Law Enforcement Careers

For many Law Enforcement personnel, one of the best rewards of working in a department as big as The Santa Clara Sheriff’s Office is the fact that they can do many jobs during the course of their career.  It is possible to move from division to division, learning new skills in each assignment.


    Sheriff Rank Path
    Sheriff Rank Path

    Each year, the Sheriff’s Office, Custody Bureau receives and books about 65,000 persons. Most of those booked are cited and released or post bail on their charges. As a Sheriff's Correctional Deputy, you will be responsible for maintaining order and security of inmates within the Main Jail and Elmwood Correctional Facility. Additional assignments include the Custody Alternative Sentencing Unit (CASU), Classification Unit, Programs Unit, Emergency Response Team and Visitation Unit.

    Main Jail Facility

    The Main Jail Facility, a third-generation correctional facility, uses the "direct supervision" inmate management model and is designed to house up to 919 inmates.  Direct supervision is a concept that combines architectural design, specialized staff training, and an inmate management system based upon positive behavior.  In this environment, one officer oversees a locked "module" or dormitory with up to 64 inmates. There are over 360 badge and professional staff assigned to the Main Jail Facility.

    Elmwood Correctional Facility

    Elmwood Correctional Complex in Milpitas provides care, housing, and retention of approximately 2,000 inmates. Although the Elmwood site only houses minimum and medium security male inmates, the women's facility at Elmwood houses all security levels.  The Elmwood buildings vary in shape and size, some designed for indirect supervision of inmates, others for direct supervision. Many are military style barracks for minimum-security inmates.  There are over 400 badge and professional staff assigned to the Elmwood Correctional Facility.

    Additional Assignments

    In additional to providing safe housing to people in custody, the Custody Bureau provides a variety of programs and services.  Custody programs are currently implemented within a hybrid system consisting of in-person and remote learning.  The Custody Bureau also works with local community colleges to bring vocational services to the facilities.  There are over 220 badge and professional staff assigned to support Custody Alternate Sentencing, Classification, Programs, Emergency Response, Visitation, Compliance, and Training Units.


    Sheriff Rank Path
    Sheriff Rank Path

    As a Deputy Sheriff you will be responsible for enforcing the laws in the unincorporated areas throughout Santa Clara County. The Sheriff’s Office has contracts in the cities of Cupertino, Saratoga, and Town of Los Altos Hills to provide law enforcement services. Additional contracts include, law enforcement services for the Superior Courts of California, County Parks, and the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA).  

    Patrol & Court Security

    All Sheriff’s Office deputies start in patrol and court security. Patrol is the primary provider of law enforcement services for county buildings, cities of Saratoga and Cupertino, town of Los Altos Hills, County parks, Valley Transportation Authority’s transit system, and the unincorporated areas of Santa Clara County.  Patrol is considered to be the backbone of the Sheriff’s Office.  Patrol deputies investigate crimes, make arrests, patrol the unincorporated communities to make them safer, work with the community to solve problems, conduct community meetings, mediate disputes, investigate traffic collisions and provide general law enforcement services.

    The Court Security division provides security to the eight State of California Superior Courts located within Santa Clara County on a contract basis. A deputy may be assigned to any of the positions within the Court Security Division to include Judicial/Dignitary Protection, Felony and Misdemeanor Court Trial Bailiffs, Risk Assessment Unit, CIT trained Dual Diagnoses Court Bailiffs, Juvenile Dependency Bailiffs, Juvenile Court Bailiffs Holding, Cell Operations and Court Movement Deputies.

    A large population of deputies will choose to remain in patrol or court security, while others apply for promotional and transfer opportunities in specialized divisions after a few years in the field. 

    Specialized Assignments

    There are many different sworn positions in Law Enforcement.  In addition to the Patrol and Court Security assignments, there are also a wide array of specialized opportunities like Training and Professional Development, Investigative Services, Civil Warrants, Fugitive Apprehension Surveillance Unit (FAST), Covert Investigative Unit (CIU), Special Operations, Backgrounds and Recruiting, Air Support Observer, Custody Alternative Supervision Unit (CASU), Burglary Suppression Team, Internal Affairs, and the Traffic Motorcycle Unit. In addition, there are many collateral assignments to be a part of such as the Bomb Squad, Underwater Search Unit (USU), Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team (SERT), Crisis Negotiation Team (CNT), Sheriff Off-Road Enforcement (SORE), Crowd Control Unit (CCU), and the Crime Scene Investigation Team (CSI). Most of these require specialized training, and if you are selected, you are paid to be trained.


    Most Sergeants serve as field supervisors. Promotional candidates must demonstrate their qualifications in this area. There are also administrative and specialized assignments for Sergeants. A minimum of three years patrol experience as a Deputy Sheriff is required to apply for promotion to Sergeant and promotional candidates must demonstrate their qualifications in this area.

    Switching Assignments

    Many deputies work several different specialized assignments during the course of their careers. All deputies who have finished their probationary period are eligible to apply for specialized divisions. Although some specialties, like Investigations and the Special Enforcement Division, are very selective and competitive.

    Contact for More Information

    Contact our Recruitment Team at
    [email protected]
    (408) 808-4605

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