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British Columbia Sheriff Service

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British Columbia Sheriff Service (BCSS) is Law Enforcement agency overseen by the Ministry of Attorney General in the province of British Columbia. Under the authority of the Criminal Code of Canada, B.C. Police Act & B.C. Sheriff Act they are Peace Officers with authority under all federal and provincial acts throughout British Columbia while in the legal execution of their duties. BC Sheriffs provide protection and enforcement duties for the provincial, supreme, and appeal courts of British Columbia, Canada. B.C. Sheriffs provide escort duties, warrant execution and document services, Intelligence and threat assessment services, plainclothes Protective services to those in the justice system or government who are under threat, and BCSS assists local Law Enforcement agencies with addition resources to ensure public safety such as deployments on Canada Day.

British Columbia Sheriff Service
BC Sheriff Badge.png
Wallet Badge of BC Sheriff Service
British Columbia Sheriff Service (badge).jpg
Shoulder Flash
BC Sheriff CoA.jpg
BC Sheriff Service Coat of Arms
Common name Sheriff Service
Abbreviation BCSS
Motto Honour, Integrity, Commitment
Agency overview
Formed 1974
Preceding agencies
  • County Sheriffs (1860)
  • Colonial Sheriffs (1857)
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction British Columbia, Canada
Size 944,735 km2
Population 4,850000
Legal jurisdiction Province of British Columbia
Governing body Ministry of Attorney General
Constituting instrument
Headquarters Victoria, BC

Deputy Sheriffs 455
Civilian employees 15
Elected officer responsible
Agency executive
  • Paul Corrado, Chief Sheriff
Stations 44
B.C. Sheriff Service



Main article: History of British Columbia Sheriffs

The history of the B.C. Sheriffs in our province goes back to the roots of British Columbia. In 1857, Governor James Douglas appointed Andrew Muir to be the first Sheriff of the Colony of Vancouver Island. Sheriff Muir holds the distinction of being the first sworn Peace Officer in what is now the Province of British Columbia. The following year, the Gold Rush brought boom times to British Columbia and Muir had his hands full. He was called upon to quash riots and unlawful assemblies as well as to track down lawbreakers. These duties were in addition to his role as coroner, constable and returning officer during Parliamentary elections. In 1860, the Sheriffs Act was created, and the province was divided into nine counties, each with its own High Sheriff.

Early Sheriffs were called on to perform a variety of duties, in some cases serving as the jailhouse manager, tax collector, government agent and even gold commissioner. It’s no surprise that over the years those jobs became specialized, and the administration of justice evolved, this time into a county court system.

In the early to mid-20th century, the role of Sheriff continued to evolve, with duties ranging depending the area of the province in which they served.  Some of the more interesting roles included serving as justice of the peace, marrying people in civil ceremonies, and raising the ‘hue and cry’ and ‘posse comitatus’ to chase and capture criminals. As late as 1960s, sheriffs were responsible for executing death sentences at the old Okalla prison.

Authority and DutiesEdit

BCSS members are Peace Officers who receive their authority from the Criminal Code, the BC Police Act, the BC Sheriff Act and as such have authority to enforce provincial and federal statutes. They have that authority throughout the Province of British Columbia while on duty.[1]

BCSS members carry out protective and enforcement duties in support of the administration of justice including the protection of the Provincial, Supreme and Appeal Courts of BC, coroner's court, and other official inquiries such as commissions or public hearings.[1] Duties of a Sheriffs officer include planning high security trials, assessing threats towards those employed in the justice system and provincial government, protection of judges, crown prosecutors and those employed by government, managing detention cells, transportation of prisoners by ground and air, manage and provide protection for juries, serve court-related documents, execute court orders, and execute criminal and civil warrants.[2]BCSS will also assist local Law Enforcement agencies with additional resources to ensure public safety such Canada Day deployments.

Rank StructureEdit

  • Deputy Sheriff
  • Sergeant
  • Staff sergeant
  • Staff inspector
  • Superintendent
  • Chief sheriff of operations

The highest ranking sheriff is the director of sheriffs held by the assistant deputy minister.[3]

Recruiting & TrainingEdit

Recruiting of new Sheriff Deputies is handled by the Service's Recruiting & Selection Centre. Applicants must show a safe driving record, pass the Sheriff Officer Physical Abilities Test, and pass a comprehensive background investigation which includes a past-work performance reference check, interview process, enhanced security screening, comprehensive medical examination and voice stress analysis testing.[3]

Recruit training is conducted at the Sheriff Academy of the Justice Institute of British Columbia. Recruits undergo a fourteen-week training program broken into Block I and II. Block I takes place at the Justice Institute in New Westminster and consists of training in driver training, firearms, force options, communications, legal studies, report writing, controlled access points, roles & functions, and physical fitness. In block II, recruits enter the field under the direction of a training officer, who will also complete an evaluation. In order for a recruit to progress to deputy sheriff, they must successfully complete both block I & II.[4]

Specialized UnitsEdit

Specialized Units such as the Integrated Threat Assessment Unit (ITAU) have duties including assessing threats towards government and public officials, gathering intelligence and working in integrated partnerships with other Law Enforcement agencies to assess and manage intelligence. ITAU also manages and assists with operational planning. The Protective Operations Unit, overseen by ITAU, whose mandate includes the protection of individuals who may be at risk due to the nature of their work, have received inappropriate communications, have been threatened, or have been identified as requiring protection. Protective Operations members receive highly advanced training in close quarter protection and operate as a plain clothes unit. Protective Operations may include infrastructure and vulnerability assessments, personal protection, transport operations, residential, site, and special event protection.[5]

Members of BCSS are embedded at several Integrated provincial agencies including R.T.I.C. (Real Time Intelligence Centre) whose primary role is to track and monitor organized crime, gangs and other groups in the province, real time crimes in progress and direct threats to public safety including terrorism related events throughout the province.[6]

Specialized Units also execute outstanding warrants on persons wanted in other Provincial jurisdictions and escort those persons back to other Canadian jurisdictions (Con Air Program). These specialized operations include members operating in plain clothes with enhanced training and experience related to this specific detail. BCSS members also fly to other provincial jurisdictions arrest and return fugitives wanted in British Columbia.[7]

Sheriff Ceremonial Unit

The BCSS Ceremonial Unit is composed of serving and retired sworn members of the Service. The unit represent BCSS at funerals, ceremonial events, parades, special functions for government and graduation ceremonies for Sheriffs Academy recruit classes. Members participate on a voluntary basis.[1]


  1. ^ a b c About the B.C. Sheriff Services "About the B.C. Sheriff Services" Check |url= value (help). Government of British Columbia. Retrieved 6 May 2018. 
  2. ^ "Deputy Sheriff Position Description" (PDF). Government of British Columbia. Retrieved 6 May 2018. 
  3. ^ a b "Deputy Sheriff Career Opportunities". Government of British Columbia. Retrieved 6 May 2018. 
  4. ^ "Sheriff Academy". Justice Institute of British Columbia. Retrieved 6 May 2018. 
  5. ^ "B.C. Sheriff Services - Integrated Threat Assessment Unit (ITAU)". Government of British Columbia. Retrieved 6 May 2018. 
  6. ^ "RCMP RTIC Presentation". City of Maple Ridge. Retrieved 6 May 2018. 
  7. ^ BCSS return wanted fugitives. 2009 World Police & Fire Games. Retrieved 15 November 2008. Archived 20 September 2008 at the Wayback Machine.

External linksEdit