According to the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office website, there are quite a few basic requirements in order to join the force. The minimum educational prerequisite is either a high school diploma or a GED. The applicant must also be a legal citizen and reside in the State of South Caroline. The candidate must possess a valid South Carolina’s driver’s license and have a good driving record, which normally means that there should be no accidents or tickets. The applicant must also pass a criminal background check. Good communication is also a must, both written and oral. Police officers must be able to speak with a multitude of different people and be clearly understood. And because all reports must be submitted before a shift is over, police officers must also be able to communicate clearly in writing. Because an officer might be required to testify in court of provide a deposition to be used in court, the ability to communicate effectively is compulsory (Job Description). Officers must also have the ability to react to whatever situation arises with a calm demeanor. They must be courteous and tactful, which requires them to set aside any personal prejudices they might have. When a crime occurs, it is essential to adequately analyze the situation in an objective manner, and then determine what action(s) need to be taken. This requires talking to potential witnesses, establishing the nature of the crime, taking ample notes, and treating everyone with respect (Job Description).
Good physical and mental health is also a basic requirement. Depending upon the situation that might occur, sheriff’s officers might be required to chase a suspect on foot. This requires stamina and strength. Sometimes, a suspect might attack or want to fight an officer, so the recruit must be able to physically defend himself without using excessive force (Job Description).
Because sheriffs are sometimes the first on the scene, officers are sometimes required to provide rescue and first aid services. This will oblige that the recruit have the ability to learn proper first aid techniques (Job Description).
Of course, an officer must be skilled in the care and use of firearms. Unfortunately, there are times when deadly force is a necessity. In those cases, the officer must have the ability to know how to shoot his gun in order to protect both himself and other officers. Proper maintenance of a firearm is of utmost importance so the officer should be aware of the steps necessary to keep a gun in good working order (Job Description).
Applicants are also required to “successfully complete the Basic Police Recruit School in Florida or receive a certificate of comparative compliance from the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission” (Job Description). This law enforcement class teaches firearms training, basic self defense classes, as well as constitutional laws and South Carolina State laws, necessary information for any law enforcement officer (Basic Recruit).
The Sumter County Sheriff’s Office also has a training division that new recruits are required to participate in. This training division lasts several weeks and prepares the new recruits for the 12-week Academy that is held in Columbia, SC. Classes include driving and firearms training along with information on legal matters, terrorism, and use of force. Each recruit will be pepper sprayed, which is usually not the favorite portion of training, but it is a requirement (Training). The Academy continues with the education of new recruits by offering additional classes in various state and federal laws and regulations. Recruits are also instructed in the standards set by the State of South Carolina for law enforcement officers. The training is very in-depth, even narrowly defining terms such as “emergency” and “non-emergency” so as to ensure that only the highest quality of individuals become law enforcement officers (SCCJA).
- Sumter County Sheriff’s Office. (n.d.). Retrieved from: http://www.sumtersheriff.org/employment.
- Sumter County Sheriff’s Office. (n.d.). Job Description. Retrieved from: http://www.sumtercountysheriff.org/insidescso/job_listing.php?jidx=2..
- Sumter County Sheriff’s Office. (n.d.). Training. Retrieved from: http://www.sumtersheriff.org/training.
- Where South Carolina law enforcement is defined. (n.d.). SCCJA South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy. Retrieved from: http://www.sccja.sc.gov/TrainingAct.html.