Legislative Program Review and Investigations Committee

Connecticut Sheriffs System
Chapter II

Chapter Two
Fiscal and Staffing Information


The primary source of funding for sheriffs’ activities related to administration, court security, and prisoner transportation is the state General Fund.  It provides money for the salaries of high sheriffs, chief deputy sheriffs, and administrative staff.  It also pays all per diems for special deputy sheriffs.  In FY 99, expenditures totaled $24.6 million for approximately 800 full-time equivalent personnel.

Money for the work of deputy sheriffs is paid in the form of fees by those who request or are the recipients of the work.  Last year 245 deputy sheriffs reported $12.8 million in gross income.

General Funds

The budget appropriated to the Office of the County Sheriffs is based on data obtained from the eight high sheriffs and the Judicial Department. Information about the addition of new facilities or renovations to existing courthouses is an important factor  in developing staffing requirements.

The Office of the County Sheriffs uses the same budget forms and follows the same process as any other state agency.  Permanent full-time central office staff prepares all budget documents, the chairperson of the Sheriffs' Advisory Board signs the actual request, and copies of the document are given to the other members of the board.  The budget request is submitted to the Office of Policy and Management (OPM); the Appropriations Committee reviews the governor's recommendation.  The actual appropriation is contained in the budget adopted by the full legislature.

The sheriffs’ budget lists expenditures for courthouse security, prisoner transportation, and support services, but it does not break out spending by county.  Table II-1 shows statewide fiscal information from state FY 94 through FY 01.  During the period from FY  94 through FY 99, the last year for which actual expenditures are available, the budget increased 40 percent. [2]

As is the case for most state agencies, payments for fringe benefits such as health insurance and pensions are made by the comptroller's office out of its budget.  In addition, the state's share of social security payments, unemployment insurance, and workers compensation for both General Fund employees and special deputy sheriffs are paid by the comptroller.  

The breakdown of the funds and staff for each county occurs after the Office of the County Sheriffs receives its allocation for the new fiscal year. A spending plan is prepared using equal staffing levels throughout the year, but allocations are made bi-weekly.  Actual expenditures are tracked after each payroll, and office staff follow-up on spending that is above or below the allocation.  New initiatives are also monitored.  

       TABLE II-1.  General Fund Budget Data for Office of the County Sheriffs,

State Fiscal Years 1994 - 2001 (in millions).



FY 94


FY 95


FY 96


FY 97


FY 98

Actual FY 99

Approp FY 00

Approp FY 01

Courthouse security









Prisoner transport









Support services


















Percent Change from previous year’s budget
















 *  Numbers in columns may not total exactly due to rounding.


Sources of data: Office of Fiscal Analysis and Office of the County Sheriffs.

Based on the money available, each high sheriff decides how many special deputies can be used on a given day.  Staffing levels can change during the year in response to the requirements at the various courthouses.  Each county is limited to a specified number of supervisory positions payable at the supervisor’s per diem rate.  (Deputy sheriffs do not receive money from the Office of the County Sheriffs budget unless they perform security or prisoner transportation functions at a courthouse.)

Funds for supplies and equipment are handled through the central office.  Each county is budgeted a certain amount each year, but there is flexibility to shift funds between counties if a need arises.  Funds for items such as  "motor vehicle repairs" and "rentals" (vans obtained from the state central fleet when assigned vehicles are in for repairs) are managed centrally.

Table II-2 shows state FY 99 expenditures for personnel, training, and other expenses for the individual counties as well as the central office.  Expenditures for Hartford and New Haven counties are higher because each operates a 24-hour per day, seven day per week, lock-up facility.


TABLE II-2.  State FY 99 County Expenditures, by Category.




Salaried & Gen. Fund Personnel


Special Deputy Per Diems


Other Expenses1

Training, Vaccinations, & Testing




























New Haven






New London


















Ctrl. Office


Not Applicable










1  Includes items such as motor vehicle related costs, supplies, laundry, travel, etc.

2  Includes cost of academy training conducted for special deputy sheriffs from all counties.


Source of data:  Office of the County Sheriffs.

Staffing By County

Including the high sheriffs, the chief deputy sheriffs, the central office staff, and the administrative staff assigned to each county, there were 41 permanent positions assigned to the sheriffs system in the FY 00 budget. As of December 1999, eight positions were vacant, including two added for FY 00.

Thirteen positions are assigned to the central office located in Hartford, including four of the vacant positions.  Each county also has at least one person assigned to a courthouse to handle administrative work for the high sheriff.  In New Haven, two people currently work at courthouses.  Two of the new positions are designated to provide an additional person in Hartford and Fairfield counties.  New London county is also authorized for two positions, but both have been vacant for some time.

Table II-3 lists the number of people holding appointments as deputy and special deputy sheriffs in each county.  The number of special deputy sheriffs actually working on a typical day (shown in column four) is lower than the number listed in column three because some appointees only work a few days per week or an as needed basis.  

TABLE II-3.  Sheriffs And Staff By County, 1999.




No. Deputy Sheriff Appointees

(Nov. 1, 1999)

No. Special Deputy Sheriff Appointees (October 1999)

FTE Special Deputies Working1

















New Haven




New London
















 1    Full-time equivalent (FTE) workers, based on those working at courthouses November 1999.


 * Includes operation of a 24-hour jail facility.


  Sources of data:  Individual high sheriffs and the Office of the County Sheriffs.

Deputy Sheriff Income

The major categories of income for sheriffs authorized to serve papers are: statutory salaries, which only apply to high sheriffs and chief deputy sheriffs; per diem fees for security work at courthouses, which only the chief deputy sheriffs and a few deputy sheriffs earn; fees from service of process; wage, bank, and property executions; and collection of delinquent taxes.  Table II-4 lists the number of people reporting income from each source as well as the range and median earnings for each category. [3]

The primary factors affecting income are the specific types of work performed, the volume of work done, and the costs incurred to perform the work.  During calendar year 1998, the high sheriffs and deputy sheriffs reported a total of $12.8 million in gross revenue from all sources for their work as sheriffs.  Total net income (gross income minus reported expenses) of $7.5 million was reported.  

TABLE II-4.  Major Sources of Income for High Sheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs,

 Self-Reported for Calendar Year 1998.



Type of income

No. reporting earnings in category

Sum of reported earnings


Range of reported earnings

Median value of reported earnings

Service of process



$185 - $239,122


Wage, bank, and property executions



$20 - $92,006


Tax collections



$42 - $120,119


Salary & court attendance*



$325 - $38,008





$435 - $60,013



*  Includes statutory salaries paid to high sheriffs and chief deputy sheriffs.


Source of data: Individual income reports for calendar year 1998 filed with the State Ethics Commission.

            Sixteen percent of those who filed reports with the State Ethics Commission grossed less than $10,000; 13 percent grossed more than $100,000.  The gross income of the 245 sheriffs reporting earnings for 1998 ranged from $100 to $337,385 with a median of $41,115.  The gross income (including statutory salary) reported by the eight individuals holding office as high sheriffs in 1998 ranged from $39,061 to $125,935.  

            Information about expenses related to the performance of a person's official duties as a sheriff must also be reported.  According to the instructions on the reporting form, the figure is supposed to include "proportionate amounts" for employee expenses, office expenses, and transportation expenses.  Actual expenses listed in the calendar year 1998 reports ranged from $0 to $140,088; the median was $14,092.  Net income ranged from a loss of $3,945 to a profit of $205,758.  Median net income statewide was $22,831.

            Six percent of the sheriffs filing reports had net losses, while the top 6 percent had net earnings of more than $80,000 each.  Almost three-quarters (71 percent) had net incomes below $40,000.  

            Expenses reported by the eight high sheriffs ranged from $1,963 to $49,505.  Net income reported by the eight individuals who were high sheriffs in 1998 ranged from $37,098 to $76,430.  

            The amount of money earned by deputy sheriffs varied considerably within and among the eight counties.  Table II-5 shows the range of gross earnings and the range of expenses reported by those filing reports from each county.  The table also indicates the median annual gross income and the median net income in each county and statewide.  

               TABLE II-5.  Self-Reported Income of High Sheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs

for Calendar Year 1998, by County.




No. of Sheriffs Reporting Income


Range of Gross Income *


Range of Reported Expenses

Median Gross Income

Median Net Income



$2,603 - $187,084

$1,963 - $74,486





$451 - $253,378

$175 - $140,088





$185 - $72,605

$25 - $19,294





$100 - $66,824

$600 - $36,294



New Haven


$635 - $337,385

$0 - $136,043



New London


$4,051 - $93,562

$1,930 - $46,543





$1,160 - $137,571

$283 - $25,105





$6,155 - $73,612

$3,301 - $36,703





$100 - $337,385

$0 - $140,088



*  Only includes those who reported income; five other people filed forms, but had no income as sheriffs.

** The amounts reported are only for work as a sheriff.  This includes statutory salaries, per diem fees for security work at courthouses, service of process, executions (wage, bank, and property), and collection of taxes.


Source of data:  Individual income reports for calendar year 1998 filed with the State Ethics Commission.


[2] During this same period, total General Fund expenditures increased 19 percent.  Judicial Department expenditures increased 59 percent, Department of Correction expenditures increased 20 percent, and Department of Public Safety expenditures increased 27 percent.

 [3] All of the information about deputy sheriffs' income in this section is from the calendar year 1998 reports filed with the State Ethics Commission as of October 1999.  Reports were filed by 250 individuals, but five had no income.  The program review committee staff analysis is based on the information self-reported by the 245 individuals with gross incomes above zero.  (Gross income is the total amount of income reported as received for work as a sheriff.)  Data for three filers who did not fully break down their income by category were not included in Table II-4, but were included in all other analyses in the section.

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