Court officers, also known as bailiffs or court security officers, ensure courtroom proceedings remain safe and orderly. They must pass law enforcement courses, including firearms training, and learn criminal and civil laws, arrest procedures, use of deadly force, prisoner management and pepper spray, baton and stun gun use. Some court officers work for the clerk of courts and others work for the sheriff's department or the US Marshals Service.
Bailiffs have administrative responsibilities, such as keeping time at the judge's request, swearing in witnesses, relaying messages from jurors to the court, collecting evidence from legal staff, operating audio and visual equipment and issuing warrants. They prepare the courtroom for hearings and sessions and ensure courtrooms have adequate seating, paper supplies and electronic equipment. Bailiffs escort juries and prisoners to the courtroom, introduce judges and announce court is in session.
Court security officers make sure courtrooms are safe for judges, spectators, legal staff, jury members, claimants and defendants. They often monitor metal detectors before court is in session and effectively clear courtrooms when emergencies or dangerous situations arise. Court officers use nonlethal enforcers and firearms as a last resort to restore order when absolutely necessary.
Bang for the Buck
In 2013, the median annual wage for bailiffs was $37,080, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The lowest 10 percent earned less than 19,260 per year and the highest 10 percent earned more than $67,700.