About three-quarters (75%) of training academies had a minimum law enforcement experience requirement for full-time instructors. Among academies with a minimum experience requirement, the average was about 4 years. Overall, 34% of the academies required their full-time instructors to have an academic degree. Nearly all (98%) academies required their full-time instructors to be certified. Eighty percent of academies required full-time trainers to have a state-level certification, and 59% required certification as a subject-matter expert. A less common requirement was certification by the academy (32%).
About 6 in 7 recruits completed their basic training program and graduated from the academy.
The 2006 BJS Census of Law Enforcement Training Academies found that training programs for basic recruits lasted an average of 19 weeks, excluding field training. Topics with the most instruction time included firearms (a median of 60 hours), self-defense (51 hours), health and fitness (46 hours), patrol procedures (40 hours), investigations (40 hours), emergency vehicle operations (40 hours), criminal law (36 hours), and basic first aid (24 hours).
Females made up 14% of full-time sworn officers employed by sheriffs' offices in 2016. As of June 30, 2016, .9% of sheriffs were female, including about 11% of sheriffs in offices of 500 or more full-time-equivalent sworn officers. Among all sheriffs' offices, females held about 12% of first-line supervisory positions in 2016.
One difference between a sheriffs' office and police department is the jurisdiction that each type of agency covers. While both sheriffs' offices and police departments are law enforcement agencies, sheriffs' offices have countywide jurisdiction and police departments' authority is limited to specific cities, municipalities, towns, or villages. In addition, sheriffs' offices are generally empowered by the state to serve counties and independent cities, while police departments are established under municipal regulations. The head of a sheriffs' office is a sheriff who is usually an elected official. The head of a police department is usually the chief, who is typically appointed by a government entity, such as mayor, city manager, or a commissioner.