Police supervisors direct and coordinate the activities of police personnel. They ensure police personnel properly and efficiently perform their duties in accordance with procedures, orders and laws. Police supervisors also assign duties and designate posts to station personnel. In addition, those in police supervisory positions need to be able to understand various types of law enforcement procedures and terminology.
Police supervisors employed in large cities typically specialize in departmental assignments and specific duties. Some of the common job titles are patrol police lieutenant, traffic lieutenant, desk officer, investigative division commanding officer, identification and communication supervisor, precinct police captain and precinct police sergeant.
- Create schedules and delegate work
- Explain police operations to personnel
- Notify subordinates of changes in policies and regulations
- Inform police personnel of implications of new and amended laws
- Discuss new techniques of police work with staff members
- Maintain logs in order to account for unit daily and monthly activities
- Investigate charges of neglect of duty or inefficiency against personnel and take disciplinary action if needed
- Ensure appropriate preparation and transmittal of reports
Police supervisors are directed by a higher ranked commanding officer. They typically work in offices inside police stations. A police supervisor usually works 8 hours a day, 40 hours per week. Since 24-hour police protection for a community is required, police supervisors have shift work and work on weekends and holidays. Overtime is also required during emergencies. Some police supervisors belong to professional organizations and employee organizations.
Those in police supervisory positions should be able to follow instructions and effectively present information. They should be skilled at directing and planning an entire activity and the activities of personnel. They need to be good at dealing with people beyond giving and receiving instructions. Good analytical skills are important for the position. Effectively communicating both orally and in writing is important for the job.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts the employment of police officers and detectives will grow 11% between 2006 and 2016 which is about as fast as average for all occupations. The growth of police supervisor positions is correlated to the growth of police officer employment.
Salaries of police supervisors may vary according to rank, years of experience, the employer, community size and location. The median annual earnings in 2008 for first-line supervisors/managers of police and detectives was $75, 490.
Police supervisors are typically promoted from the position of police officer and typically need substantial experience and seniority. Advancing to the position of sergeant and lieutenant typically is decided according to the employee's position on a civil service list which is decided by on-the-job performance and written exam scores. In large communities, moving up to the position of Captain is possible.
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