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How to Become a Deputy Sheriff in Wisconsin

Dane County Sheriff Department Jobs

Almost half a million people live in Dane County, Wisconsin. The county sheriff’s office is tasked with protecting lives and property within this 1,200-square mile area, which includes the state capitol, Madison. There are more than 425 sworn personnel within the county sheriff’s department. As of March 2013, the sheriff’s website states that the department is recruiting deputies to fill Dane County Deputy Sheriff jobs. The department typically hires between 20 and 30 deputy sheriffs a year.

Potential duties for a Dane County Deputy Sheriff include patrol or traffic duty, duty at the county jail, court bailiff duty, or crime investigation. New deputies start out by working at the jail, but may also be selected to serve on special teams, such as the dive rescue team, bomb squad, tactical response team, or hostage negotiation team. They may also elect to transfer to the patrol division after having gained several years of experience.

This guide will tell you how to become a Dane County Sheriff’s Deputy in five steps:

  1. Meet basic eligibility requirements
  2. Pass a written test and panel interview process
  3. Undergo a background check
  4. Pass psychological, medical, and drug screening tests
  5. Attend a state-certified police academy

Step 1.  Meet the Basic Qualifications for Dane County Deputy Sheriff Candidacy

Before applying for a Dane County Deputy Sheriff’s job, you must meet certain basic eligibility requirements.  You have to have:

  • A high school diploma or GED equivalent, plus
  • A 2-year college degree or 60 college credits
  • U.S. citizenship, at least by the time you’re appointed
  • At least 2 years of full time school, work experience, or military service
  • A valid Wisconsin driver’s license at appointment
  • A record free of felony or domestic violence convictions
  • Be at least 21 at appointment

You can find the Dane County deputy sheriff’s application on the sheriff’s website. Once it’s completed, you must mail or hand deliver it to the Dane County Employee Relations office in Madison. The application requires you to list your education, employment history (including military service and an account of any gaps between employers), your driving record, any prior convictions, any drug use and a record of your residences.

The application also asks for four character references and a written statement of your qualifications. You will be asked to also include supporting documents, such as your birth certificate, school or work records, your Social Security number, and proof of any military service. A records check will be performed and compared to the information you supplied in your application.

Step 2. Pass Written Test and Panel Interview

If your application is accepted, you will be mailed a notification that will tell you the date, time and location of the next step in the application process, the written exam. A study guide is available on the sheriff’s website to help you prepare for the written test; information about the study guide will also be included in the notification letter. The written test measures things such as basic reading, writing and math skills; emotional and interpersonal skills; practical skills; and how well applicants handle stress and responsibility.

If you pass the written test with a top score, you will invited to attend a panel interview via mail or telephone. You will be informed of the date, time and location for the interview, which will be conducted by a panel of sheriff’s office personnel. During the interview, you will be asked questions designed to reveal whether your skills and personal qualities make you a good fit for a deputy sheriff’s job. If you pass the oral interview, you will be ranked according to your combined written and oral scores.

Step 3. Pass the Background Investigation

If you advance, you will next be invited to attend a background check conducted by a sheriff’s office investigator. The investigator will examine your application, character and background. You will meet with the investigator and be expected to provide all required documentation, as well as answer any questions he or she may ask about your background, application, character or experience.

Step 4. Pass Psychological, Medical and Drug Screening Tests

If you pass the background check, you will be asked to undergo a thorough medical and psychological evaluation. The medical evaluation will include a drug screening test. You may also possibly be required to complete a second, follow up psychological interview.

Step 5. Attend Dane County Deputy Sheriff Training

If you are hired as a Dane County Deputy Sheriff, your next step will be to attend the state police academy for 14 -16 weeks. Academy training will include courses that will train you in the responsible use of force, ethics, crisis management and other topics relevant to your work. You will also learn the correct use of firearms, how to drive emergency vehicles, self-defense, and physical fitness.

As of March 2013, the starting salary posted for a Dane County Deputy Sheriff is $40,287 annually.

Waukesha County Sheriff Department Jobs

This sheriff’s department is the third largest in the state and employs 330 personnel to serve the nearly 400,000 citizens of Waukesha County. Waukesha County deputy sheriffs may serve on patrol, court services and investigation divisions. Deputy sheriffs in this department also have the option to train for many specialized units, such as the SWAT team, homicide unit, motorcycle unit, dignitary visitation details, forensic analysis, arson investigation and internet predator investigation unit, and the dive unit, among others. The sheriff’s website states that the department is a busy one: it responds to more than a half million service requests per year.

Learning how to become a Waukesha County Sheriff’s Deputy involves these five steps:

  1. Meet basic eligibility requirements
  2. Pass a written test, a physical fitness test and an interview process
  3. Undergo a background check
  4. Pass polygraph, psychological, medical, and drug screening tests
  5. Attend police academy

Step 1.  Meet the Basic Qualifications for Waukesha County Deputy Sheriff Candidacy

The first step in qualifying for Waukesha County Deputy Sheriff’s jobs is meeting the basic eligibility requirements.  You will need:

  • A high school diploma or GED, plus
  • At least 60 college credits
  • U.S. citizenship
  • Good communication skills, both written and verbal
  • A valid Wisconsin driver’s license and a good driving record
  • A record free of felony convictions
  • To be at least 21
  • To be able to work evenings, weekends and holidays
  • Sound judgment and a responsible character
  • To be physically fit
  • To be eligible for certification by the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Standards Board
  • To handle stressful situations quickly and well

The job application process in this county is conducted online. You can go to the Waukesha County Job Opportunities Page to access application forms for jobs. You will first need to create an online account. Note also that incomplete job applications may be rejected.

If deputy sheriff jobs are not available at the time, you can fill out a job interest card. The job interest card is valid for up to 11 months; if a deputy sheriff’s job comes available in that time, you will be notified via email.

Step 2. Pass Written Test, Physical Fitness Test and Interview

If your application is accepted, you will be notified via email of the form and/or date, time and location of your civil service exam. Some exams may be administered online. The exam may be written, in the form of multiple choice questions or essay questions, or it may be in the form of an oral examination. The exam may assess your reading, writing and math skills, your past training and experience, and/or your decision-making skills.

If you advance past the written exam, you will also be required to undergo a physical fitness test. The test recreates likely physical tasks a deputy sheriff must complete. The test, therefore, simulates K-9 tracking, a challenging obstacle run and a simulated gun hold. Candidates will complete each portion of the test wearing a 13-pound weighted vest to recreate the weight of an officer’s duty belt.

Successful candidates must:

  • Walk across a mile of hilly terrain, carrying a simulated shotgun, within 19 minutes and 18 seconds
  • Complete a stair climb and 6-foot-wall climb; navigate guard rail and duck-under obstacles; weave through a 15-cone obstacle course, and drag a 165-pound dummy for 15 feet, within 3 minutes and 25 seconds
  • Hold a simulated gun above a fixed point for 2 minutes

An orientation and preparation guide is available on the sheriff’s department website to help candidates prepare for the physical fitness test.  Candidates must pass all portions of the test in order to continue the application process, and are advised to prepare in advance.

If you pass the physical test, you will be invited to an oral interview. It might be helpful to prepare in advance for likely hiring questions, such as:

  • Your goals
  • Your qualifications
  • Your knowledge of  laws applicable to police work
  • Questions about your education or work history

Step 3. Pass the Background Investigation

If you make it past the written test, the physical test and the oral interview, the next step in the hiring process is a background check. You will be required to produce documentation such as your birth certificate, driver’s license, Social Security card, transcripts and/or diplomas from all schools you have attended, three letters of reference, military records, if any, and a photo of yourself.

You will also be required to fill out a background worksheet listing your:

  • personal information
  • family information
  • past employers
  • military service
  • hobbies and club memberships
  • driving record
  • drug and alcohol use
  • court record and/or convictions
  • educational history
  • list of residences where you have lived
  • financial records, including a credit history

Step 4. Pass Polygraph, Psychological, Medical and Drug Screening Tests

If you pass the background check, you will then be required to undergo a polygraph test and a psychological and medical evaluation. You will also be required to pass a drug screening test.

Step 5. Attend Waukesha County Deputy Sheriff Training

If you make it to the end of the application process, you will be hired as a deputy sheriff on a provisional basis. You will then start a year-long probationary period, during which you will be required to complete 13 weeks of basic officer training at a law enforcement training facility or technical college. During this time, you will receive classroom training, firearms and self-defense training and driver’s training. You will be expected to pass all these courses.

As of March 2013, the sheriff’s website lists the starting salary for a Waukesha County Deputy Sheriff at $19.12 an hour, not counting overtime.

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