Subsidiary 3 Benchmark
Job Description - 035SH19

Identification Section

Working Title: Law Courts Sheriff
Department: Sheriff's Branch
Division, Branch/Unit: Justice and Solicitor General
Reports To: Law Courts Sergeant
Levels to D.M.: 5

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Purpose

(Brief summary of the job, covering the main responsibilities, the framework within which the job has to operate and the main contribution to the organization.)

The Sheriffs Branch is responsible for several areas that directly support law enforcement agencies, provincial enforcement agencies, and integrated law enforcement agencies in Alberta and plays a lead role in the Ministry’s commitment to promote safe and secure communities throughout the province. These areas include: traffic safety patrols and enforcement on provincial highways, warrant apprehension services, investigations, surveillance services, providing courthouse and “identified or designated provincial critical infrastructure” facilities security, prisoner management and transport services, and executive and judiciary security services. The Branch also offers security consultation for provincial facilities and maintains a 24-hour security control centre at Government Centre.

The Department has adopted a policy whereby, in the interests of safe and secure communities, the Sheriffs Branch will mobilize into the community for events to assist the police agency of jurisdiction by performing duties that are consistent with the sheriffs’ authority and training. While this changes and enhances the work of the sheriffs, it allows front-line police officers to focus on responding to and investigating organized and serious crime.

This position provides and maintains a safe and secure setting for all persons within the province’s 75 provincial courthouses. Work is performed within ever-changing and potentially dangerous environments, with a requirement to provide specialized, competent physical security services for special events and conferences as required. New and further specialized training is required (Immediate Deployment and Active Shooter Response) to be in a position to respond to an “active shooter” situation in a court facility.

A Law Court Sheriff ensures the personal safety of all persons within provincial courthouses by providing an armed presence in courtrooms when a prisoner is in custody or when threat levels are elevated. Their presence in the courtrooms and facilities is essential not only for the immediate protection of all who frequent these locations but also to diminish the threat of intimidation in and outside the courts. The position also provides effective and efficient prisoner management and transportation throughout the province, transporting and escorting prisoners from RCMP detachments, municipal police agencies, correctional or mental health institutions, provincial centres, and federal penitentiaries to provincial courthouses or the reverse, and escorting prisoners to hospitals as required. In addition, this position performs out-of-province prisoner escorts to bring individuals arrested in Canada but outside of Alberta back to the province.

In keeping with the department’s commitment to assist the police community in providing safe and secure communities, the Sheriffs Branch has developed a Community Deployment Program whereby Law Courts sheriffs contribute to the continuum of policing by providing prisoner management, handling and transport services outside of their normal “institutional” environs. This function includes front-line deployment in partnership with police, dealing with offenders, prisoners, the general public and the media in an uncontrolled and dynamic environment. These deployments demand a high degree of professionalism and actions that instills public trust and confidence. Sheriffs are held to those standards by virtue of the Peace Officer Act and are held accountable in that regard. Community deployments include major public order events such as large sporting events, Canada Day, Air Shows, large concert events etc.

Law Court sheriffs also assist the police with the movement of children in need of protection by transporting them from police facilities to safe houses around Alberta. This requires a modification to the “management” of the young person as opposed to a prisoner and requires an enhanced skills set.

Reporting to a Sergeant and working within applicable legislation, policies, and procedures, the Criminal Code, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and all provincial and federal statutes, the position exercises its authority as a Sheriff with Peace Officer status under the Alberta Peace Officer Act (2007).

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Responsibilities and Activities

(Purpose of the job can be broken down in different responsibilities and end results.  Each end result shows what the job is accountable for, within what framework, and what the added value is.)

1. A safe, secure, and armed presence is provided in an open environment for all persons within all courthouses. Special emphasis is placed on the on and off-site security concerns of the judiciary while enforcing the Criminal Code and all provincial and federal statutes to ensure:
  • the preservation of the peace;
  • the prevention of crime and offences against the laws in force in Alberta;
  • the detection and prevention of acts of intimidation of witnesses in the court environment;
  • the apprehension of criminals and offenders and others who may lawfully be taken into custody;
  • the execution of all warrants and performance of all duties and services there under or in relation there to that under the laws in force in Alberta may lawfully be executed and performed by a peace officer; 
  • taking into custody of newly sentenced persons and those arrested in the courthouse;
  • initial response to major incidents within the courthouse including protection of crime scenes, identification and preservation of evidence, separation of potential witnesses and liaison/assistance to police;
  • first aid response for all stakeholders within the courthouse as well as members of the public; and
  • the evacuation of prisoners as well as stakeholders and members of the public during major incidents such as bomb threats or fire alarms.
 
2. Prisoners attending court and within holding cells are supervised to ensure care, custody, and control.

Activities:

  • Maintains accurate prisoner counts.
  • Documents pertinent information in respect to prisoners, records personal property, and completes specific Ministry and court forms, including appropriate release procedures and documents.
  • Completes staff reports and occurrence reports as required.
  • Conducts searches of prisoners, public, courtrooms, escort vehicles, and prisoner holding facilities to ensure prisoner, public, and officer safety.
  • Maintains knowledge of all warrants, Judges Orders, and external police agency prisoner documentation.
  • Ensures certain prisoners are separated based on age, threat and gang affiliation.
  • Being watchful and aware of subtle cues among the prisoners, such as hand signals and other non-verbal communications which would identify the need for increased threats.
 
3. The safe and secure transfer of prisoners to and from various locations within the province is facilitated.

Activities:

  • Provides armed escorts of prisoners from various locations within the province to court and back, as well as between centres and police detachments and, if required, to hospitals.
  • Provides out-of-province prisoner escorts, escorting individuals arrested outside of Alberta and within Canada back to the province.
  • Responds to threats or potential threats by prisoners and/or the public during the transport process.
  • Ensure the appropriate “booking” documentation is in order (Judge’s Orders, etc.).
 
4. Assist the police community by participating in Community Deployment Events.

Activities:

  • Participate in extra training and/or briefings with policing partners to determine parameters of the mission.
  • Work in front lines with police to keep the peace, assist in making arrests, handling, searching, managing and transporting prisoners.
  • Interact with members of the public, policing partners and media.
 
The following responsibilities are common to all Law Court Sheriff positions regardless of assigned unit:
 
1. Positive relationships are maintained with government officials, the judiciary, lawyers, the public, police, other agencies, Correctional Services and Federal Penitentiary representatives, and court employees as appropriate to assigned responsibilities through use of excellent interpersonal, public relations, communication, investigative, and crisis management skills.
 
2. Sheriffs Branch standards are met and maintained in the use of the following tools and techniques:
  • Incident Management Intervention Module (Alberta Association of Chiefs of Police – AACP “use of force” standard).
  • Firearms training and yearly re-certification.
  • Immediate Deployment/Active Shooter Response training.
  • Defensive Baton techniques.
  • Oleoresin Capsicum Spray (O.C. Spray).
  • Handcuffs.
  • Verbal judo techniques (conflict diffusion).
  • Control tactics (AACP standard).
   
3. Current knowledge of personal and physical security methods and electronic and computerized security equipment is maintained to ensure a secure environment for the public, employees, and visitors to courthouses.

Activities:

  • Monitors access to courthouses during normal operational hours.
  • Maintains working knowledge of the geographic layout of the applicable building(s) to efficiently and effectively respond to all alarms (panic and/or fire) and threats or acts of intimidation.
   
4. Interviews, reports, and legal documents are completed in accordance with established policies and standards.

Activities:

  • Completes reports and legal documents in preparation for prosecution.
  • Conducts interviews and takes statements from Sheriffs, complainants, witnesses, suspects, etc.
  • Maintains and processes exhibits, prepares court briefs and disclosure documents, and gives evidence in
    court(s).

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Scope

(Illustrates what internal or external areas the job impacts, and the diversity, complexity, and creativity of the job.)

In addition to providing facilities security, prisoner management and transport services, the position also provides physical and personal protection packages for special and high profile events and conferences, with examples including the G8 Conference, the World Petroleum Congress, Premier's Conferences, Energy Utilities Board Hearings, and public consultation sessions dealing with sensitive and controversial topics.

Community Deployments Program events as well as events previously described provides the sheriff with opportunities to quickly and effectively identify problems, create solutions without necessarily the benefit of supervision and employ the solution in a timely fashion having regard for public safety.

The position is expected to contribute to other key responsibilities of the Sheriffs Branch, including gathering and disseminating intelligence, confidential source development and information and contributing to risk analysis and assessment (i.e. organized crime; special interest groups - patriots).

The Law Court Sheriff actively contributes to and participates in various training functions, with examples including:

  • specialized instruction and partnerships with police agencies, including certification of instructors for Sheriffs Branch;
  • Immediate Deployment/Active Shooter Response training;
  • On-line ethics-based and supervisory training (through the Canadian Police Knowledge Network);
  • scenario training;
  • tactical shooting training;
  • First Aid / CPR / AED (Defibrillator);
  • field training.

This position also performs Canadian Police Information Centre, Comis, and IRIMS checks for outstanding warrants and criminal and/or terrorist activity. In addition, the position is relied on to represent the Branch, Ministry, and Government in a highly professional manner when interacting with stakeholders. This can include providing practicum job sites for students from various community colleges. The Sheriff also provides assistance, guidance, and on-the-job training for new members of the Sheriffs Branch.

The Law Court Sheriff is expected to demonstrate leadership and initiative in relation to the performance of all aspects of job responsibilities. This position often functions as the “second in command,” providing dispatch officers with directions and ensuring that operational requirements are met using resources available. The Law Court sheriff may be required to assume the duties of Temporary Acting Sergeant.

The impacts of action or inaction by the position are significant, and can result in physical injury, danger to the judiciary, employees, the public, and/or prisoners. Other consequences of action or inaction by this position can include political embarrassment, financial loss, harm to the judicial process, property damage, civil lawsuits, grievous bodily harm, or death.

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Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

(Most important knowledge factors, skills and abilities including knowledge about practical procedures, specialized techniques, etc.; analytical and conceptual skills and abilities; and skills needed for direct interaction with others not only diplomas and degrees. Specific training if it is an occupational certification/registration required for the job.)

2 years of post-secondary study in law enforcement, police science or social sciences is required along with two year of related experience. Candidates must complete physical testing (PARE test) with a score of 4 minutes and 15 seconds or better.

Positions must have successfully completed the SGPS Induction Training Program with a minimum 80% average (induction training program is currently seven weeks in duration).

The Induction Training Program consists of:

  • Legal Studies – information pertaining to the Criminal Justice system, Criminal Code, Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Freedom of Information and Privacy Act, Powers of a Peace Officer, structure of Provincial Statutes, Giving Evidence, courtroom procedures, Powers of Arrest, Use of Force, Powers of Search, etc.
  • Criminal intelligence collection, analysis and dissemination.
  • Human Relations – communication and listening skills, leadership styles, public relations skills, writing skills, facilitation skills, dealing with the media, preparing presentations, working with diverse audiences, interaction skills, etc.
  • Officer Safety training - use of force, principles of control, resistance/control continuum, handcuffing, pressure points, Oleoresin Capsicum (OC) spray theory and exposure, vascular neck restraints, weapon retention and disarming, assailant confrontation, baton training, physical fitness, driver training, etc.
  • Firearms training.
  • Scenario training including room searches, confrontation with armed and unarmed individuals.
  • Verbal judo.

Law Court Sheriffs also receive instruction in the (AACP approved) operation of prisoner transport vehicles. This is also a GoA requirement.

The position must be competent in all aspects of the duties of a Sheriff with Peace Officer authority, including the use and application of the Alberta Peace Officer Act, the Criminal Code, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as all other Provincial and Federal statutes.

The position requires working knowledge of:

  • applicable policies and procedures;
  • Standing Operation Procedures;
  • Emergency Standing Orders;
  • the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act;
  • the radio communication system;
  • cultural diversity;
  • organized gang behaviour;
  • the Positive Workplace program, including ability to demonstrate and exercise this knowledge.

The position must qualify and maintain:

  • a Class 4 or better Alberta operator's license;
  • a minimum Emergency Level First Aid and Level A CPR;
  • Sheriffs Branch standards in the use of a firearm, Oleoresin Capsicum spray, the defensive baton, and the (AACP) Use of Force continuum.

Key tools provided include:

  • firearm, baton, Oleoresin Capsicum spray, handcuffs;
  • a hard or soft uniform (full uniform with firearm or blazer with Sheriff’s logo and markings);
  • Peace Officer designation pursuant to the Alberta Peace Officer Act.

All Sheriff positions must maintain a degree of physical fitness and demonstrate basic computer skills.

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Contacts

(Main contacts of this position and the purpose of those contacts.)

Main contacts for the Law Court Sheriff are:

  • judiciary and their staff members;
  • representatives of police agencies and first responders;
  • representatives of Correctional Services and Court Services;
  • lawyers;
  • prisoners;
  • general public;
  • representatives of outside agencies;
  • media.

The purpose of these contacts is to exchange information; assess risks and/or threats; identify and resolve conflicts or problems; discuss issues; and arrest or detain individuals as necessary.

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Organization

(Working titles of positions reporting directly to this position.)

Provides guidance and direction to new recruits.

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Organization Chart

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Last Review / Update: 2016-03-11

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