Deputy Sheriff Selection Process

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From Sheriff Noah Robinson:

Thank you for your interest in a career with the Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office. This page will help you understand the duties and responsibilities of a deputy sheriff and the testing involved in order to become one.

Deputy sheriffs are law enforcement officers for the County of Vanderburgh, Indiana. Vanderburgh County includes the incorporated City of Evansville and Town of Darmstadt. As with any law enforcement agency, the Sheriff and his deputies are the most visible members of local government and they help to maintain social order.

Deputy sheriffs not only enforce state and local laws, they also perform public services. Deputy sheriffs may be assigned to perform patrol duties, investigate suspected crimes, transport county jail inmates between various institutions, and provide security in the county courts building. Our deputies are also involved in the social and civic affairs of our community. They donate many hours to local charity and other activities designed to help the community.

To aid us in our goal of selecting only the most qualified individuals to serve our public, we have established the following requirements and testing criteria. The selection process usually involves numerous applicants and is highly competitive; therefore, it is very important that we have the full cooperation from each applicant throughout the entire process.

Requirements and Disqualifiers

  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Possess a valid driver’s license or be able to obtain an Indiana driver’s license prior to employment.
  • No felony convictions
  • High school diploma or GED
  • At least 60 college credit hours, OR at least two (2) years of full-time work experience (the work does not have to be in law enforcement), OR military experience.
  • No convictions* for hate crimes
  • No convictions* for domestic violence
  • No dishonorable discharges from any branch of military service
  • Visible tattoos portraying 1) discriminatory, 2) racially prejudicial, 3) sexually obscene/vulgar/sexist/suggestive, 4) gang-related, 5) hate-related, 6) violence and/or 7) death images/messages/symbols are prohibited. No tattoos shall be permitted that shall, in any fashion, diminish the professional image of the Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office, or violate the standards of our non-discrimination, anti-hatred, and fairness policies.
  • No more than five (5) traffic violations in the past five (5) years (does not include parking tickets).
  • No active use of marijuana within the past 12 months. No illegal/unlawful use of other drugs within the past two (2) years.
  • Permanently disqualified from employment if ever engaged in the sale, dealing, or manufacture of controlled substances.
  • May not have a conviction* for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in the past two (2) years and no more than one (1) conviction* in a lifetime.
  • Must live in Vanderburgh County, Indiana, or a contiguous Indiana County.  If not, must agree to relocate to Vanderburgh County Indiana, or a contiguous Indiana County within six (6) months after employment as a deputy sheriff. (Not being a Vanderburgh County resident may preclude deputies from being assigned a take-home car or certain specialty assignments.)
  • Attend and successfully complete a basic law enforcement training course approved by the Indiana Law Enforcement Training Board and our Field Training Program during your first year, if hired.
  • Meet and successfully pass all academic, practical, physical training and retention requirements of the Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office and the Indiana Law Enforcement Training Board
  • Possess the skills, knowledge, and abilities required of all Vanderburgh County sheriff’s deputies, which includes, but is not limited to, a positive attitude, good communication skills, respect for the law, respect for your fellow citizens, and respect for your fellow law enforcement colleagues

NOTE: Applicants must be able to perform all of the essential job functions listed in the enclosed job description.

NOTE: Where indicated with an “*”, the term “conviction” shall include the amendment of a criminal charge (driving under the influence-DUI, etc.) to some other offense. 

NOTE: Compliance with the above-listed disqualifiers and requirements will be verified through a background investigation, which includes a lie-detector exam, for those applicants that advance to the conditional offer stage of the selection process.

Testing and Evaluation

General Information:

The overall process of applying for the position of a merit deputy sheriff is regulated by procedures established by the Sheriff of Vanderburgh County and the Sheriff’s Merit Board in accordance with state law and internal standard operating procedures.

Upon completion of all testing and evaluation, a pool of eligible applicants will be established, which will be valid for a period of one year.

The Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office has an authorized strength of 119 deputy sheriffs. At this time, it is impossible for us to know how many vacancies will occur during the one-year eligibility period. As positions become available, applicants selected from the eligibility pool will be extended a conditional offer of employment. The offer of employment will be conditioned upon the successful completion of all post-offer requirements previously listed. If you are not hired by the time the eligibility period expires and you wish to be considered for a future position, you must apply and complete the selection process when offered again.

Physical Fitness Assessment:

This assessment is the same assessment that the Indiana Law Enforcement Training Board has established as a graduation requirement of all basic students.

The Cooper Institute of Aerobics Research developed the assessment. Their studies have determined the areas and levels of physical fitness, which are necessary for performing the essential functions of a law enforcement officer.

The physical ability assessment consists of five (5) components that will be measured in one day as a battery of tests. Each component is scored separately and the standard must be met on each and everyone in order to pass. All applicants have the same standard, regardless of age, gender, race, or disability. Listed below are the five (5) test components, standards (required score), and the order in which they must be taken:

  1. Vertical Jump. This measures leg power, and it consists of measuring how high a person jumps. Standard-16 inches.
  2. One Minute Sit-Ups. This measures abdominal, or trunk, muscular endurance. While lying on his/her back, the applicant will be given one (1) minute to do as many bent leg sit-ups as possible Standard—29 sit-ups.
  3. 300 Meter Run. This measures anaerobic power, or the ability to make an intense burst of effort for a short time period or distance. This component consists of sprinting 300 meters as fast as possible. Standard-71 seconds.
  4. Maximum Push-Ups. This measures the muscular endurance of the upper body. This component consists of doing as many push-ups as possible until muscular failure. (No time limit, but resting is permitted only in the up position and the back must remain straight during resting. When the applicant elects to stop or cannot continue, the total number of correct push-ups is recorded as the score). Standard-25 push-ups.
  5. 1.5 Mile Run. This measures aerobic power or cardiovascular endurance (stamina over time). To complete this component, the applicant must run/walk, as fast as possible, a distance of 1.5 miles. Standard-16 minutes and 28 seconds.

More information of the physical fitness assessment can be found here.

Entry-Level Written Examination:

The exam will be prepared by a professional testing service and it will consist of four (4)-timed sections. You must achieve a minimum score of at least 70% in each section to pass the exam and proceed to the next phase of the selection process. This exam is designed to measure your general knowledge, skills, and abilities in the areas of basic math, reading comprehension, grammar, and writing, all of which are required of deputy sheriffs. Advanced preparation is not necessary.

Deputy Interview Board:

This board consists of five (5) merit deputy sheriffs of various ranks and assignments from within the sheriff’s office. Each applicant will be asked a series of standard questions and any clarification questions as needed.

Merit Board Interview:

The Merit Board consists of five (5) members and has been established in accordance with applicable Indiana statutes. Each applicant will be asked a series of standard questions and any clarification questions as needed.

Sheriff’s Executive Interview:

Applicants will interview with the Sheriff of Vanderburgh County and his executive commanders as selected by the sheriff.

NOTE: The interviews are formal job interviews (dress appropriately). In each interview, applicants will be asked a series of different, but structured questions, and their responses will be evaluated accordingly. You will also be evaluated on your appearance, demeanor, your ability to follow directions, and the completeness and neatness of your application and related documents. No questions will be provided beforehand and applicants will only be notified as to whether or not they made it to the pool of eligible candidates upon the completion of all applicant interviews.

Pool of Eligible Candidates:

Upon completion of all interviews, applicants will be notified as to whether or not they made it into the pool of candidates. The pool will consist of those applicants that are now considered candidates for future employment as deputy sheriffs. Candidates selected from the pool will be extended a conditional offer of employment (also known as a conditional job offer) when and if positions become available. Employment will be conditioned upon the successful completion of an extensive background investigation. The background investigation is explained in more detail in the next section.

Upon completion of the background investigation, the candidate’s background investigator will submit a report to the Commander of the Administration Division as to the findings of the investigation. These findings will be forwarded to the Sheriff of Vanderburgh County and to the Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Merit Board for final review and consideration. Candidates will be notified as to the decision of the Sheriff and the Merit Board. Candidates with favorable findings will also be notified as to an anticipated swearing-in date.

Background Investigation:

The post-offer background investigation process is a vital part of the overall selection process for determining and selecting the best, qualified persons applying for positions within a law enforcement organization. Since the object of a background investigation is to obtain information relating to the candidate’s suitability (or non-suitability) for law enforcement employment relative to his or her behavioral history and character, the background investigation includes but is not limited to: criminal history (which includes fingerprinting and photographing); driving record; interviews with the candidate, former and current employers, relatives, neighbors, co-workers, and other acquaintances; verification of employment, education and military service records; financial liabilities; psychological evaluation, medical examination, and drug screening and a Computer Voice Stress Analysis (CVSA), which is a type of lie-detector.

Once submitted, all applications, forms, and documents become property of the Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office and they will not be returned.

Benefit Package

The benefits provided to a Vanderburgh County sheriff’s deputy include, but are not limited to:

  • Opportunity to serve in a professional, career-oriented organization
  • Probationary first-year base salary of $58,865 with an increase to $63,865 after the completion of one year of service.
  • Longevity pay
  • Clothing allowance ($1,500)
  • Annual educational bonuses for degrees: associate ($1,000); bachelor ($2,000); master ($4,000); or
  • Annual military bonus of $1,000
  • Shift differential of 3.5% of gross pay for second and third shifts.
  • Choice of health insurance plans
  • Paid life insurance
  • Member-owned retirement plan
  • Option to participate in a deferred compensation savings program
  • Access to a fully-equipped fitness center
  • Approved first-year training program for those veterans with GI Bill education benefits

Physical Fitness Assessment Registration:

The applicant physical fitness assessment is a pass or fail exam. It is based on the physical fitness standards used by the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy to test the fitness level of its basic law enforcement students. In addition to the other requirements that must be met for graduation, basic students at the Academy must successfully pass each component of this exam in order to graduate.

The phyiscal fitness assessment will be scheduled after submitting an application for employment with the Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office. 

On the day of the test, you must provide a valid, government-issued identification card (e.g. driver’s license or identification card) and candidates must submit a completed application before being permitted access to the physical ability assessment.

Questions or Information:

If you have any questions or require further information about the selection process, please contact the administration division at or (812) 421-6203.

Step One

Thoroughly review our list of requirements, disqualifiers, and benefits.

Step Two

Once you have reviewed and fully understand the disqualifiers, click here to download the application packet.

Step Three

The Administration Division will call you to sign up for the next assessment date.

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