Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore the antecedents of sheriff deputies’ perceived legitimacy of their agency’s citizen advisory council (CAC). Design/methodology/approach – The authors obtained survey data from 567 sheriff deputies in a southeastern state. The authors first asked whether respondents knew their agency had a CAC, and then asked those who responded affirmatively a series of questions about the legitimacy of the council. The authors then ran an ordinary least squares regression that included organizational justice, self-legitimacy and public scrutiny as independent variables predicting perceived legitimacy of the CAC. Findings – Deputies who perceived greater organizational justice from command staff were significantly more likely to perceive the CAC as legitimate. Originality/value – In response to strained police/community relations, reform advocates have urged the police to embrace a more democratic style of policing, including allowing for more citizen oversight of agencies. The study sheds light on how line-level officers perceive such oversight.