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Advice for a New Sergeant


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  • Advice for a New Sergeant

    Hello, my fellow LEO's

    I'm getting promoted really soon here, to the rank of Police Sergeant. I wanted to read up on some advice from those who have gone through the process, and are now "New Sergeants" themselves or from the "Veteran Sergeants".

    I want to become a great leader/supervisor, and I know that in order to achieve that goal, I must learn/listen from those who have gone through the transition themselves. Any comments or advice would greatly be appreciated. Thank you in advance.

    What should I expect?
    What pitfalls should I avoid?
    Share a story about your first day as the "New Sergeant"
    What were the highs and lows during your process to becoming a Sergeant?

    "I can imagine no more rewarding a career. And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction: 'I served in the United States Navy.'"

    President John F. Kennedy

  • #2


    I'll just post that link rather than repeating everything in that thread.

    I don't know if your agency has corporals or not, but if they do and you have a corporal with a good amount of experience, he/she will be a valuable resource. Also, if you already have been a corporal then you should already have a grasp of the administrative functions and basic supervision principles.

    A lot about what to expect and what to do is going to be agency specific. In some agencies (especially on midnights), the sergeant is practically the top of the chain of command. Other agencies have lieutenants, and some of them micromanage to the point that the sergeant is basically just a go-between. To that end, I would suggest not falling into the pit that is micromanagement. That will get you a bad reputation faster than almost anything else, especially if you have good officers under your command.

    If you can, I would suggest talking with the sergeant you are replacing about the dynamics of the squad and any issues. I would also suggest talking with other sergeants at your agency, as they will have a better understanding of what's expected of a sergeant at your agency.

    My first day after being promoted was mainly spent on administrative tasks and trying to get supervisory access to computer systems and other databases. Nothing exciting there!


    • #3
      Be on the road, back up your officers, and do your own stops.

      How do you address someone with poor performance when you sit in an office all day doing "admin stuff"? How do you expect to write a fair performance observation if you are never on calls with your officers?

      It will lead to a few awkward moments because the supervisor is on the call and some officers will feel they "must handle it the right way now" but isn't that what they should be doing anyway?

      I agree go talk to whoever you are replacing however keep an open mind. Some supervisors might not like a person because of a few personality traits however the officer might be fine.

      Do not go in and start changing the world. You will get a lot of resentment even if you are making changes for the better. Observe for a few weeks and then start to organize your corrections.

      KEEP NOTES. If you talk to an officer about a call, return a report for correction, observe them driving unsafely, etc it all needs to be document. Buy yourself a note book and keep it either at home or in a locked file cabinet at work.

      Know what official and unofficial "rewards" you have at your disposal. Even the most dedicated officer will hit a slump and something simple like putting them in an enforcement car for the night or assigning them to work a day or two with the detective squad can put a fire back under them.

      Another thing to remember is whatever conversation you have with your officer means a lot more to them then it does to you. You will take to each of your officers a good bit throughout the shift but most officers only speak with the supervisor once or twice a shift. If you blow them off it's going to resound with them much more then it will with you. Realize that.

      It's a lot going on. No one expects you to know it all and you will make mistakes. Learn and don't repeat.
      Last edited by Name Taken; 06-13-2014, 07:34 PM.


      • #4
        This is from a lowly officer position but positive reinforcement, positive reinforcement, positive reinforcement! We have four shifts and the two shifts with the highest morale have sergeants who pat us on the head more than slapping us on the butt.


        • #5
          Not sure how big ur dept is, but if you're in a mid size/small dept and you guys are short handed, take calls that involve paper and actually help out the road guys on short days. Not only will this have your men appreciate your man power, but also keep you up to date on new technology and keep your head fresh on how to do reports.

          Just something I observed as an officer.


          • #6
            What department are you at if you don't mind me asking? Congrats on the promotion btw.


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