2010 Georgia Code
TITLE 15 - COURTS
CHAPTER 16 - SHERIFFS
ARTICLE 1 - GENERAL PROVISIONS
§ 15-16-1 - Intent; requirements; qualifications; training requirements; exemptions

O.C.G.A. 15-16-1 (2010)
15-16-1. Intent; requirements; qualifications; training requirements; exemptions


(a) Intent. The General Assembly declares it to be in the best interests of the citizens of this state that qualifications and standards for the office of sheriff be determined and set so as to improve both the capabilities and training of those persons who hold the office of sheriff. With the increase of crime continuing as a major social problem in this state and with the understanding that the sheriff is the basic law enforcement officer of the several counties of this state, it is declared to be the intent of the General Assembly that proper qualifications and standards be required of the person holding the office of sheriff so as to increase the effectiveness and capabilities of the several sheriffs of this state as law enforcement officers to combat crime.

(b) General requirements. Except as otherwise provided in this Code section, sheriffs are elected, qualified, commissioned, hold their offices for the same term, and are subject to the same disabilities as the clerks of the superior courts.

(c) Qualifications.

(1) No person shall be eligible to hold the office of sheriff unless such person:

(A) At the time of qualifying as a candidate for the office of sheriff is a citizen of the United States;

(B) Has been a resident of the county in which he or she seeks the office of sheriff for at least two years immediately preceding the date of qualifying for election to the office;

(C) At the time of qualifying as a candidate for the office of sheriff is a registered voter;

(D) At the time of qualifying as a candidate for the office of sheriff has attained the age of at least 25 years;

(E) At the time of qualifying as a candidate for the office of sheriff has obtained a high school diploma or its recognized equivalent in educational training as established by the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council;

(F) Has not been convicted of a felony offense or any offense involving moral turpitude contrary to the laws of this state, any other state, or the United States; provided, however, that a plea of nolo contendere to a felony offense or any offense involving moral turpitude contrary to the laws of this state shall have the same effect as a plea of guilty, thereby disqualifying such a person from holding the office of sheriff;

(G) Is fingerprinted and a search made of local, state, and national fingerprint files to disclose any criminal record, which fingerprints are to be taken under the direction of the judge of the probate court and must be taken on or before, but no later than, the close of qualification for election to the office of sheriff;

(H) At the time of qualifying as a candidate for the office of sheriff gives a complete written history of his or her places of residence for a period of six years immediately preceding his or her qualification date, giving the house number or RFD number, street, city, county, and state;

(I) At the time of qualifying as a candidate for the office of sheriff gives a complete written history of his or her places of employment for a period of six years immediately preceding his or her qualification date, giving the period of time employed and the name and address of his or her employer; and

(J) Is a registered peace officer as provided in Code Section 35-8-10 or is a certified peace officer as defined in Chapter 8 of Title 35. Any person who is not a registered or certified peace officer at the time such person assumes the office of sheriff shall be required to complete satisfactorily the requirements for certification as a peace officer as provided in Chapter 8 of Title 35 within six months after such person takes office; provided, however, that an extension of the time to complete such requirements may be granted by the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council upon the presentation of evidence by a sheriff that he or she was unable to complete the basic training course and certification requirements due to illness, injury, military service, or other reasons deemed sufficient by such council. The Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council shall make every effort to ensure that space is available for newly elected sheriffs who are not certified or registered peace officers to attend the course as soon as possible after such persons take office. Such council shall notify the appropriate judge of the probate court whenever a newly elected sheriff who is not certified fails to become certified as a peace officer pursuant to the requirements of this subparagraph.

(2) Each person offering his or her candidacy for the office of sheriff shall, within 60 days prior to or at the time such person qualifies:

(A) File with the officer before whom such person has qualified to seek the office of sheriff a certified copy of his or her birth certificate and a certified copy of his or her high school diploma or certified proof of its recognized equivalent in education training as established by the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council; and

(B) Swear or affirm before the officer before whom such person has qualified to seek the office of sheriff that he or she meets all of the qualifications required by this subsection, except as otherwise provided in subparagraph (J) of paragraph (1) of this subsection, and that he or she has complied with the requirements of subparagraph (G) of paragraph (1) of this subsection no later than the close of qualification for election to the office of sheriff.

(3) Each person offering to run for the office of sheriff and who is otherwise qualified shall be allowed, six months prior to qualifying and at his or her own expense, to attend the basic mandate course for peace officers. The Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council shall work to ensure that space is available for such individuals to attend the course.

(d) Exemption. The requirements of subparagraphs (c)(1)(D), (c)(1)(E), (c)(1)(F), (c)(1)(H), (c)(1)(I), and (c)(1)(J) of this Code section shall be deemed to have been met by any person who is currently serving as a duly qualified and elected sheriff of one of the several counties of this state.

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