Sheriff Officer Training Standards

This document is provided to assist persons considering a career as a Sheriff Officer. The skills and knowledge areas outlined below are usually obtained though formal training acquired before being considered for a Sheriff Officer position. Demonstrating these skills and knowledge are part of the recruitment process for new officers.

Describe the components of both the federal and provincial Criminal Justice systems

  • Describe the laws, acts, policies and regulations governing the roles and responsibilities of a Sheriff Officer.
  • Define the acts that apply to the workplace of Sheriff Services:
    • Occupational Health and Safety Act of Nova Scotia
    • Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPOP) of Nova Scotia
    • Labour Standards Code of Nova Scotia
    • Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (Canada)
    • Human Rights Act of Nova Scotia
    • Criminal Code of Canada
    • Court Security Act of Nova Scotia
    • Corrections Services Act of Nova Scotia
    • Civil Procedure Rules – Courts of Nova Scotia
  • Identify the various parts of the Criminal Code and how to look up definitions and sections of the code.
  • Describe the Courts of Nova Scotia (
  • Describe and demonstrate arrest procedures.
  • Describe common offences that may be encountered by a Sheriff Officer.
  • Describe court processes and sentencing options .
  • Outline current events impacting Sheriff Services today.

Explain the importance of ethical and professional behaviour

  • Explain the definition of ethics as it pertains to Sheriff Services.
  • Discuss the ethical dilemmas facing Sheriff Officers.
  • Indicate the barriers to making ethical decisions and costs of unethical behaviour.
  • Express the importance of maintaining confidentiality of prisoners and information.
  • Outline the elements of a Code of Conduct.
  • Express the negative effects of bullying and harassment in the workplace.
  • Explain the importance of and issues pertaining to Human Rights in the workplace.
  • Explain the value of cultural diversity in the workplace.
  • Explain the importance of maintaining respectful relationships.

Define the roles and responsibilities of a Sheriff Officer

  • Describe the environment in which a Sheriff Officer works.
  • Discuss how policy, procedures, and directives impact the Sheriff workplace (facility, transportation of prisoners and service of documents in the community).
  • Describe the roles and authorities of a peace (Sheriff) officer.
  • Describe the partnership with other justice partners and outside agencies (Corrections, Judiciary, Court Administration, police).
  • Explain the dangers of complacency and importance of maintaining routine operations.
  • Explain the steps to take when conducting area and person searches.
  • Explain the importance of proper use of communication devices (i.e. radio, intercoms).
  • Identify procedures for fire and medical emergencies.
  • Explain procedures with respect to preservation of evidence seized in a search.
  • Demonstrate respectful, appropriate professional behaviour and effective interpersonal activities with others.
  • Describe the risk and threat assessment process.

Demonstrate the skills necessary for effective written communication

  • Demonstrate basic skills in grammar, punctuation and spelling.
  • Demonstrate ability to compose reports in a factual, clear, legible and concise manner.
  • Demonstrate proper use and retention of notebooks.
  • Identify types of forms and documents used in a court facility.
  • Discuss the importance of documentation.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy policy (FOIPOP).

Demonstrate effective verbal communication skills

  • Describe the elements of effective communication.
  • Explain the positive and negative effects of styles of communication.
  • Demonstrate effective communication skills including reading, writing, speaking, listening and non-verbal methods.
  • Utilize effective verbal intervention skills while engaging with difficult prisoners and clients.
  • Describe the positive effects of relationship building.
  • Demonstrate the ability to clearly verbalize instructions.

Demonstrate conflict/crisis intervention skills

  • Demonstrate the non-violent crisis skills required to intervene in conflict situations.
  • Identify sources and dynamics of conflict management.
  • Demonstrate effective decision making and problem solving skills.
  • Demonstrate ability to diffuse a potential crisis.
  • Explain the effective use of authority.
  • Demonstrate skills to effectively disapprove of inappropriate behaviour.
  • Demonstrate proper intervention strategies in dealing with a potential suicidal individual.

Demonstrate the various strategies in dealing with prisoner/client behavior and activities

  • Describe the dynamics that affect prisoner population.
  • Illustrate the importance of recognizing cultural differences.
  • Recognize manipulative techniques.
  • Recognize the dynamics of group mentality and gangs.
  • Demonstrate basic understanding of human psychology.
  • Explain the specific risks and needs of female offenders and young persons.
  • Demonstrate ability to recognize the signs of a mentally ill prisoner.
  • Demonstrate ability to apply appropriate responses to specific behaviors of the mentally ill prisoner.
  • Demonstrate ability to identify prisoner behaviour that is out of the norm.

Demonstrate understanding of the importance of wellness strategies to deal with occupational stress

  • Discuss the unique stressors that Sheriff work presents.
  • Identify stressors and stress reduction techniques to minimize the effects of stress.
  • Identify positive physical and mental coping strategies.

Application of use of force tactics and procedures

  • Explain the underlying philosophy of the National Use of Force Framework/Model.
  • Demonstrate National Use of Force appropriate responses.
  • Explain the concept of legal articulation.
  • Demonstrate proper use of restraint equipment and control tactics.
  • Demonstrate proper application of escape holds.
  • Demonstrate correct person search protocols.
  • Outline the applicable sections of the Criminal Code in relation to use of force – (specifically Sections 2, 25, 26 and 27).

Fleet vehicle operations

  • Describe and demonstrate appropriate fleet vehicle operations.
  • Describe a pre-operation fleet vehicle inspection and search.
  • Describe what should occur in the event of an emergency.
  • Describe procedures involved in preparing prisoners for transport.