Become a Deputy Sheriff

Photo of sheriff academy recruits saluting taken at an angle

Recruit training is the main focus of the Denver Sheriff Training Academy – classes are conducted throughout the year and last for 16 weeks. Before placement on an eligibility list, applicants must first complete a comprehensive selection process, including tests, interviews, and a thorough background investigation. The hiring process, from start to finish, includes meeting the following qualifications:

  • Complete a job application
  • Be at least 21 years old by the academy start date
  • Possess a valid driver license
  • Establish job suitability
  • Pass the Integrity interview
  • Pass the polygraph
  • Pass the physical fitness exam
  • Pass the background investigation
  • Pass the psychological exam
  • Pass the medical exam
  • Pass a drug test

For more information, review the information below or call or email the recruiting office at 720-661-4407 and

Join the Denver Sheriff Team!

Become a Deputy Sheriff

Step 1.Fill out an Application

It all starts here: fill out an application

Step 2.Pass a Background Check

Once your application is accepted, you are emailed a personal history packet – you must fill this packet out completely before returning. This information assists in a background investigation which determines your compatibility with the Denver Sheriff Department (DSD). Background investigators will review employment history, character references, academic records, residency history, criminal history, and credit history. If applicable, a broad overview of an applicant's criminal history is reported by the National Crime Information Center (NCIC).

Step 3.Pass the Written Test

The REACT written test for corrections from the National Testing Network takes about two (2) hours and includes four test components:

  1. Video-based human relations
  2. Reading
  3. Math
  4. Report writing

Minimum passing scores are: 78% video, 80% reading, 70% math. The National Testing Network offers a voluntary pre-test ($24.90) for those who are interested. 

Step 4.Take the Job Suitability Assessment

This assessment helps to determine if your personality traits are a good fit for a position in public safety, although they do not address psychological and/or medical concerns. The suitability interview does not address any information covered under the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Step 5.Complete the Integrity Interview

This interview is designed to verify your integrity, basic background, and qualifications.

Step 6.Pass the Polygraph

Candidates are required to complete a polygraph exam.

Step 7.Pass the Physical Fitness Exam

This exam measures your ability to perform job-related physical tasks, such as pat and frisk searches on a simulated inmate and timed emergency calls. These include running and stair climbing with a fire extinguisher, running and descending stairs, as well as moving an "inmate" (150-pound dummy).

Step 8.Receive a Conditional Offer

Upon review and approval by the Denver Sheriff Department and the Executive Director of Public Safety, the candidate receives a conditional job offer. A conditional letter of employment is a formal job offer dependent on the employee passing certain tests and/or conditions. The job offer is formalized once all the conditions are successfully met. If the applicant does not pass the requirements, the job offer will be rescinded.

Step 9.Psychological & Medical Screening

Psychological screenings and a physical exam occur at the final stage of the hiring process and assess your psychological and physical ability to perform the essential job functions required for a position in public safety.

Step 10.Pass a Drug Test

Drug tests are routinely administered to check for the presence of illegal substances.

Step 11.Take a Facility Tour

A tour of the Downtown Detention Center (DDC) and/or the Denver County Jail (COJL) will help demonstrate the routine duties of a Denver Deputy Sheriff.

Step 12.Receive an Appointment Letter

Upon successfully completing all the requirements listed above, an appointment letter will be issued with an academy start date.

Step 13.Enter the Academy

Once you begin at the DSD Training Academy, you will go through 16 weeks of training before graduating and becoming a Denver Deputy Sheriff.

Automatic Disqualifiers

Records of prior misconduct – illegal drug use, driving under the influence, theft, arrest, or conviction – are usually not, in and of themselves, automatic disqualifiers. 

There are few reasons that a Denver Sheriff Department (DSD) applicant will receive an automatic rejection. Deliberate misstatements or omissions can and often will result in a rejected application, regardless of the nature or reason for the misstatements/omissions. Failure to fill out applications completely and accurately could also result in rejection. But, the number one reason individuals “fail” background investigations? They withhold or misrepresent job-relevant information from their prospective employer.

Automatic disqualifiers to becoming a Denver Deputy Sheriff include:

  • Felony conviction and/or felony deferred judgement
  • Misdemeanor conviction(PDF, 91KB)/deferred judgment within the last five (5) years (other than a DUI or DWAI) 
  • Domestic violence conviction/deferred judgement
  • Gang affiliation or association of any kind
  • Sold illegal drugs
  • Used, consumed, and/or purchased marijuana within 12 months prior to submitting an application
  • Used illegal narcotics within the last 60 months
  • DUI or DWAI in the last three (3) years, and no more than two (2) in a lifetime
  • Unauthorized alcohol consumption during work hours in the last 12 months
  • Missed work due to alcohol consumption in the last 12 months
  • Negative employment history (i.e. more than one suspension from a job in the last five (5) years)
  • Theft from employers (merchandise or money) within the last five (5) years
  • Shoplifted with the last three (3) years
  • Negative driving record


Academy Testing Standards

The physical demands of law enforcement jobs are real. You may be called upon to move an accident victim to safety, subdue a violent criminal, climb flights of stairs to render first aide, or several other scenarios during your career. Moreover, the overall stress of a career in public safety is a part of the job. After consulting with your doctor, consider a regular fitness and nutrition program as part of your daily lifestyle.

Recruits receive extensive firearms training at the range and must pass all shooting qualifications to graduate the academy. Once you become a sworn deputy, semi-annual qualifications are required for all firearms that are issued and/or carried. All deputies must maintain a shooting score of 80% or above during their employment.

Note: tests may be added or removed as appropriate during the academy.

Physical Fitness Standards:

All fitness tests and evaluations taken throughout the academy will be calculated toward your seniority and/or badge number and awarded upon graduation. To prepare for required fitness testing and attaining set goals, access to the academy facilities will be given and encouraged throughout the academy. The academy weight room and running course are available for use during daily lunch breaks, as well as before and after hours.

Required fitness and defense tactics tests include:

  • The Academy Fitness Test:
    This test is given three (3) times throughout the academy: a pre-test/baseline (first week of academy), a midterm/progress test, and a final exam (end of academy). Each test has varying point values depending upon the instructor's composition of the test and what performance is required by the recruit. Scores are derived from the Cooper Fitness Standards which compare fitness levels of law enforcement officers nationwide.
  • Fitness Test:
    Determines changes and improvements made during the academy.
  • Practical Defensive Tactics Test:
    Demonstrates your understanding and ability to apply and perform the various techniques taught in defensive tactics training.
  • Shooting qualifications:
    Receive at least an 80% passing score on all shooting qualifications.

Academic Standards:

 If chosen to attend the academy, you will be held to specific academic standards. A passing grade of no less than 80% is required for all written tests.

Academic evaluations include:

  • An academic knowledge test given bi-weekly, usually consisting of 50 questions, totaling five (5) to eight (8) tests upon completion of the academy
  • Written tests in areas such as firearms safety, concealed weapons, driver safety, D.E.V.O.C., taser, defensive tactics (use of force and philosophy concerning inmate control), and CPR
  • Firearms tests determine your cognitive ability to retain and explain information about weapons safety, use of force, deadly force, and the mechanics of how to shoot. 
  • Several final tests given at the conclusion of the academy

Lateral Applicants

Experienced law enforcement officers are an asset to the Denver Sheriff Department (DSD). If you are a peace officer, we welcome you to apply to the largest sheriff department agency in the state of Colorado. The DSD is comprised of many divisions and diverse operations with, on average, over 1,000 uniformed and non-uniformed staff members. These operations include two separate jails, security for the District and County Courts, state inmate transportation, extradition duties, civil, fugitive and K-9 units, Vehicle Impound Facility, and security at Denver Health Medical Center.

To be considered for a lateral Denver Deputy Sheriff position, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Currently employed by a law enforcement agency (to include law enforcement-related military occupations) or have been separated as a peace officer for one year or less and have a minimum of three (3) years experience.
  • No current internal affairs investigation(s) pending at your current agency.
  • No sustained discipline in the last three (3) years.
  • Able to perform the essential functions of a deputy.
  • Hiring pay for laterals in 2020 was $61,868 to $75,503, which is determined by the number of years of relevant experience.


Continued Training & Certification

Once you are a deputy, the education continues. Trainings and POST certifications are a regular part of this career path, meant to keep staff current on all aspects of the job, and are detailed below.

In-Service Training:
The Denver Sheriff Department (DSD) conducts periodic retraining of skills, knowledge, and abilities learned in the basic law enforcement training academy. In-service training includes recertification on issued equipment, tactics, ethics, and policy training.

Reinforcement Training:
Specific training is utilized to enhance staff performance.

Specialized training:
This training enhances skills, knowledge, and abilities beyond the level taught by either initial training or other in-service programs. Specialized training may include executive development, technical training, fingerprinting and classification of inmates, accreditation management, Emergency Response Unit (ERU), emergency preparedness, and Gang Intelligence Unit training, for example.

Advanced Training:
Training is often held outside of the academy and is designed to impart higher-level supervisory and management skills to participants.

Remedial Training:
Personalized training to correct specific deficiencies that could be identified through evaluations or during routine job performance.

POST Certification:
All newly-hired deputy sheriff recruits will be required to successfully demonstrate academy skills and complete a (pre-service) POST-based basic law enforcement training academy prior to assignment. DSD does not enforce traffic laws; therefore, POST-related material is omitted from DSD Basic Law Enforcement Training Academy. Newly hired sworn personnel who are Colorado POST-certified will maintain their certification through DSD employment as a Denver Deputy Sheriff.