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What Are the Duties of the Undersheriff?

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An undersheriff, also called a deputy sheriff, is a senior level law enforcement professional. This individual performs a variety of tasks in an effort to support the sheriff of a county in the prevention of crimes and bringing perpetrators to justice. Employment within the occupation typically requires the possession of a four year degree within criminal justice, criminology or a related field of study. Additionally, those in the role must be in excellent physical condition, as extensive walking, standing and lifting may occur. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the average annual salary of these professionals was $65,540 in 2020.

Department Strategy

An undersheriff partners with a sheriff to develop the short- and long-term goals of the county’s sheriff’s department. Once these goals have been identified, he then develops and implements strategies aimed at achieving these goals. This may be accomplished by creating new policies and procedures regarding department operations. This may also require the undersheriff liaising with other county and municipal agencies such as the department of health.

An undersheriff also actively participates in the creation and administration of the sheriff’s department budget. This includes analyzing the needs of the department and weighing those needs with the available finances.

Criminal Apprehension

While an undersheriff typically does not patrol the jurisdiction as the law enforcement authority within a country,she may be required to apprehend suspects. This act may require extensive physical activity. It is not uncommon for an undersheriff to chase a perpetrator on foot. Additionally, he may have to physically restrain or subdue those who resist arrest.

This can be dangerous work. As a result, an undersheriff carries weapons such as a gun, nightstick and/or pepper spray. These tools are used in instances when extreme force is warranted.

Breadth of Knowledge

The role of an undersheriff is extremely varied. An individual in this position is expected be an expert in administering criminal justice. At the same time, he must also thrive within a business setting, as the operational success of the department rests on his shoulders. As such, it is incredibly important for this individual to be a stellar officer of the law, maintaining exceptional investigative skills, as well as have a detailed understanding of the laws that govern the county. Simultaneously, the undersheriff must have strong business acumen, excelling within the areas of accounting, operations and policy making.


KJ Henderson has more than a decade of HR and talent acquisition experience. He has held roles at a Fortune 100 investment bank, a media conglomerate and at one of NYC's largest executive staffing firms. He currently heads recruitment sourcing at a major movie studio. He read literature at Oxford.