Hiring Process     FAQ ➞

How to Prepare


    To prepare for a career in law enforcement an applicant needs to recognize the mental, physical and physiological stress that is involved in a day to day basis. Applicants should prepare to be faced with situations that test their emotional state and react according to their knowledge skills and training.

    Academy Preparation

    It is important for you to train physically to prepare yourself for the Academy. Physical training is conducted on a regular basis
    during the Academy. Physical training usually consists of anaerobic exercises, with alternating days of aerobic exercise. Baton and weaponless defense training also places strenuous physical demands on each recruit. 

    The Academy is physically demanding, and in order to get the maximum benefit of the Academy, recruits must be in good physical condition. The Academy's physical training program will be beneficial but cannot overcome years of physical inactivity. Prospective recruits who are not in good physical condition should begin a personal fitness program immediately.

    Prior to the start of your workout, make sure you perform a suitable warm-up and remember hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. All exercises should be performed in a controlled manner using good technique. The running and exercises should be performed 3-5 times per week making sure to use rest days in between so your body can recover. When you begin running, if you can't run continuously, begin by running, and when you feel fatigued, walk until you can begin running again. Each time you run/walk work on decreasing your walking time until you are continuously running.

    Below is a pre-academy fitness program that can prepare you for physical demands of an academy. 

    Run: 1-2 miles at 11-12/minute mile pace.
    Pushups: 10-20 reps/2 sets
    Sit-ups: 20-30 reps/2 sets
    Pull-ups: 1-3 reps/2 sets
    Squats: 20-30 reps/2 sets
    Walking Lunges: 15-20 reps/2 sets
    Plank: hold for 20-30 seconds/2 sets
    Run: 2-3 miles at 9-11/minute mile pace.
    Pushups: 15-25 reps/2 sets
    Sit-ups: 30-40 reps/2 sets
    Pull-ups: 3-5 reps/2 sets
    Squats: 30-40 reps/2 sets
    Walking Lunges: 20-25 reps/2 sets
    Plank: hold for 30-40 seconds/2 sets
    Jump Squats: 5-10 reps/2 sets
    Run: 3-3.5 miles at 9-10/minute mile pace.
    Pushups: 20-30 reps/3 sets
    Sit-ups: 35-45 reps/3 sets
    Pull-ups: 5-10 reps/3sets
    Squats: 35-45 reps/3 sets
    Walking Lunges: 25-30 reps/3 sets
    Plank: hold for 40-50 seconds/3 sets
    Jump squats: 10-15 reps/2 sets
    Run: 3.5-4 miles at 8-10/minute mile pace.
    Pushups: 35-45 reps/3 sets
    Sit-ups: 40-50 reps/3 sets
    Pull-ups: 8-12 reps/3 sets
    Squats: 40-50 reps/3 sets
    Walking Lunges: 30-40 reps/3 sets
    Plank: hold for 50-60 seconds/3 sets
    Jump squats: 10-20 reps/3 sets

    Although a career in law enforcement is exciting, will get the heart pumping and the adrenaline flowing, Deputy Sheriffs’ and Sheriff’s Correctional Deputies’ job responsibilities are not as normally portrayed in the movies or in the media.  When pursuing a career in law enforcement, do not be afraid to talk to current Deputy Sheriffs or Sheriff’s Correctional Deputies about their experiences and what their day-to-day duties and responsibilities are. Get involved with the ride-a-long program with the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office to get a firsthand look at what Deputy Sheriffs do during the course of their shift.

    A jail tour can be scheduled for those seeking a career as a Sheriff’s Correctional Deputy Cadet.  Due to the high level of security within our facilities, the scheduling is based upon the eight step application process.  Once step 4 (Background Investigation) is completed, you will be scheduled a jail tour. This tour will give those applicants a firsthand look into what it is like to work as a correctional deputy.

    Applicants will get a better perspective and gain knowledge about what it is like to respond to a variety of calls for service and the mental preparation that is needed to put one’s life on the line every day.  For some applicants, this will motivate them to prepare for and achieve a goal that a small percentage of people are able to achieve.  For others, they may find that this career path is not for them.  No matter which avenue the applicants choose, Deputy Sheriff or Sheriff’s Correctional Deputy, it will be educational and an eye-opening experience to serve the public in the community which we live.


      Interpersonal Skills, Sensitivity, and Respect for Others

       Sheriff Deputies must be able to draw on extraordinary levels of tact and diplomacy to achieve their goals while dealing with the diverse population of Santa Clara County. They must be able to educate, issue appropriate warnings, and persuasion to gather cooperation from the public. Additionally, they must be able to work effectively either as an individual or as a member of a larger team. Every candidate shall demonstrate an understanding of the skills necessary to deal effectively with others in a cooperative and courteous manner. Desired behaviors may include, but are not limited to:

      • Understanding the impact of words and behavior on others, and modifying one's own behavior, comments, or course of action accordingly
      • Concern for the feelings and perspectives of others
      • Demonstration of impartiality in dealing with issues of age, gender, sexual orientation, race or ethnicity, religion, and cultural diversity
      • Use of tact and diplomacy to achieve goals, resolve disputes, and to diffuse or deescalate conflict
      • Ability to work effectively as a member of a team, making appropriate contributions and recognizing the achievements of others.

      Examples of Potentially Disqualifying Evidence
      Incidents of domestic violence; use of verbal or physical abuse or violence towards others indicating a lack of self-control; inability to get along with others in work or personal life; failure to listen effectively; use of derogatory stereotypes in jokes or daily language; making rude and/or condescending remarks to or about others; use of physical force to resolve disputes; demonstrated overreaction to criticism; inability to work effectively as a team player; disruptive/challenging to authority; use of harassment, threats, or intimidation to gain an advantage.

      Decision Making and Judgement

      Sheriff Deputies must possess extraordinarily good sense and must demonstrate through their past behavior that they can analyze a situation quickly, make sound and responsible decisions, and take appropriate action. Desired behaviors may include, but are not limited to the ability to:

      • Critically analyze options and determine an appropriate course of action in a given situation
      • Act assertively and without hesitation, but without overreacting
      • Make quick, responsible decisions under pressure
      • Persuade others to accept ones point of view or to desired course of action
      • Know when to make an exception; exercise appropriate discretion
      • Prioritize competing demands
      • Simultaneously and appropriately address multiple tasks
      • Make appropriate choices without constant supervision or detailed instructions
      • Creatively develop innovative solutions to problems

      Examples of Potentially Disqualifying Evidence
      Making poor choices given known circumstances; indecision when options are not clear-cut; failure to take action when appropriate or demonstrating insecurity about making a decision ; behavior indicating poor judgment or failure to consider appropriate options; failure to learn from past mistakes; inability or unwillingness to modify a position; rigid adherence to rules without consideration of alternative information; failure to see or consider all options; and but not limited to succumbing to peer pressure.

      Maturity and Discipline

      Sheriff Deputies must present a background which demonstrates maturity and readiness for employment. Your past choices must be free from inappropriate behavior. A significant degree of personal discipline must be displayed to ensure that you consistently refrain from taking actions which may be detrimental to your own health and well-being or the health and well-being of others. You must be able to maintain your composure and stay in control during critical situations, maintain a positive attitude, and accept constructive criticism without becoming defensive. Desired behaviors may include, but are not limited to the ability to:

      • Refrain from engaging in conduct which would reflect poorly on the County and limit a Sheriff’s Deputy’s ability to do his or her job effectively
      • Adhere to legal and societal constraints and requirements of conduct
      • Consider consequences prior to taking an action
      • Accept responsibility for past actions and mistakes
      • Take proper precautions and avoid unnecessarily risky behavior
      • Use constructive criticism to improve performance
      • Work well in unstructured situations with minimal supervision

      Examples of Potentially Disqualifying Evidence:
      Use of illegal drugs; abuse of alcohol or prescription medications; failure to follow all laws and common rules of conduct; associating with individuals who break the law; being argumentative, defensive, or blaming others (or circumstances) for mistakes made; past behavior which indicates a tendency to resort to use of force to gain objectives; overbearing in approach to resolving problems; unnecessarily confrontational; taking unnecessary personal risks; placing others at risk through your actions; reacting childishly or with anger to criticism or disappointment.

      Honesty, Integrity, and Personal Ethics

      Sheriff Deputies are required to demonstrate the highest possible personal integrity through your honesty and ethical conduct. You must be able to maintain high standards of personal conduct, abide by the law, and demonstrate attributes such as truthfulness and fairness in relationships with others. You must demonstrate a willingness to work within the organization. Examples of behaviors which meet this standard include, but are not limited to:

      • Being truthful in dealings with others
      • Fully cooperating and being completely forthcoming during the pre-employment selection process
      • Admitting and understanding past mistakes
      • Refraining from using employment or a position of authority for personal gain
      • Refraining from bending rules or otherwise trying to beat the system
      • Accepting responsibility for your actions

      Examples of Potentially Disqualifying Evidence:
      Making false and/or misleading statements or intentionally omitting relevant information; purposefully withholding information; minimizing past mistakes or errors; blaming others/making excuses for mistakes; attempting to induce others to give false information; bending the rules or using a position of authority for personal gain; refusing to accept responsibility for improper actions; condoning the unethical behavior of others through silence; engaging in illegal or immoral activities of such a nature that would be offensive to contemporary community standards of propriety; theft; and, but not limited to fraud.

      Setting and Achieving Goals

      Sheriff Deputies are required to demonstrate the ability to set and achieve personal and professional goals. Candidates for sheriff deputy positions can best place themselves for consideration through continuing achievement in the workplace, educational environment, volunteer activities, and/or community involvement. You must demonstrate initiative and the ability to follow through on all commitments without constant supervision and detailed instruction. You have the opportunity to demonstrate your ability to set and achieve goals, work in a diligent, reliable, and conscientious manner in accordance with specific rules and policies, and your readiness for, and commitment to, public service through the following:

      • Advancement in the workplace through promotion or increased responsibilities
      • Completing work as required and on schedule
      • Meeting high standards for punctuality and attendance
      • Meeting family obligations
      • Educational achievement
      • Involvement in volunteer or community improvement activities
      • Easily meeting unpredictable or unexpected challenges

      Example of Potentially Disqualifying Evidence:
      Failure to meet commitments to work, school, family, volunteer, or community activities.

      Record Checks

      Candidates for sheriff deputy positions are held to exacting standards of behavior throughout all aspects of their lives. You can expect specific inquiry to be made into your past behavior regarding:

      • Exercising fiscal responsibility
      • Employing safe driving practices
      • Maintaining stable employment
      • Obeying laws, rules, regulations, and orders
      • Military accomplishments

      Examples of Potentially Disqualifying Evidence:
      It is in your best interest to be completely forthcoming and truthful during the background investigation process. Many candidates are disqualified during the background portion of the selection process as a result of dishonesty. These candidates purposely omit information they think will result in their removal from the selection process, when that may not have been the case. When this information is later discovered during the background investigation, the candidate is disqualified, but not necessarily for the behavior he or she failed to disclose. Rather, the candidate is disqualified for failure to provide complete, accurate, and honest information.

      Other possible disqualifying examples can include: past due accounts, discharged debts, late payments, accounts sent to collections, unfavorable civil judgments and/or bankruptcy; debt ratio to income; failure to follow all traffic laws; numerous moving and non-moving violations; at fault traffic accidents; terminations or suspensions from work; reprimands or counseling for poor work performance (including Military service); failure to meet obligations (for example, auto insurance, auto registration, selective service registration, IRS requirements, child support obligations, etc.); negative law enforcement contacts, arrests, and/or convictions (as appropriate); Dishonorable discharge from the military.

      Law Enforcement Academy

      As a Deputy Sheriff Law Enforcement Cadet, you will attend an intensive training program that will last approximately 26-weeks with the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office Peace Officer Standard and Training (POST) Basic Academy; tuition and other fees are paid by the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office.

      Law Enforcement Academy classes are typically held Monday through Friday, 0700 to 1530. Classes may require some nights and weekends.

      The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office Training Center is located in Morgan Hill, CA.

      As a Law Enforcement Academy Cadet you will receive the starting salary in effect at that time. You will also receive benefits.

      The Law Enforcement Academy is not a live-in academy, and therefore housing is not provided.




      Regular Basic Course
      The Santa Clara County Justice Training Center follows the Regular Basic Course which is delivered in a one-part instructional sequence with a minimum requirement of 664 hours. Although the POST minimum is 664 hours, our course is usually around 1,000 hours.  The Justice Taring Center follows the POST Intensive Format - a full-time academy that typically meets Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

      The Regular Basic Course curriculum is divided into 41 individual topics, called Learning Domains. The Learning Domains contain the minimum required foundational information for given subjects, which are detailed in the Training and Testing Specifications for Peace Officer Basic Courses. The training and testing specifications for a particular domain may also include information on required instructional activities and testing requirements.

      Student Preparedness
      The Regular Basic Course prepares each student by providing hands-on experience, including weapons training, role-play scenarios, patrol procedures, emergency vehicle operations, and arrest and control techniques. The student must pass comprehensive, exercise, scenario, report writing, and physical abilities tests, to demonstrate readiness for entry into a department's standardized Field Training / Police Training Program.


      • Lifetime Fitness/Physical Training Program, which runs the length of the academy.
      • Onsite Emergency Vehicle Operations Course and Driving Simulator.
      • Onsite Force Options Simulator
      • Brand new gym and fitness equipment
      • Secluded location which allows for additional training/practice 
      • A demanding academy that has shown to produce exceptional law enforcement officers. 
      • Full-time staff that is building a strong culture
      • 29 college units awarded for successful completion of academy

      ACO CORE ACADEMY | Santa Clara County Justice Training Center

      Providing training to over 10 different agencies since 2012

      Upcoming Academy Date(s)

      August 21, 2022
      Morgan Hill, CA

      • Total time is approximately 9-10 weeks

      • While STC mandates 189 hours, our 315 hours curriculum includes expansion in Defensive Tactics, Report Writing, Jail related scenarios and other critical areas.

      • Attendees will receive college units.

      • First AID and CPR certification.

      • POST certification in Chemical Agents.
      • If needed, additional training following ACO Core: POST PC 832- Arrest and Firearms and POST Crisis Intervention Training.
      • ACO Core academy is presented in a highly disciplined environment which provides recruits an opportunity for development of self-confidence, critical thinking, and courage.
      • COVID-19 exposure mitigating measures.

      We pride ourselves on presenting a curriculum that not only meets the STC mandates but also prepares attendees for managing the professional challenges of an Adult Correctional Officer/Deputy.

      Final Oral Interview

      There are several things you can do now to prepare for the interviews that will be conducted during the hiring process. A good way to begin is by reviewing these considerations:


      • Investigate the position and the agency
      • Read the recruitment literature and explore the website
      • Speak with current deputies
      • Participate in the ride-a-long program


      • Your interest in the position

      • Communication skills


      • Knowledge about the agency

      • Duties of a Deputy Sheriff or Sheriff's Correctional Deputy

      • Why you want to be a deputy

      • Why you choose law enforcement/corrections as a career

      • What you have done to prepare

      • What you can bring to the agency


      Demonstrate interest by displaying your familiarity and knowledge with the duties:

      • Preservation of life and welfare of inmates

      • Apprehension or detainment of criminals

      • Protect life, property, and community

      • Preserve public peace and maintain order within the detention facility

      • Prevent and investigate crime in the community or the jails

      • Detect and arrest violators of law

      • Investigate on-going criminal activity within the community or the jails


      • First impressions are important

      • Agency grooming standards are recommended

      • Proper business attire is recommended

      • Men: Suit and Tie, Women: Conservative Business Attire

      Additional Information

      • Be polite and courteous

      • Maintain eye contact

      • Be honest and forthcoming

      • Think before you speak

      Hiring Process     FAQ ➞

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