the same powers and authority as the sheriff when placed in charge.

Question : Who has more jurisdiction sheriff or police?

A sheriff can potentially have more jurisdiction as they often oversee multiple towns and cities within their county, whereas a police officer works under city limits.

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Question : What is the highest rank police officer?

Chief of Police

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Question : What states have sheriffs?

48 out of the 50 states have sheriffs, excluding Alaska and Connecticut which don’t have county governments.

Question : How Much a sheriff make a year?

$96,980- 108,940 with an average annual income of $102,205.


Question : Which State Offer the highest salaries for Sheriff’s? 

The highest paying jobs among the entire Sheriff  department of the United States were found in California and New Jersey

Question : What is the Average Deputy Sheriff Salary?

The salary that is given to the deputy Sheriff ranges from $ 30,000 to $ 74,000 per year. The average annual salary for this position is, therefore, $43,000