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Career profile Police Chief

Also known as Police Captain, Police Chief, Shift Supervisor

Police Chief

Also known as Police Captain, Police Chief, Shift Supervisor

Interests Profile
  • Enterprising
  • Social
  • Conventional
Pay Range
$52,610 - $152,090 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Active Listening
  • Speaking
  • Critical Thinking
Knowledge Areas
  • Law and Government
  • Public Safety and Security
  • Administration and Management
Core tasks
  • Supervise and coordinate the investigation of criminal cases, offering guidance and expertise to investigators, and ensuring that procedures are conducted in accordance with laws and regulations.
  • Explain police operations to subordinates to assist them in performing their job duties.
  • Train staff in proper police work procedures.
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What does a Police Chief do?

Police Chiefs directly supervise and coordinate activities of members of police force.

What kind of tasks does a Police Chief perform regularly?

Police Chiefs are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Supervise and coordinate the investigation of criminal cases, offering guidance and expertise to investigators, and ensuring that procedures are conducted in accordance with laws and regulations.
  • Explain police operations to subordinates to assist them in performing their job duties.
  • Train staff in proper police work procedures.
  • Inform personnel of changes in regulations and policies, implications of new or amended laws, and new techniques of police work.
  • Investigate and resolve personnel problems within organization and charges of misconduct against staff.
  • Maintain logs, prepare reports, and direct the preparation, handling, and maintenance of departmental records.
  • Cooperate with court personnel and officials from other law enforcement agencies and testify in court, as necessary.
  • Direct collection, preparation, and handling of evidence and personal property of prisoners.
  • Monitor and evaluate the job performance of subordinates, and authorize promotions and transfers.
  • Conduct raids and order detention of witnesses and suspects for questioning.
  • Review contents of written orders to ensure adherence to legal requirements.
  • Prepare work schedules and assign duties to subordinates.
  • Discipline staff for violation of department rules and regulations.
  • Inspect facilities, supplies, vehicles, and equipment to ensure conformance to standards.
  • Develop, implement, and revise departmental policies and procedures.
  • Meet with civic, educational, and community groups to develop community programs and events, and to discuss law enforcement subjects.
  • Prepare news releases and respond to police correspondence.
  • Requisition and issue equipment and supplies.

The above responsibilities are specific to Police Chiefs. More generally, Police Chiefs are involved in several broader types of activities:

Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
Documenting/Recording Information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

What is a Police Chief salary?

The median salary for a Police Chief is $92,970, and the average salary is $97,180. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Police Chief salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Police Chiefs earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Police Chiefs earn less than $52,610 per year, 25% earn less than $69,030, 75% earn less than $121,910, and 90% earn less than $152,090.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Police Chiefs is expected to change by 6.8%, and there should be roughly 9,100 open positions for Police Chiefs every year.

Median annual salary
$92,970
Typical salary range
$52,610 - $152,090
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
6.8%

What personality traits are common among Police Chiefs?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Police Chief are usually higher in their Enterprising, Social, and Conventional interests.

Police Chiefs typically have very strong Enterprising interests. Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

Also, Police Chiefs typically have moderate Social interests. Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.

Lastly, Police Chiefs typically have moderate Conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Police Chief tend to value Independence, Recognition, and Working Conditions.

Most importantly, Police Chiefs very strongly value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Second, Police Chiefs very strongly value Recognition. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious.

Lastly, Police Chiefs strongly value Working Conditions. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Police Chiefs must consistently demonstrate qualities such as integrity, self-control, and stress tolerance.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Police Chiefs, ranked by importance:

Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Self-Control
Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
Stress Tolerance
Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Leadership
Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.

What education and training do Police Chiefs need?

Police Chiefs often have training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.

Police Chiefs usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Police Chiefs

  • 0.4% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 11.8% completed high school or secondary school
  • 25.2% completed some college coursework
  • 16.1% earned a Associate's degree
  • 32.1% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 12.9% earned a Master's degree
  • 1.5% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Police Chiefs

Police Chiefs may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as law and government, public safety and security, or administration and management knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Police Chiefs might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Law and Government
Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
Public Safety and Security
Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
Administration and Management
Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Psychology
Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.

Important Abilities needed by Police Chiefs

Police Chiefs must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Police Chiefs need abilities such as oral expression, oral comprehension, and written comprehension in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Police Chiefs, ranked by their relative importance.

Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Problem Sensitivity
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
Written Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.

Critical Skills needed by Police Chiefs

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Police Chiefs frequently use skills like active listening, speaking, and critical thinking to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Police Chiefs, ranked by their relative importance.

Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Speaking
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Monitoring
Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Social Perceptiveness
Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.