Court liaison officers are non-sworn members of police departments who, in the towns or cities in which they work, support district attorneys and courts. Some court liaisons are responsible for certain type of legal proceedings, such as juvenile court appearances while others provide general support in a variety of legal proceedings, including sentencing, probation and family court.
As a court liaison officer, you perform a range of administrative duties. You may review paperwork and court filings before a hearing or trial, share information between your police department and district attorneys or other court officers and make sure that police personnel are prepared to testify or present evidence in court when needed. You also keep your department up to date on relevant court proceedings.You may be responsible for writing press releases announcing outcomes of court cases that involve members of your department.
You may perform a range of duties unrelated to your administrative court responsibilities. For example, court liaison officers who work in Fullerton, Calif., maintain a registry of permits that the city's Business Registration Division issues, such as those for massage technicians, exotic dancers and pawn brokers. They also register resident and transient criminal sex offenders. Some court liaison officers in Clark County, Nev., train new employees while those in East Stroudsburg, Pa., help maintain and organize police files.
Education and Experience
Most police departments will weigh your education and experience together when determining your qualifications to work as a court liaison officer. For example, in Clark County, you need to have the equivalent to a four-year degree in criminal justice, psychology or sociology and one-year relevant work experience. Since the department counts one year of education as one year of experience, having an associate’s degree and three years of relevant experience is the same as having a bachelor’s degree and one year of relevant experience. Similarly, the Stroud Area Regional Police Department wants its court liaison officers to have at least a high school diploma and three years relevant experience or any equivalent combination of education and experience. How much education and experience you must have will vary by department.
You will need a valid driver’s license and clean driving record. You must also pass a pre-employment screening, which will likely include a background check and drug test. You should be well-versed in criminal and court proceedings, able to write concise reports and willing to work a flexible schedule. Some departments may require you to earn specialized certification. In Fullerton, court liaison officers must be, or be able to obtain within six months of being hired, certified as a California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System database user and as National Crime Information Center database user.
William Henderson has been writing for newspapers, magazines and journals for more than 15 years. He served as editor of the "New England Blade" and is a former contributor to "The Advocate." His work has also appeared on The Good Men Project, Life By Me and The Huffington Post.