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The requirements to become a bailiff in the United States are different for each state and sometimes vary from county to county. Local law enforcement agencies can provide specific details for requirements for various locations, but requirements generally include a minimum of a high school diploma or equivalent; an associate’s degree or a degree in criminal justice or law enforcement isn't necessarily required, but many hiring agencies prefer it.
A general knowledge of the court system and methods of operations is highly desirable. This knowledge can be obtained through schooling or experience working in a courthouse or police station. Volunteering at law enforcement agencies to learn the basics of how the court system works is another option to consider if you want to become a bailiff.
A bailiff is in charge of keeping the courtroom in order. To become a bailiff, it is important to learn how to project an image of respectful authority in dealing with defendants, attorneys and courtroom spectators. Reading books on positive image projection also can be helpful. Studying rules of decorum and behavior that are enforced by the bailiff might be recommended, as bailiffs generally are required to screen people for weapons and advise them on rules of conduct regarding attire and behavior and bringing refreshments into the chambers.
Bailiffs also can be required to perform emergency medical tasks as well. Taking courses in CPR and first aid can be very helpful; if medical assistance is required by someone in the courtroom, the bailiff is depended upon to readily assist the distressed person and contact the appropriate personnel with an accurate assessment of the situation.
Security training is very important for those wanting to become a bailiff. If a jury is present, for example, the bailiff's job includes escorting them in and out of the courtroom, bringing them meals and accompanying them to restaurants. If a jury is sequestered, the bailiff escorts them to and from the hotel and ensures their security and adherence to rules regarding public contact and exposure to media sources.
Organization and attention to detail are important qualities needed to become a bailiff. When a defendant is brought into or leaves the courtroom, the bailiff is the escort. If the defendant must be taken to another location, the bailiff is in charge of transport. Swearing in witnesses and keeping track of physical evidence is also the responsibility of the bailiff.
Finally, learning a modicum of decorum won't hurt when trying to become a bailiff. The judge depends on the bailiff for comfort and general assistance. He or she is expected to keep water pitchers filled, hearing schedules posted and supply levels maintained. Before the judge’s entrance to the courtroom is announced, the bailiff should be certain that the courtroom is ready to conduct legal proceedings with no interruptions or glitches.
In countries other than the United States, requirements to become a bailiff—and the job descriptions—vary greatly. In some countries, a bailiff is the same as a police officer or sheriff and relevant education and training are necessary. Other nations have bailiffs in private corporations, employ them in specific areas of government or they are delegated to collect taxes.
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