What does a Bailiff do?

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What is a Bailiff?

Bailiffs in the United States are peace officers of the court providing security for judges, juries, plaintiffs and defendants. They can be various types of correctional officers such as a deputy, marshal, or constable. Their duties can vary depending on what court they are in and even by state regulations. The position of a bailiff is long-standing in history. It was a title of power and dignity, as a protector and minor court official. They had power in medieval England where they were the lord of the manor's protector. These "bailiffs of manors" were more than muscle, they were rent and fine collectors and had estate lands and buildings to oversee. Bailiffs back in those days were fine collectors, writ executors, and process servers as well as the court protection.

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What does a Bailiff do?

First and foremost, he/she works to provide protection for the court, especially the judge. They will enforce all the policies of the court and will carry out orders of the judge. If a judge needs someone removed from the courtroom, it is their job to enforce that by seeing the person out, even restraining them if necessary. They keep the public and the jurors from having contact, and can escort the jury whenever they are moving from place to place. They keep order throughout the proceedings, and help handle evidence that needs to be dealt with securely. They can swear in witnesses, as well as keep up with the important files and supplies that the judge may need. If there is a threat, he/she is the one that searches for guns and bombs that may be hidden in the courtroom. They are the first line of defense between everyone that is in a court proceeding and those meaning to do them harm. Some of the main key points to the job description include:

  • Keeping court disruptions to a minimum, through removal or arrest
  • Guarding jurors that are sequestered in hotels overnight
  • Removing of firearms or other harmful devices from the courtroom or from people in the courtroom
  • Providing security or medical emergency services
  • Keeping the judge fully supplied with his files and needed paperwork
  • Apprising the jurors, the courtroom watchers, and others inside the courtroom of announcements.
  • Preventing jurors from contacting the public, escorting them as needed, and keeping them safe from harm

How to become a Bailiff

To become one in a courtroom setting, a person needs a GED or high school diploma at the very least. There can be additional training involved, including a possible two or four year college or a policy academy. Vocational schools can also provide additional education. Any background in law enforcement or criminal justice is helpful. Also helpful, CPR and first aid training to take care of emergency situations that may arise. Lastly, there can be formal training programs for a bailiff from state or federal government agencies. These will all vary by the state and locality that you reside in, always check with agencies for the regulations in your state or country.

This type of court official should keep up with safety regulations and disarmament tactics, such as how to use pepper spray. They'll need to be physically fit and pass a background check, being free of any criminal records. Those that are team-orientated and have a good communication background do well in this field. There will be a drug test and a credit check to make sure that the applicant is not impaired or dealing with nefarious substances. There cannot be any shady transactions in the banking logs or transactions that look suspect. A bailiff is held to a high standard and must be of the highest ethics.

If an applicant is going to get a two or a four year degree at a higher education learning facility such as a college or university, there are some classes and degrees better suited to a life as a court official. These type of degrees give a good broad-spectrum background to various law and correctional terms that may be needed. Educational studies that are helpful include: - Criminology - Corrections - Law Enforcement - Political Science - Criminal Justice - Security Studies

What is the workplace of a Bailiff like?

A bailiff works inside the courthouse and legal system to provide security for all inside. While the courtroom is where they'll spend the majority of their time, they may be in the public sector more often when they are escorting jurors or protecting them at their hotel during a sequester. Whenever a court official is needed for protection, a bailiff is typically the one sent, so the workplace may vary on occasion during these special times. A bailiff may also be known as a security officer, court security officer, court officer, deputy sheriff, or a deputy bailiff. Some careers that are similar to being this in the workplace include: - Correctional officer - Crossing Guard - Sheriff - Security Guard