A police officer's day can be filled with unexpected situations. Police and detective supervisors help officers decide how to handle varied and changing situations, while organizing the resources to do it.
Supervisors -- such as sergeants, lieutenants and police chiefs -- oversee the activities of the rest of the force.
Police and detective supervisors set schedules and offer guidance and expertise to investigators. They should be able to inspire others and command respect.
They pitch in on some police or investigation tasks but their primary duties are administrative, such a assigning duties, monitoring and evaluating job performance, investigating and resolving personnel problems and training staff.
Most police and detective supervisors put in a 40-hour workweek, but their shifts can be scheduled throughout the day or night and across weekends. If they're not behind a desk finishing paperwork, they may be out in the field-supervising officers on the job. As with all police work, these supervisors are exposed to some danger.
The route to a supervisory position in a police agency is almost always by promotion through the ranks. That can be based on seniority, performance evaluations and test scores on written exams.
Job opportunities for police work depend on the level of government spending on law enforcement. It's expected that demand will continue to be strongest for qualified officers in urban areas, where crime rates are higher. When applying to a police academy, inquire about the long term benefits, because while pay for police officers may seem low for the risk involved, many departments offer good retirement packages after several years of service.
Police work requires patience, tact, courage and discipline; it’s vitally important in every community…from a crossroads in the country…to Times Square.