The job of a code enforcement officer is an important part of the effort to provide a safe and healthy environment for the public. There are specific regulations and statutes a code enforcement officer needs to learn in order to perform their duties, and these will depend on the size and regulatory scope of the governmental entity they work for.
A city code enforcement department generally categorizes their enforcement officer positions for delegating purposes. For instance, the city of Del Mar, California, has two levels of code enforcement officers. Level I positions are considered entry-level jobs that are part of the city planning department functions. This position has technical aspects that are necessary for field inspections and interfacing with businesses and private citizens. Level II officers will be involved with more complex zoning and public safety code issues that require more advanced administrative qualities.
Some code enforcement officer jobs require specific knowledge and experience related to the environment in which they work. The city of Kiawah Island, South Carolina, deals with basic code enforcement issues, such as zoning violations and business licensing. An officer working in this jurisdiction will also be required to be familiar with public issues involving beach activities. Public safety and health issues involving wastewater, trash disposal and other general environmental concerns in this aspect will require the code enforcement officer to be familiar with their community.
A code enforcement officer employed by the city of Golden, Colorado, works under the auspices of the police department. This is true in many cities across the nation, because citation issuance and conflict resolution are often part of the officer’s daily duties. This includes noise abatement requests that occur over excessive construction site activity or loud music, for example. Animal control will be included in the position for picking up stray animals or mediating neighbor disputes over aggressive animals.
Education and Background
The background requirements to become a code enforcement officer vary among state and local agencies and departments. A minimum of a high school diploma or GED is necessary in all cases, and a bachelor’s degree in public administration or structural theory may be a requirement. A related background in a construction trade is appropriate, as is experience in any enforcement job, such as police work or health department experience.
National salary averages as of May 2010 reveal a code enforcement officer pay scale ranged between $22,000 and $33,000 per year in a study of larger metropolitan areas such as Chicago, Houston, Dallas and Miami. Accordingly, smaller governmental departments would offer lower salaries, depending on the scope of the duties for a code enforcement officer.