The police officers are the official protectors of the civil society. It is their responsibility to assure that law and order are maintained in the area of their jurisdiction. It is a highly respected and recognized position in all nations.
The chief of police oversees and directs all activities of the Police Department. He is appointed or elected by law enforcement officials. He takes part in the design, management, and evaluation of all law enforcement activities. The police chief works directly with the mayor of their town or city.
Duties and Responsibilities
Generally, the police chief directs all activities of the police department in his city as well as the surrounding areas in certain circumstances. It is his responsibility to ensure the implementation of goals, objectives, policies, procedures, and standards for the department.
He also partakes in the strategic planning covering the use of resources, coordinating activities, and ensuring high quality service. The police chief plans, organizes, and reviews all the department staff. He contributes to the development and implementation of projects and programs to maximize police services in coordination with the City Manager, the City Council, other city departments, and public and private organizations.
Other tasks include directing investigation of major crimes in coordination with other agencies as well as providing assistance to the City Attorney and District Attorney in case preparation. The police chief also helps in the preparation of the department budget. He also supervises the maintenance of departmental files.
Education and Training
Candidates for this position should be a graduate of a four-year course in criminal justice, police science, public administration, or other related fields. Having a master’s degree is definitely an advantage. He should have at least five years of experience in command or supervision in law enforcement like that of a Lieutenant, Commander, or Captain. Certificates in first aid, CPR, and firearms qualification may be required as well.
An aspiring police chief should be physically fit. He must have excellent hearing and vision. He must have mobility to drive a vehicle and lead in emergency situations. He must have excellent communication skills and must be able to speak clearly before groups, over the phone or the radio. He must have the stamina to carry or lift 25 pounds. Computer skills are a must as well to create effective public presentation.
Work Conditions and Salary
A police chief should always be available, 24 hours a day. The job requires working extended shifts especially during emergency situations. It also requires working in difficult circumstances and exposure to dangerous situations, toxic materials, and all weather conditions.
He also attends meetings at various sites in and out of the city. The police chief also conducts detailed background investigations, which may include digging facts in different places or working with different agencies.
The average compensation of a police chief is about $95,147 annually. Salary depends on the location, size of the department, and experience. The police chief also receives various benefits provided by the government.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/