Bailiffs provide security and maintain order in a court of law. They use available technology to screen people entering the courthouse for weapons and other prohibited items. Bailiffs provide security to judges, court personnel and the jury, which includes preventing jury tampering. Bailiffs also patrol the courtroom and transport prisoners and keep them secure during trial.
Duties and responsibilities
- Screen courthouse visitors using magnetometers and other technological devices
- Collect and store legal weapons or prohibited items, like cellphones, found during screening
- Detain or arrest those carrying illegal weapons or other contraband, depending on level of authority
- Patrol interior and exterior of the courthouse
- Check courtroom for security and cleanliness
- Enforce courtroom rules and maintain order during court proceedings
- Announce entrance of judge
- Escort prisoners to and from the courthouse and maintain custody during proceedings
- Handle evidence and exhibits during trial according to procedure and judge's instructions
- Provide security for jury on site and protective escort during mid-trial excursions off site
- Monitor jury and prevent any outside influence or tampering
- Safely escort judges, witnesses and other court personnel to proceedings
- Keep courtroom stocked with necessary supplies such as notepads and pencils
- Maintain court docket
Skills and knowledge
AVERAGE WORKING HOURS
Some nights and weekends
Bailiffs work for local, state and federal government courthouses. Most are employed full time, but hours may vary according to when court is in session. You may have to work some nights and weekends, depending on how full the docket is.
While some patrolling and security duties will take place outdoors, most bailiffs will spend their time inside the courthouse. The job requires long periods of standing and maintaining alertness.
Annual salary estimates are based on percentile wage data collected through the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey of US workers.
Criminal justice certification
Bailiff positions typically only require a high school diploma, but an age limit of 18 or 21 may be imposed. A certification or associate's degree in criminal justice can give you an edge over other candidates. Larger courts in some jurisdictions, particularly on the federal level, may require a bachelor's degree in criminal justice or a related field.
Bailiffs usually train at a police academy to gain knowledge of firearms, self-defence, regulations, security protocols and other related subjects. You will also receive training on the job.
Be prepared to submit to a background check, drug test and civil service test. Check with the International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training (IADLEST) for information on requirements for bailiffs in your area.
There is room for advancement within the bailiff profession, which often begins with part-time or entry-level positions in lower courts. Obtaining additional training and education will make you a good candidate for jobs with more hours, responsibility and salary. Relocation may be necessary to take advantage of available positions in busier and higher-level courts.
With a criminal justice degree and bailiff experience, you could transition to related careers with higher pay potential, like police officer or crime scene investigator.