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[How-To] Be Chief of Police

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  • [How-To] Be Chief of Police

    What is usually the process if someone within a department wanted to be Chief of Police, or a LT?

    I understand that there is a testing process for it, but from my understanding as well, that one person is Chief of Police until, A. City kicks them out, or B. Death or Stepping Down Correct?

    a lot of Chiefs have MBAs, is that a mandatory?

    Other than a nice paycheck and business decisions (says a friend of mine) what are the pros and cons?

    Some say they would never be a dispatcher, and they also said they would never be Chief. I just really want to know why.
    The statements posted on here are of my own and does not represent any agency that I am in process with, was in process with or will be in process with.

  • #2
    Originally posted by WadsonF View Post
    What is usually the process if someone within a department wanted to be Chief of Police, or a LT?

    I understand that there is a testing process for it, but from my understanding as well, that one person is Chief of Police until, A. City kicks them out, or B. Death or Stepping Down Correct?

    a lot of Chiefs have MBAs, is that a mandatory?

    Other than a nice paycheck and business decisions (says a friend of mine) what are the pros and cons?

    Some say they would never be a dispatcher, and they also said they would never be Chief. I just really want to know why.
    These days a Chief is usually brought in from outside of the department. Not true for all places, but it is specifically a lot of times for smaller departments. A lot of Chiefs have MBAs because they are running a business. For the most part, Chiefs are not in charge of the day to day operations of the department. You will rarely (or never in some cases) see a Chief anywhere besides his office, City Hall, or a special event.

    The pro is it's just like any other business, and if you want to be the head of a business it's not a bad gig.

    The cons is you are the city manager/Mayor's you know what, and you're really not a cop anymore (you just don't have the time to be).

    And you're there until the city kicks you out or you decide to leave. Unlike the Sheriff, it's not voted on and there is no set length of tenure (length of contacts though may be involved).

    Things are different for a smaller department of 10-15 or less officers. Then the Chief usually also acts as the operations "Commander" (or whatever you want to call them), because they sometimes don't have quite as much to take care of on the business side. The money can range anywhere from below 30K a year to well above 100K.

    Comment


    • #3
      At my agency, which I would consider medium to large in size, almost everybody above the sergeant level (lt's, captains, majors, ect.) has at least a masters with many having jd’s or. ph.d’s. Usually a sgt. will have a bachelors and most of us lowly patrol deputies and cpl's have associates or bachelors. It is the way it is going here in Florida and if you want to be competitive in getting hired or promoted you will need a college education.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by WadsonF View Post
        I understand that there is a testing process for it, but from my understanding as well, that one person is Chief of Police until, A. City kicks them out, or B. Death or Stepping Down Correct?
        On the average, most chief's only last for about two years before they move on. That's because the makeup of the people they have to interact with (the city manager, the mayor and the city council) is constantly changing. When a chief is hired, all those folks may have thought he was the greatest guy in the world. But two years later, a whole set of new people may be in office. The new city manager, mayor and city council members may have completely different philosophies as to how things should be run, they may now think the current chief is the worst choice for the job and they may give him his walking papers.

        At an agency I am familiar with, one chief lasted for six and a half years. During the last eighteen months there was a change of administration and the new folks asked him to turn a blind eye to criminal violations involving government officials. When he refused, he was sent packing. They hired a new chief and within two months, he too, was asked to turn a blind eye to criminal violations involving government officials. He saw the handwriting on the wall, immediately started a new job search and quit after seven months. In the past six and a half years they have gone through four more chiefs and until the administration allows the Chief to act honorably, the integrity of that public safety agency will be marginal at best.

        As an example of how quickly things can turn for a chief, in another thread on this website you no doubt read about a North Carolina officer who was suspended by his city council for drawing his weapon on a female pursuit suspect who turned out to be the niece of the Mayor Pro-Tem. This is one of those cases where the chief's job has probably come to an abrupt end. The chief saw nothing wrong with what his officer did. Nonetheless, the city council ignored his findings, excluded him from their decision making session and voted to suspend the officer anyway. This undermined the chief's authority and left him so ineffective that he will probably resign, if only to save face. OTOH, if he stands up for himself and his officer, the city council will probably fire him so they can save face. Either way, unless the citizens start a recall election for the city council members and mayor, his career with that agency is probably over. That's how quickly (and unfairly) a chief can fall from grace.
        Last edited by L-1; 01-26-2008, 07:30 PM.
        Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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        • #5
          Thanks for a lesson learned, now all areas are law enforcement has been revealed.
          The statements posted on here are of my own and does not represent any agency that I am in process with, was in process with or will be in process with.

          Comment


          • #6
            L-1's post X-2. The scenario he portrays is all too common. Quite often, NFL coaches have more secure jobs,and they pay better. The Dept from which I'm retired has a system typical of many Southern State Police agencies. The Director of Public Safety (Colonel) serves at the pleasure of the Governor. If a new Governor comes in, so does a new Director. Quite often, the Director is an up through the ranks Trooper, but just as often is brought in from the outside. The Director under whom I served at my retirement was one of the best LE executives I ever worked under. He had been a Chief of Police in Birmingham Al, and had established a fine reputation with that agency. Speaking only for myself, and if I had it do over, being a Chief is the only LE job I wouldn't want.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by WadsonF View Post
              What is usually the process if someone within a department wanted to be Chief of Police, or a LT?

              I understand that there is a testing process for it, but from my understanding as well, that one person is Chief of Police until, A. City kicks them out, or B. Death or Stepping Down Correct?

              a lot of Chiefs have MBAs, is that a mandatory?

              Other than a nice paycheck and business decisions (says a friend of mine) what are the pros and cons?

              Some say they would never be a dispatcher, and they also said they would never be Chief. I just really want to know why.

              Kiss butt till your lips turn brown.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by ArkansasFan24 View Post
                Kiss butt till your lips turn brown.
                Stab your friends in the back
                Forget where you came from
                Discipline officers for doing the same stuff that you used to do
                Stay stuck in the past when it comes to equipment, uniforms and tactics
                Give your officers no input
                Get choice assignments not because you really want to be there, but because it will get your ticket punched
                Place keeping your name squeaky clean and making the right connections above good police work
                Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. - Ronald Reagan

                I don't think It'll happen in the US because we don't trust our government. We are a country of skeptics, raised by skeptics, founded by skeptics. - Amaroq

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by ateamer View Post
                  Stab your friends in the back
                  Forget where you came from
                  Discipline officers for doing the same stuff that you used to do
                  Stay stuck in the past when it comes to equipment, uniforms and tactics
                  Give your officers no input
                  Get choice assignments not because you really want to be there, but because it will get your ticket punched
                  Place keeping your name squeaky clean and making the right connections above good police work
                  Amen Brother!! I just can not figure out what does that. With that said I/we have one of the very few exceptions. Our chief gets out and works traffic from time to time. And if you do your job, he will stick up for you until the world stops turning. On top of all that he is a genuine, honest and nice guy. Rare bird!

                  We all know Lt.s and Sgt.s who get rank and suddenly over night they know everything about anything. Funny thing, SOME of the ones I know are the very ones who just never seemed to be able to get it right.
                  "Laws that forbid the carrying of arms. . . disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. . . Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man." - Thomas Jefferson

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I am lucky in that our Sheriff does not do any of the things on my list, but a few of the mid-rank people people on our office do. There is a chief around here who does all of them, as do his underlings.
                    Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. - Ronald Reagan

                    I don't think It'll happen in the US because we don't trust our government. We are a country of skeptics, raised by skeptics, founded by skeptics. - Amaroq

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      What is required to be Sheriff?
                      The statements posted on here are of my own and does not represent any agency that I am in process with, was in process with or will be in process with.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by ateamer View Post
                        Stab your friends in the back
                        Forget where you came from
                        Discipline officers for doing the same stuff that you used to do
                        Stay stuck in the past when it comes to equipment, uniforms and tactics
                        Give your officers no input
                        Get choice assignments not because you really want to be there, but because it will get your ticket punched
                        Place keeping your name squeaky clean and making the right connections above good police work
                        Whooooooah!!! Ooooooookkk!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by WadsonF View Post
                          What is required to be Sheriff?
                          In California, you have to have a POST Advanced certificate. That will take anywhere from five to 10 years of fulltime law enforcement, depending on your level of education and how much inservice training you receive. After that, you can run for Sheriff in the county in which you reside.
                          Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. - Ronald Reagan

                          I don't think It'll happen in the US because we don't trust our government. We are a country of skeptics, raised by skeptics, founded by skeptics. - Amaroq

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by ateamer View Post
                            In California, you have to have a POST Advanced certificate.
                            I think the rules may have changed. It would appear that you no longer need even a Basic POST Certificate to be an elected Sheriff. From the POST manual:

                            Rev 03/04/07

                            9070(e) Basic Certificate Possession Requirement

                            The Basic Certificate is required for:

                            (1) Specified Peace Officers

                            Pursuant to Penal Code section 832.4(b), every peace officer listed in Penal Code section 830.1(a) [except a sheriff, an elected marshal, or a custodial deputy appointed pursuant to Penal Code section 830.1(c)] shall obtain the POST Basic Certificate in order to continue to exercise peace officer powers.
                            Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Took some digging, but here it is. I found out that there are several ways to do it. If I remember right, back around 1988 or 89, the legislature changed the requirements to be sheriff, because before that anyone could be elected. Some dog catcher in one of the mountain counties had a dispute with the sheriff's office, ran for sheriff and was almost elected, and his only qualification was taking in stray dogs. He had no law enforcement experience, so the state passed a law requiring actual professional experience.

                              California Government Code section 24004.3. (a) No person is eligible to become a candidate for the
                              office of sheriff in any county unless, at the time of the final
                              filing date for election, he or she meets one of the following
                              criteria:
                              (1) An active or inactive advanced certificate issued by the
                              Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training.
                              (2) One year of full-time, salaried law enforcement experience
                              within the provisions of Section 830.1 or 830.2 of the Penal Code at
                              least a portion of which shall have been accomplished within five
                              years prior to the date of filing, and possesses a master's degree
                              from an accredited college or university.
                              (3) Two years of full-time, salaried law enforcement experience
                              within the provisions of Section 830.1 or 830.2 of the Penal Code at
                              least a portion of which shall have been accomplished within five
                              years prior to the date of filing, and possesses a bachelor's degree
                              from an accredited college or university.
                              (4) Three years of full-time, salaried law enforcement experience
                              within the provisions of Section 830.1 or 830.2 of the Penal Code at
                              least a portion of which shall have been accomplished within five
                              years prior to the date of filing, and possesses an associate in arts
                              or associate in science degree, or the equivalent, from an
                              accredited college.
                              (5) Four years of full-time, salaried law enforcement experience
                              within the provisions of Section 830.1 or 830.2 of the Penal Code at
                              least a portion of which shall have been accomplished within five
                              years prior to the date of filing, and possesses a high school
                              diploma or the equivalent.
                              (b) All persons holding the office of sheriff on January 1, 1989
                              shall be deemed to have met all qualifications required for
                              candidates seeking election or appointment to the office of sheriff.
                              Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. - Ronald Reagan

                              I don't think It'll happen in the US because we don't trust our government. We are a country of skeptics, raised by skeptics, founded by skeptics. - Amaroq

                              Comment

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