The Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee unanimously passed a bill Tuesday morning requiring new sheriffs in the state to become certified as corrections officers.

HB12, sponsored by Rep. Richard Greenwood, R-Roy, is intended reduce the number of lawsuits filed against county sheriffs' offices.

Greenwood said most lawsuits against sheriffs are the result of something that happened in a jail setting and that his bill "makes our sheriffs better qualified to serve the public."

Currently, when a person files to run for sheriff, they are required to show that they have received police training and been certified as a peace officer.

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The proposed legislation would add a requirement that, between the time of election and time of taking office, any newly elected county sheriff complete a 40-hour correctional facility management course.

Greenwood said the course would be available to take in person or online and would teach sheriffs the administrative functions involved in running a jail.

"It's very important that we have people who are well equipped with the knowledge of what can happen," Greenwood said.

The proposal passed unanimously in the House last week and will now go to the full Senate for consideration.