229 – Seniority, Bids, and Transfers

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The purpose of this policy is to define the requirements for conducting transfers of employees of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO).


Classification- The title of an individual position in the classified service and also the process by which the proper title and pay level for each position are determined. [Civil Service Regulation 2.03]

Seniority-Refers to years, months, and days gained by an employee through length of service within a given classification, organizational unit, or total service with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office. [Civil Service Regulation 2.32]

Bid Process– Administrative mechanism by which employees systematically choose shifts, days off, assignment, or holidays or combination of such in order of a predetermined priority.

Entry-Level Position- (1) For a peace officer: the rank of deputy; (2) For civilians: those levels with the base pay grade within specific position titles listed by the Human Engagement & Resources Division.

Probationary Period- Length of time during which an employee is on trial (working test period) and is expected to prove his complete fitness for his position; an employee may be in a probationary period after his original appointment, after transfer, after promotion, and/or for disciplinary reasons. [Civil Service Regulation 2.25]


Seniority, shift bids, and transfers will be established in an unbiased manner consistent with the Harris County Sheriff’s Civil Service Commission and the best interests of the HCSO.

Each bureau of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) may conduct a bid at the direction of the Sheriff, his or her designee, or the Bureau Commander. The bid process will be unbiased. An employee may be exempt from the bid only at the discretion of the Sheriff, his or her designee, or the Bureau Commander, and only if it’s in the best interest of the HCSO.


Harris County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) seniority will be defined by the Harris County Sheriff’s Civil Service Commission Regulations. Whenever seniority is used as a factor, one of the following must be used:

  1. Length of service within a given classification,
  2. Length of service within an organizational unit, or
  3. Length of service since initial date of hire with the HCSO.

If an employee is transferred regardless if it was voluntary or involuntary.  They will not lose original seniority if they return.

Length of service since initial date of hire must be continuous. The employee’s most recent date of hire will be used for seniority purposes.

NOTE: Service with outside agencies, including other Harris County agencies, does not count towards seniority.

Bid Process

Each bureau of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) may conduct a bid at the direction of the Sheriff, his or her designee, or the Bureau Commander. The Sheriff has selected Date of Hire as the primary seniority date for all Bureaus.

Announcements to initiate the bidding process must be set forth in writing, and at a minimum of a 30 day notice in order to allow all to participate.

The affected bureau must compile a seniority list of affected employees in order of date of hire.

Each affected employee must be given a scheduled date and time, prioritized by the earliest date of hire, to request their preferred schedule.

An alternative means must be provided for those employees unable to physically attend.

Bids will be collected and compared. An employee’s bid will be fulfilled if it matches a vacancy in the Bureau’s schedule and there is no competition. If there are multiple bids for the same vacancy:

  1. Selection for each vacancy will be determined by seniority, an employee with the earliest date of hire will be given preference.
  2. If multiple employees have the same date of hire, the date of their assignment to the Bureau will take precedence.
  3. If multiple employees have the same date of hire, and date of assignment, their classification date will be considered.
  4. If multiple employees are still equal on all points, the employee with the lower identification number (EIN) will take precedence.


Types of Transfers

There are two different categories of transfers:

Involuntary Transfers

Involuntary transfers are conducted at the discretion of the Sheriff, his or her designee, or the Bureau Commander, and must be in the best interests of the HCSO.

Voluntary Transfers

Voluntary transfers are requested at the employee’s own discretion.

Voluntary Transfer Process

Voluntary transfers conducted within the same bureau are done at the discretion of the bureau’s commander and in accordance with that bureau’s standard operating procedures.

Voluntary transfers for open positions posted by the Human Engagement & Resources Division (H.E.A.R.D.) must meet the requirements outlined in the posting for that position. H.E.A.R.D. will review applicants’ qualifications to determine if the minimum requirements listed for the position are met by the employee’s application.

Upon confirming eligibility, H.E.A.R.D. will refer applications to the hiring bureau, division, section or unit. The Bureau Commander, or his or her designee, will interview candidates and make a selection of the best qualified candidate for a particular position.

To be eligible for transfer, employees must:

  1. Be in active status,
  2. Not have any outstanding obligations in their current position,
  3. Have served at least six months of continuous duty following their original date of hire or transfer date to a new position.

NOTE: The Sheriff or his or her designee, in the interest of the HCSO, may waive this requirement.

Not have received an evaluation scored lower than 20, for non-supervisory personnel, or lower than a combined score of 30 for supervisory personnel within the last 12 months.

An employee shall not be eligible for voluntary transfer, or to make application for transfer, for twelve (12) months following the receipt of an evaluation score lower than twenty (20) for non-supervisory personnel or lower than a combined score of thirty (30) for supervisory personnel, or until they receive an evaluation with a satisfactory score.

An employee shall not be eligible for transfer, or to make application for transfer, during any period that he or she

  1. Is on probation (new hire/ promotional/ disciplinary); [Civil Service Regulation 8.01]
  2. Is currently in a new assignment where it was explained before accepting the position, a minimum commitment of tenure was required.  The commitment of tenure may be waived by the Sheriff, current Bureau Commander, or their designee.

If an employee is currently under investigation, his or her disciplinary history will be reviewed.  The Sheriff, or his or her designee, will review each case individually and make a determination.

At-fault fleets that occur involving the operation of a county vehicle shall not exclude deputies from making application for transfer or interviewing for any listed available job postings.

Submission of a transfer application by an employee in response to an open position posting neither implies nor ensures the transfer will be granted.  All transfers will be decided based on

  1. The needs and the best interest of the HCSO, and
  2. The requirements of the Bureau, division, section or unit to which a transfer is requested.

All transfers shall carry 180 days probation to determine his or her suitability for the assignment to which he or she has been transferred. [Civil Service Regulation 8.02]

Should the employee fail to complete their transfer probation successfully, the employee may be reassigned to any open assignment or position based on the needs of the HCSO. The Supervisor will then provide documentation to justify the employees’ separation from that position. [Civil Service Regulation 17.02]

Open Position Posting and Selection for all employees [CALEA Standards 31.3.1 & 11.5.1]

H.E.A.R.D. shall publish an open position advertising to all employees of a vacant position on the HCSO Intranet.

The open position posting will include [CALEA Standard 31.3.1 a]

  1. A job summary and purpose of a specific assignment,
  2. The minimum qualifications required and any preferred qualifications,
  3. All documents requested,
  4. The deadline for submission of the requested documents to H.E.A.R.D., and [CALEA Standard 31.3.1 d]
  5. The candidate interview process information. Applicants who do not meet the minimum qualifications for transfer will not be interviewed or considered for a position. [CALEA Standard 11.5.1 c]
  6. Open position postings shall be published on the HCSO Intranet H.E.A.R.D. section titled “Job Postings” for a minimum of ten (10) business days. [CALEA Standard 31.3.1 b]
  7. Applicants responding to an open position posting shall submit an online application, including all requested documentation, to H.E.A.R.D. within the specified time frame.  Late, inaccurate, or incomplete applications will not be considered.
  8. Upon the closing of an open position posting, H.E.A.R.D. shall review applications based on predetermined criteria to determine candidates’ suitability for the job.
  9. Qualified candidates shall be referred to the Bureau Commander or Hiring Manager for interviews.
  10. H.E.A.R.D shall coordinate with Bureau Commander or his/her designee or hiring manager to review interview questions and participate in proctoring interviews.

Transfer of non-sworn personnel to Commissioned Peace Officer Procedure

Refer to policy 224

Transfer of Licensed Personnel to Entry-Level Deputy Procedure

Refer to policy 224

Transfer of Deputy Personnel to Patrol (Gateway) Procedure

The Transfer to Patrol procedure applies to commissioned deputies who wish to transfer to the Patrol Bureau. 

Eligibility Requirements

  1. Must meet all general requirements for Transfer within this policy,
  2. An employee shall not be eligible for transfer, or to make application for transfer to Patrol for twelve (12) months following a previous failed attempt to complete the PPD (Probationary Patrol Deputy) program.
  3. Must be a full-time employee,
  4. Must successfully
    • Pass the HCSO Physical Abilities Test Battery (PAT)
    • Pass Firearms Qualification
    • Complete Precision Driving Skills Test
  5. If an applicant fails any part of the eligibility requirements, he or she will be dismissed from continuing with the process. The applicant shall wait six (6) months to apply and restart the process.

Application Process

The Probationary Patrol Deputy (PPD) / Gateway will be posted by the H.E.A.R.D. Recruitment Unit.

Applicant shall successfully complete all required testing.

PAT test results are valid only for one year. 

Physical Abilities Test Battery (PAT)

NOTE:  There will be no variations of any testing procedures due to a candidate’s gender, age, or physical condition.

Any practice attempts are performed solely at the discretion of the deputy.  The deputy has the responsibility to request a practice attempt if one is desired.

  1. 1.5 Mile Run: The candidate shall run a designated course that has been calibrated for 1.5 miles. The maximum allotted time for this run is no longer than twenty minutes (20:00). The result shall be documented by time and as pass or fail.
  2. Dummy Drag: The candidate will be required to drag a 165 pound dummy (simulated human) in a rearward fashion for a total of sixty (60) feet with a time limit of 90 seconds.  Candidates will be allowed no more than two attempts to successfully pass this test.

Firearms Qualification:

Applicants must successfully complete the Firearms Qualification Course with no more than three (3) attempts allowed within a 30-day period.  Two of those attempts will be provided on the first testing date.  If candidate fails two attempts on the first testing date, he/she will have an opportunity for a third (3rd) attempt within 30 days.

Deputy candidates shall follow HCSO Department Policy #702 – Firearms Control, Qualifications, and Training, all range rules, and all instructions given by range personnel. 

Passing qualifications are valid for one (1) year.

Precision Driving Skills Test

Applicants must complete precision driving gateway within five (5) minutes or less.  The gateway, which must be negotiated without striking any cones, involves a short precision driving course designed to test the deputy’s ability to safely operate a patrol vehicle while:

  1. Driving straight and communicating via the police radio;
  2. Executing turning movements; and Backing
  3. Successfully complete the Probationary Patrol Deputy Training Program.

All personnel transferring to the Patrol Bureau must make a commitment to Patrol for a minimum of two (2) years.  The deputy’s commitment starts after his/her successful completion of the Field Training Program.

Eligibility Lists

Human Resources will compile an ongoing list of eligible candidates who will be scheduled to attend the PPD Program.

Executive Administration will determine the number of employees assigned to attend a scheduled PPD program.

Ranking of the eligibility list will be based on applicants HCSO seniority date.

Failure to complete Probationary Patrol Deputy Training program

If a Probationary Patrol Deputy (PPD) who is a Lateral, Gateway or BPOC graduate on Field Training, voluntarily withdraws from or fails the Field Training Program due to performance, that employee may be terminated. Should a decision be made for continued employment, the employee may be removed from Deputy Classification and will be provided the opportunity to be employed as a Detention Officer. [Refer to Civil Service 16.05]


            Department policy 224

            Civil Service Regulations

            CALEA Standard


This policy has been revised on the below listed dates:

August 14, 2009                   November 20, 2015                         November 12, 2018

August 3, 2010                     April 20, 2016                                   February 15, 2019

January 5, 2011                   July 29, 2016                                    July 19, 2019

July 24, 2013                        December 14, 2016                         January 29, 2021

August 27, 2015                   August 25, 2017

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