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Difference between deputy sheriff and police officer?

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  • Difference between deputy sheriff and police officer?

    Hi, I'm a newb and I recently finished the written and physical exams to hopefully launch a career in law enforcement. I am 22 and just graduated from college. Now I'm waiting to take the PHQ. I currently have 2 areas in which I can hopefully enter; either deputy sheriff I, or police officer. My questions is what is the difference, i.e pay scale, duties, jurisdictions, rank? Any info would be much appreciated, and I have the greatest respect for our sworn officers. Thanks!

  • #2
    Originally posted by nissandriver View Post
    Hi, I'm a newb and I recently finished the written and physical exams to hopefully launch a career in law enforcement. I am 22 and just graduated from college. Now I'm waiting to take the PHQ. I currently have 2 areas in which I can hopefully enter; either deputy sheriff I, or police officer. My questions is what is the difference, i.e pay scale, duties, jurisdictions, rank? Any info would be much appreciated, and I have the greatest respect for our sworn officers. Thanks!
    there is no difference. they are all peace officers of the state of california. they go through all the same academy training. pay scales are usually the same. deputy sheriffs are with a county, while police officers are with a city. technically deputy sheriffs and police officers have statewide peace officer powers, but they usually stay within their city or county. ranks are also the same. generally a large sheriff's department (ie. LASD w/ chief, commander, assistant sheriff, deputy sheriff, etc) will have more ranks compared to a small city police department (lt, capt, deputy chief, chief). The Sheriff is politically appointed, while the police chief is appointed by the mayor. sheriff's dept not only do patrol, but work corrections in jails and in the courts. police depts don't do that. both large city PDs and SOs have all the same units (k9, motors, swat, etc). most SOs start new guys in jails, but this is not all SOs.

    take whatever comes first.

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    • #3
      And to add to that, in CA sheriff's depts patrol unincorporated areas and contract cities (cities w/o their own PD), while municipal police depts patrol within city limits.

      There are numerous other specialized district PDs that have overlapping jurisdiction in these areas, for example, LA County Police, LAXPD, Port PD, University PDs, etc.

      But the bottom line is that they're all peace officers with police power statewide.
      Focused Recruit

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      • #4
        thanks for the input guys

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        • #5
          The difference is that Sheriffs typically have a little more power than Officers. I know in Virginia that Sheriffs state wide powers regardless of what city or county they are in. Where as officers only have powers in that City of which they work. Also our State Police are sworn in as Sheriffs so as to have powers any where in the state. But being a Police officer is cooler.
          "No battle plan survives contact with the enemy"

          Helmuth Karl Bernhard Graf von Moltke
          German Generalfieldmarshall

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          • #6
            Interesting how it's done back east!

            Since the OP is in CA, we should point out that sheriffs, police officers, and various state investigators (ABC, DOJ, etc) here have the same statewide police authority via Penal Code 830 etc. No real hierarchy, only difference is the primary areas of responsibility.
            Focused Recruit

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            • #7
              where I work... Small city's contract with Sheriff Dept thus Sheriff Deputy's double as city cops in those places, basically do everything a city cop would do, even out int he country.. just with a bigger jurisdiction, and a few more dutys
              "What the problem is?"

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              • #8
                It depends on where your at. For instance in my city where I work, I'm a city Officer. Our Sheriff Dept. has parish wide (county) jurisdiction, however, in most cities to include mine in my parish, they do NOT answer calls in the cities, they are discouraged by the sheriff from conducting traffic stops and such. They can but it has to be a gross violation that would endanger lives otherwise they have alot of explaining to do. When they catch a shoplifter in a stop and rob by them being in the right place at the right time (as has happened) they hold them and call us instead of taking care of it. The only time you see them in my city is going to or from the parish jail and their dept. which is located 1 block away from our city jail and HQ. They only patrol the rural areas that are not incorporated.

                To make you laugh, and this actually happened I swear I'm not lying. They called our PD one night to report that they had a fight in their jail, and wanted our PD to come and break it up The shift sergeant hung up the phone on them after telling them the last time he checked our city was inside their jurisdiction. Their reasoning was because the parish jail was inside the city limits, LOL The other day, they called the PD because over at the court house annex building where they are security at the metal detectors, they had a drunk guy raising hell and when they told him to leave he wouldn't, so they called us. I swear this is the truth, I know huh, WTF!
                So outside the limits we can only arrest for felonious activity, but when I'm off duty and outside the city limits, the last thing I want to do is write a ticket or arrest someone anyways plus I live in the city and don't really go anywhere anyway, I get tired of all the neighbors calling me before 911 so I'm thinking of moving to where I DON'T have jurisdiction Working in the city here is where the jive all happens, this is where the fun is, the sheriff dept's patrol beat is BORING as hell, they get action, here and there, but most days after a certain time, thye just sit and count cricket churps, LOL We handle all our own calls here in the city, from minor disturbances to murder, they don't get involved at all in the cities in my parish (county).
                Ignored: Towncop, Pulicords, TacoMac, Ten08

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                • #9
                  It depends on what county you work for. I am a deputy sheriff that is currently assigned to the road patrol division. We don't have a county police force so we are technically the police.
                  ""Liberals are liberal until something happens to them or someone they love, then they want the rules to change"

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                  • #10
                    In PA deputy sheriffs don’t have statuary arrest authority. In many circumstances a deputy sheriff has some of the same powers as a private citizen only. Deputies are certified differently from other law enforcement officers (municipal, county, state, capital, airport, conservation, bridge, transit, college & university, park rangers, public housing officers, etc), even though many deputies have both. Deputies don’t train at a police academy to get certified, but there is one dedicated sheriff academy. There is a Bill that is trying to change this and make sheriff certification the same as a police officer’s, but most likely it will get shot down because the FOP and State Police strongly object to it.

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                    • #11
                      In very rural areas, (Montana, Wyoming, etc) some people laugh at city cops and don't recognize their authority. However, they completely recognize the Sheriff there since the Sheriff is elected by the people and not appointed by one or a few like a Chief of Police.

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                      • #12
                        In CA, having been a police officer and now a Deputy, I can tell you that the only difference is that as a Deputy, my back up seems to be a whole lot farther away. And, if you **** off the Sheriff, you can get stuck in Court Services for 10 years!

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                        • #13
                          NJ all cops have the same authority (locals, county, prosecutors', sheriffs, etc.) Most people don't realize this and someone actually wanted to complain that a cop from their town was two towns over locking a ****bag up! oh well, stay safe.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Flying Pig View Post
                            In CA, having been a police officer and now a Deputy, I can tell you that the only difference is that as a Deputy, my back up seems to be a whole lot farther away.
                            This is probably the best post on these boards. It's the same way here in Alabama

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Flying Pig View Post
                              In CA, having been a police officer and now a Deputy, I can tell you that the only difference is that as a Deputy, my back up seems to be a whole lot farther away. And, if you **** off the Sheriff, you can get stuck in Court Services for 10 years!
                              I second that!!!

                              Also, I think the deputy on patrol, if he's done the jail-time, has a great deal of repoire already built with the criminal element. It's a lot harder to lie to me about your name/parole status/criminal history, when I watched you try to fight a case for a year on my module. Deputies will gain more IPC skills in a shorter period of time. However, in all honesty, I can't say if it's worth the jail-time. Talk about a boring career point.

                              Also, in the county I work, Deputies don't do traffic investigations or DUI arrests, as all traffic is handled by CHP.

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