Become a Deputy Sheriff

Photo of sheriff academy recruits saluting taken at an angle

Recruit training is the mainstay of the Denver Sheriff Training Academy, with classes generally conducted throughout the year. Before placement on an eligibility list, applicants must first complete a comprehensive selection process, including numerous tests, interviews, and a thorough background investigation. For Information please call or email our recruiting office at 720-661-4407 and

Recruits are exposed to 15 weeks of intensive training on a variety of subjects. Explore the resources below to learn more.

At the time of application, the applicant must:

  • Be at least 21 years of age by the academy start date
  • Possess a valid driver license for any state at the time of application and for the duration of employment

Prior to appointment as a Denver Deputy Sheriff, the applicant must pass the following:

  • Completion of city application
  • Integrity interview
  • Polygraph 
  • Job suitability
  • Physical fitness exam
  • Background investigation
  • Psychological exam
  • Medical examination
  • Drug test

Automatic disqualifiers to becoming a Denver Deputy Sheriff:

  • Felony conviction and/or felony deferred judgement
  • Misdemeanor conviction(PDF, 91KB)/deferred judgment within the last five 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 with the last 60 months
  • DUI or DWAI in the last three years, and no more than two 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 years)
  • Theft from employers (merchandise or money) within the last five years
  • Shoplifted with the last three years (36 months)
  • Negative driving record

Note: the deputy sheriff hiring process was updated November 2018.

Application process:
Failure to fill out applications completely and accurately could result in rejection.

Personal history packet:
The Department of Safety Human Resource Technician will email the applicant an electronic Personal History Statement. The information provided will be used in the background investigation to assist in determining suitability for a position with the Denver Sheriff Department. It is the applicant’s responsibility to complete the packet and provide all the required information. Applicants must respond to all items and questions. If a question does not apply to the applicant, write “N/A” (not applicable) in the space provided for the response. Applicants must be honest, truthful and specific in all responses. All answers/responses will be subjected to verification.

There are very few factors that result in an automatic rejection. Issues of prior misconduct, such as prior illegal drug use, driving under the influence, theft, arrest or conviction, are usually not, in and of themselves, automatically disqualifying factors. However, deliberate misstatements or omissions can and often will result in your application being rejected, regardless of the nature or reason for the misstatements/omissions. The number one reason individuals “fail” background investigations are because they withhold or misrepresent job-relevant information from their prospective employer.

National Crime Information Center (NCIC) background check:
A broad review of an applicant's criminal record, if applicable.

Job Suitability Assessment:
This type of evaluation assesses a prospective hire’s personality factors as they are relevant to their suitability for working in a position of public safety and do not address any psychological and/or medical concerns. The suitability interview does not address any information that would be covered under the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Integrity Interview:
This interview is designed to ascertain the applicant’s integrity, basic background, and qualifications.

Candidates will be required to complete a polygraph exam.

Physical Fitness Exam:
Applicants will be measured on their ability to perform job-related physical tasks.

  • Pat and frisk searches on a simulated prisoner
  • Emergency calls (timed exam); the first emergency consists of running and stair climbing with a fire extinguisher. The second emergency call will consist of running and descending stairs, as well as a prisoner move (150 pound dummy).

A thorough background check will be conducted to ensure that applicants do not have any personal or professional issues that would preclude them from public safety service. Background investigators will review employment history, character references, academic records, residency history, criminal history, and credit history.

National Testing Network REACT exam (written test):
There are four test components to the REACT Testing System:

  1. video-based human relations
  2. reading
  3. math
  4. report writing

Testing takes approximately 2 hours. Minimum passing scores are as follows: 78% video, 80% reading, 70% math. Please be advised that the National Testing Network offers a pre-test for an additional $24.90.

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

Post-Conditional Psychological Screening: 
Psychological screenings occur at the final stage of the hiring process. These tests assess personality factors relevant to an individual’s fitness for working in a position of public safety, as well as their current level of emotional stability and psychological functioning. 

Medical Exam: 
A physical exam will evaluate medical fitness and whether physical requirements of the job are met. Specifically, applicants should be able to perform the “essential job functions” as listed in the job posting.

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

Facility Tour: 
A tour of the Downtown Detention Center and/or the Denver County Jail will expose candidates to the routine duties of a Denver Deputy Sheriff.

Appointment Letter: 
Upon successfully completing all required tests, an appointment letter will be issued with an academy start date.

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.

Academy Physical Fitness Standards:
All fitness tests and evaluations taken throughout the academy will also be calculated toward your seniority and/or badge number to be awarded upon graduation. In order 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.
  • Written Defensive Tactics Test:
    Determines your cognitive ability to retain and explain information about the use of force and philosophy concerning prisoner control.
  • Practical Defensive Tactics Test:
    Demonstrates your understanding and ability to apply and perform the various techniques taught in defensive tactics training.

Academy Academic Standards
If chosen to attend the academy, you will be held to specific academic standards, including:

  • 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, and CPR
    • Firearms test determines 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

A minimum passing score of 80% is required for all written tests.

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

Recruits receive extensive firearms training at the range and must pass all shooting qualifications to graduate the academy. Once 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.

Are you a peace officer in another jurisdiction and have always wanted to work for Denver? We are seeking experienced law enforcement officers to perform a variety of roles and responsibilities concerning the security, care, and safety of those in our care and within the community, in detention, medical, court and transportation settings.

The Denver Sheriff Department is the largest sheriff department agency in the state of Colorado and 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 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 pending in current agency
  • No sustained discipline in the last three (3) years
  • Able to perform the essential functions of a deputy sheriff
  • Hiring pay for laterals in 2020 is $61,868 to $75,503 and is determined by number of years of relevant experience

In-Service Training:
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.

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.