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Also known as: Court Official, County Court Bailiff, Certified Bailiff, Enforcement Officer, Courthouse Security Officer, Deputy Bailiff, Court Security Officer, Court Bailiff, Legal Officer, Court Officer.
A bailiff in the United States is a peace officer of the court providing security for judges, juries, plaintiffs and defendants. They can be a certain type of correctional officer, 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.
First and foremost, a bailiff 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, and even restraining them if necessary.
Bailiffs keep the public and the jurors from having contact, and will 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 swear in witnesses, as well as keep up with the important files and paperwork that the judge may need. If there is a threat, the bailiff will search for guns and bombs that may be hidden in the courtroom. They are the first line of defence between everyone that is in a court proceeding and those meaning to do any harm.
Some of the main duties of a bailiff include:
A bailiff typically works inside the courthouse to provide security for all inside. While the courtroom is where a bailiff will spend the majority of his or her time, they may also be in the public sector at times, when escorting jurors or protecting them at their hotel during a sequester.
To become a bailiff, a person needs at minimum a high school diploma, but would be wise to complete either a two year vocational diploma or a four year university degree. Courses in criminal justice, criminology, law enforcement and civil rights all provide an excellent and relevant background for working as a bailiff. After obtaining employment, a bailiff will most likely complete a formal training program regulated by the state or federal government.
A bailiff needs to keep up with safety regulations and disarmament tactics, and may attend firearm training classes, as well as learn how to use pepper spray. CPR and first aid training is an asset as well, in order to take care of any emergency situations that may arise. A bailiff needs to be physically fit, pass a background check, and have a clear criminal record.