California remains one of the highest-paying states in the nation for court bailiffs, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These law enforcers earn an average annual salary of nearly $50,000, according to current employment data. Top officials bring home yearly wages greater than $73,000. Maintaining order in Los Angeles’ courts of law is an occupation Joe Langill, a graduate of Rio Hondo College’s Police Academy, approaches with diligent purpose.

(Photo Courtesy of Joe Langill)

(Photo Courtesy of Joe Langill)

“You need to have an understanding of all criminal procedures conducted in a court,” said Langill, a deputy sheriff at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, who serves as a bailiff. In addition to earning an associate degree in criminal justice at Citrus College, Langill holds basic, intermediate and advanced Peace Officer Basic Training certificates.

How does one secure a sound career in law enforcement?

“A good career in L.A.’s criminal justice system starts with integrity and a strong desire to help others.”

What prompted you to enter the criminal justice system?

“I have always had a strong desire to help people. I also enjoy having to act quickly on my feet to different situations that arise on the job.”

What was your previous occupation?

“I was actually teaching physical education at a private school and taking criminal justice classes at night.”

How are your academic achievements working for you?

“One obvious benefit of gaining a higher education is you start out with a higher entry pay. In addition, college education gives you a better understanding of how the criminal justice system works, at least theoretically.”

What are you doing to further enhance your skills?

“At this point in my 25-year-long career, most of my skills and knowledge are continually being developed on the job while interacting with the many different people from many walks of life.”

What is your message to aspiring bailiffs?

“A bailiff has many responsibilities, such as providing protection for judges and enforcing the law and rules of the court. People will look to you as a person of authority in court. Therefore, understand the position thoroughly and conduct yourself in a professional manner.”

Sharon Raiford Bush is an award-winning journalist. Some news articles she has authored are archived by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

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