Court Security Officer: Job Description, Duties and Requirements
A court security officer, sometimes called a bailiff or marshal, helps maintain peace in a courthouse and courtroom. The government generally employs these officers and requirements can vary based on the type of court.
A court security officer's main job is to keep the peace in a courthouse or courtroom. They are charged with ensuring that the judges and judicial staff, court employees and general public visiting the courthouse are safe. They may also be in charge of watching over a jury. They are, essentially, police officers who protect the people in a court.
Officers that work for federal courts are usually called U.S. Marshals. City, county or state governments may employ officers that work for state courts.
A court security officer is responsible for all security aspects of a courthouse, including ensuring that no weapons are brought into the courthouse and the public complies with building safety rules. Other job duties include watching doorways, managing metal detectors and roaming a courthouse's hallways to check for suspicious activity.
In a courtroom, the officer watches over the proceedings to ensure that all individuals are safe. This can include performing tasks such as handing papers to the judge, ejecting people from the courtroom and helping witnesses leave the stand.
Officers also ensure that jury members are not bothered by the public and that they are kept safe while working. They may also transport the jury to and from eating establishments while they are on duty and watch over the hotel where a jury stays overnight during a trial.
The requirements to become a court security officer are determined by the hiring agency. At the state level, typical requirements include being between 18- 21 years of age, a U.S. citizen and having at least a high school diploma. To become a federal U.S. Marshal, an individual must have at least a bachelor's degree. For either position, an individual must pass a background check and physical tests.
Many employers require that an individual have related experience, such as a police, military or security position. Officers can also receive on-the-job training either in the form of daily training or attending a training camp, which teaches legal procedures, safety methods and emergency response tactics.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the employment of correctional officers, including bailiffs, will increase by five percent between 2012 and 2022 (www.bls.gov). According to BLS data from 2012, bailiffs earned a median annual salary of $36,840.
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