What is a Bailiff?

BailiffA bailiff is a law enforcement officer who plays an important role in the courtroom. Bailiffs are responsible for assisting the judge in keeping the courtroom secure and orderly. Bailiffs monitor the courtroom for concealed weapons, bombs and any other security threats. Bailiffs frisk people and confiscate any weapons found.

Bailiff Job Duties

Bailiffs work with a variety of court personnel, including government workers and lawyers. Bailiff job duties vary from filling water pitchers to transporting prisoners to and from courtrooms. Bailiffs generally prepare bond forms, serve eviction orders, serve civil lawsuit notices and serve seizure of asset notices. Before the trial, the bailiff will unlock or lock the jury rooms and courtrooms and make sure the rooms are neat and orderly. The bailiff is also responsible for maintaining any supplies necessary for the court proceedings and signing in all individuals and ensuring each appears on the docket, according to WiseGeek. During the trial, it is up to the bailiff to open the court and inform the judge when court is ready. Bailiffs also call witnesses and administer oaths to jurors and witnesses and inform the courtroom when verdicts are reached. Bailiffs communicate messages from jurors to the court and to their families.

Bailiff Education

In order to become a bailiff a person will need a high school diploma or general education degree (GED). To improve one’s prospects of becoming a bailiff supplemental training, vocational school or attending a police academy is recommended. Criminal justice, law enforcement, or civil rights coursework is often desired. Some courts have a minimum age for being a bailiff. A valid state driver’s license may be required. Bailiff candidates often have background checks performed prior to hiring.

Bailiff Skills

Bailiffs are required to have a certain set of skills in order to keep the courtroom operation smooth. During a court procedure bailiffs must be courteous, knowledgeable and cooperative. In order to present information effectively a bailiff must have strong interpersonal and public relation skills. Basic math, attention to detail and the ability to work in a team environment are other favorable skills of bailiffs. Some bailiffs may be required to complete CPR and first aid training courses.

Bailiff Employment Outlook

Bailiff salaries vary on work experience, benefits package, location, and the company or organization they work for. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of May 2013, the median annual salary for bailiffs was $40,620. The middle 50 percent earned around $37,080. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $19,260 and the highest 10 percent earned more than $67,700. The median annual wages for local government was $35,060 and the median annual wages for state government was $58,980. The estimated total occupational employment 16,360.

Related Resource: Police Officer Training

Bailiffs are peacekeepers of the courtroom. They require a minimum of a high school degree or GED and interpersonal skills. Bailiffs help protect courtroom members and help keep trials running smoothly.