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Court officers in New York state protect justices, court employees and the public in courthouses, and they maintain order in court facilities. They can also execute bench warrants and make arrests. Court officer trainees must complete a 14-week law-enforcement training program at the New York State Court Officers Training Academy. Court officer trainees enter the Academy at Grade 14. After graduating from the Academy, trainees are certified as peace officers. After completing a mandatory two-year traineeship, court officers are promoted to Judicial Grade 18. As of 2014, the starting salary for Grade 14 was $39,771.
As of January 2014, the salary range for court officers in Grades 14 and 18 was between $39,771 and $67,473. Court officers who worked in the Metropolitan New York City area, which includes New York City and the counties of Nassau, Suffolk, Rockland and Westchester, received an additional $3,697 per year as a location pay differential, so a New York City-based court officer would have entered the training program earning $43,468. Court officer trainees who lived in Dutchess, Orange and Putnam counties received an additional $1,848 per year as a location pay differential, so a court officer who lived in one of these counties would have entered the training program earning $41,619.
Court officers receive benefits along with their salaries. They get 12 paid holidays; pre-tour prep leave time; 20 paid vacation days during their first year of employment and 27 paid vacation days by their seventh year of employment; health insurance; retirement benefits; a regular work schedule with few evening and weekend assignments; and an option to enroll in a deferred compensation plan. They also receive a uniform allowance.
To become a court officer trainee, you must be at least 18 years old, a U.S. citizen and a resident of New York state. You must also have a high school diploma or GED and a valid New York state driver's license. You must pass a written test; a medical, psychological and physical abilities test; and a background check. As of 2014, there was no maximum age limit for serving as a court officer in New York state. You must apply online and pay a $30 application fee.
During their time at the Academy, court officer trainees learn about criminal and civil procedure law, basic firearms, defensive tactics, arrest procedures, how and when to use deadly force, escorting prisoners, how and when to use a baton or pepper spray, and gang and terrorist intelligence. Trainees must pass assessments and tests and submit to daily physical fitness routines.
Assignments and Promotion Opportunities
While most court officers work in courtrooms, some are assigned to specialized units, such as the Special Response Team (SRT), Mobile Security Patrol or Command Center Operations. Court officers who work with these units spend their time outside of the courtroom. For example, court officers who work with the SRT help state police during critical events and specialized assignments. Court officers who pass a promotional exam can become a Court Officer-Sergeant, Court Officer-Lieutenant, Court Officer-Captain and/or Court Officer-Major. They can also become an assistant or deputy chief court officer or a chief court officer. Court officers are also eligible for promotions to the Court Officers Academy, Applicant Background Investigation Unit and the Department of Public Safety.
William Henderson has been writing for newspapers, magazines and journals for more than 15 years. He served as editor of the "New England Blade" and is a former contributor to "The Advocate." His work has also appeared on The Good Men Project, Life By Me and The Huffington Post.