HARRISBURG - In an ongoing effort to provide added professionalism to the office of sheriff, the Pennsylvania Sheriffs Association, working in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Local Government Commission, the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, reached one of its goals when House Bill 1772, now Act 114 of 2014, was signed July 9.

The association has been working on legislation to provide training for sheriffs and a certification and decertification process. Act 114 provides training, waiver training and continuing education for sheriffs and deputy sheriffs throughout the state. This training is at no cost to taxpayers, but instead is funded by a portion of the fees collected by the sheriff's office on legal documents they serve.

"There was a time in Pennsylvania when many of the individuals elected to the office of sheriff had no law enforcement background, but that simply isn't the case anymore," said executive director Bob Wollyung. "Now, all but a handful of sheriffs are either former deputies or police officers, former chiefs of police or former members of the state police. This legislation recognizes those changes."

Ray Gerringer, current president of the sheriffs association, credits the work of people "behind the scenes" in getting the law enacted. "This will go a long way to show that sheriffs and their deputies have a legitimate place among the law enforcement agencies of this commonwealth," he said.