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British Columbia Sheriff Service

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British Columbia Sheriff Service (BCSS) traces its roots to the first Sheriff appointed by Governor James Douglas in 1857 for the Colony of Vancouver Island in what is now British Columbia, Canada. Governor Douglas appointed Andrew Muir who derived his authority from English common law and who holds the distinction of being the first sworn Peace Officer in what is now the Province of British Columbia. The modern BCSS was formed after a consolidation of County Sheriffs by the New Democratic government in 1974, and placed under the Ministry of the Attorney General.

British Columbia Sheriff Service
Common name Sheriff Service
Abbreviation BCSS
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
Motto Honour, Integrity, Commitment
Agency overview
Formed 1974; inception 1857
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction* Province of British Columbia, Canada
Size 944,735 km2
Population 4,622,000
Legal jurisdiction Province of British Columbia
Governing body Ministry of Justice
Constituting instrument Sheriff Act and Police Act
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters Victoria, BC
Deputy Sheriffs 455
Civilian employees 5
Elected officer responsible The Honourable David Eby, Minister of Justice and Attorney General
Agency executive Paul Corrado, Executive Director & Chief Sheriff
Stations 44[1]
Patrol cars Crown Victoria Police Interceptors Chevrolet Suburban Police Chevrolet Tahoe Police special Chevrolet Express Van Police package Ford E - series Van Police package
B.C. Sheriff Service
* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.


Scope of authorityEdit

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 legislated authority to enforce provincial and federal statutes that refer to the empowerment of Peace Officers, they have authority throughout the Province of British Columbia.


BCSS members carry out protective and enforcement duties in support of the administration of Justice. Responsibilities include the protection of the Provincial, Supreme and Appeal Courts of BC, planning high security trials, utilizing Special Operations Teams, Intelligence Unit, assessing threats towards those employed in the Justice system and B.C 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, execute criminal and civil warrants, and manage Coroner's courts. Highly specialized training has been provided to some BCSS members who are trained in the collection and handling of DNA samples and fingerprints taken under court order from named person(s) and whose samples are in turn then transferred to the Canadian National DNA Data Bank in Ottawa.


Recruiting of new Sheriff Deputies is handled by the Service's Recruiting and Selection Unit. Applicants must meet and pass provincial standards, several interview processes - panel interview, lifestyle and integrity questionnaire interview & investigation and a polygraph / computer voice stress analyzer interview - criminal record and background checks, physical fitness testing, driver testing, vision testing and a pre-employment medical.


Recruit training is conducted at the Sheriff Academy of the Justice Institute of British Columbia. Recruits undergo an intensive 16-week training program broken into Block I, Block II, Block III and consists of training in Legal Studies, Report Writing, Force Response Options, Arrest & Control techniques, Physical Fitness, Communications, Dress & Deportment, Emergency Operation / Driving training and Roles and Responsibilities. BCSS members are trained to provincial standards in the use of force options tools, including pistols, expandable batons, OC pepper spray, CEW tasers, Colt C8 assault rifle (carbine) and Heckler & Koch G36 5.56×45mm assault rifle. BCSS members receive ongoing training in active shooter scenarios and team deployments. BCSS members are also qualified to provincial standards in Emergency vehicle operation, crowd management, Incident command system, first aid and they can be deployed during civil emergencies under the Provincial Emergency Program (PEP) to assist other Law Enforcement agencies with public safety.

The Sheriff Academy is situated at the Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC) which is located in New Westminster, B.C. The Sheriff Academy is one of the founding members of the Institute which was opened in 1978 and provides public safety training to all levels of first responders. The Academy and JIBC are world class leaders in the training of Law Enforcement Officers. The JIBC has a wide range of facilities to meet the training needs of all agencies; including classrooms, lecture halls, simulation rooms, firing range, fitness training facilities, gymnasium, driving track and is supported by a large variety of high tech services. The JIBC ensures all Law Enforcement Officers are provided and meet provincial standards of training thereby providing consistency and best practices for all agencies.

Advanced TrainingEdit

BCSS members continue the training and skill enhancement process after their initial recruit training program. Members receive advanced training in Media Management, Motorcade training, Communications Skills, Controlled Access Points, Command Level Incident Command, Managing Targeted Violence, Infrastructure Vulnerability Assessment training, Legal Studies Refresher course, Communications Tactics and Radio Communications, Drug Identification, Notebook and Advanced Report Writing, Basic Criminal Investigation/Contact & Cover, Gangs course, Corruption Integrity and Compromise course, Force Response Options, Euthanization of Wildlife, Intelligence Officer Level 1 course and Threat Awareness. BCSS members are encouraged to avail themselves of a larger range of Law Enforcement related courses offered by the BC Justice Institute or through partnerships with other Police agencies.

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.

Special Operations Group Members are trained for High Security deployments. These members are highly specialized in motorcade operations, enhanced site protection (search gates), counter surveillance and rely upon elevated operational equipment ( carbines) to protect high security operational sites.

Warrant Apprehension Unit (WAU); The primary function of the Warrant Apprehension Unit is to locate and apprehend persons wanted on outstanding criminal warrants in British Columbia. Once arrested the wanted person(s) are brought back before the Court of jurisdiction.

Provincial Integrated Intelligence Units; 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 OMG groups in the province, real time crimes in progress and direct threats to public safety including terrorism related events throughout the province.

The Protective Operations Unit (POU), 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.

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.[2]

Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia

In 2009, BCSS took on the responsibility for the escort of the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia. BCSS members are specially trained to drive and protect the LG during public appearances.

Sheriffs Provincial Operations Centre (S.P.O.C.)Edit

Sheriffs Provincial Operations Centre (S.P.O.C.) houses the provincial radio communications and dispatch centre for the British Columbia Sheriff Service. S.P.O.C. is also the centralized hub for Canadian Police Information Centre (C.P.I.C.) operations for BCSS. S.P.O.C. also manages Provincial Fleet Operations (P.F.O) and manages the Sheriffs Fugitive Return Program planning and deployments. The lower mainland Regional Escort Unit operates out of this Centre and moves thousands of accused and convicted persons per year.

Fugitive Return ProgramEdit

This program is funded by the Civil Forfeiture Office within the BC government. On 15 February 2012, the Government of BC, the RCMP, all BC Municipal Police Agencies, and the BC Sheriff Service signed a Memorandum of Understanding which led to the establishment of a protocol governing the program. Under the program members of BCSS work alongside other B.C. Law Enforcement partners to remove persons with outstanding warrants from other Canadian provinces and return the wanted persons to the province of jurisdictions.

Rank structureEdit

Sheriff Ceremonial Unit

The BCSS Ceremonial Unit (C.U.) was formed in 2004 and is composed of serving and retired sworn members of the Service. The primary role of the C.U. is to represent BCSS at all funerals, ceremonial events, parades, special functions for government and graduation ceremonies for Sheriffs Academy recruit classes. The C.U's goal is to elevate the professional image of the Service, to act as ambassadors for the Attorney General & Solicitor General and to raise awareness of the Sheriff Service.

Members volunteer countless hours to the C.U. to participate in drill practice and to preserve the history and role of our Service through this important endeavour. Members are selected for this duty because they are highly motivated and have high a degree of deportment. Dedication is required by C.U. members who are called upon to attend events all over the province often on weekends or on off time.

The C.U. was granted its official colours which were consecrated in September 2014 and is carried by the Units colour party when it is deemed appropriate. The colour party will carry the Canadian, British Columbia and BCSS flag as required. The C.U. colour party is guarded by members carrying ceremonial rifles and act as "Guardians of the colours".

The C.U. has a distinctive high neck tunic adorned by red and gold, a lace red / gold belt, gold lace rank insignia, gold lace service stars and a red stripe is prominent on the uniform pants. Ceremonial appointments only wear their rank insignia while performing duties related to ceremonial occasions and only exercise their authority in relation to ceremonial occasions. The High neck tunic, red and gold accents and red stripe on the pants are symbolic of our British heritage and our historic connection to our roots as Peace Officers and Sheriffs of the United Kingdom. The unit is led by the Services Sergeant Major who guides and instructs both the C.U. and the Service on matters of protocol and uniform deportment.


  1. ^ Recruit Training Package
  2. ^ BCSS members are also mandated to fly to other provincial jurisdictions arrest and return wanted fugitives to British Columbia. 2009 World Police & Fire Games. Retrieved 15 November 2008. Archived 20 September 2008 at the Wayback Machine.

External linksEdit