If you want to serve your municipality by supervising its police departments, then being a Police Chief is the way to go. You will be a top law enforcer tasked with direct supervision of your department heads and personnel. Spending your day doing strategic planning, holding important meetings with local politicians or investigating cases that require your utmost attention would be normal. You might even find yourself being interviewed by the press at conferences or during special public events. Overall, you will be responsible for managing your department’s day-to-day operations, public relations and budgeting.

Police Chief Job Description, Job Duties, Salary, Resume

Generally, the Police Department is the arm of city government, which provides citizens with protection of the laws of the city, state and nation. But the department provides protection and service in a variety of ways and in a large number of different areas. Learn more about a career in police department.

As you work your way to become a police chief, here’s what you need to know to ace the initial screening:

Police Chief Duties and Responsibilities

  • Manage your department which includes hiring, assessing, disciplining and firing your personnel. Also, conduct training of your police officers whenever necessary.
  • Establishment and maintenance of a healthy working environment for all personnel.
  • Develop policies and procedures but they should be in line with the guidelines set by the City Council.
  • Lead the day-to-day operations of your department by preparing reports, conducting investigations (e.g. complaints) and maintaining peace and order all over the city.
  • Interpret codes, laws, and ordinances and uphold them at all times.
  • Submission of clear and complete materials such as policies, procedures, and reports. You must also be able to present them publicly as needed.
  • Work closely with the City Manager for planning the budget(s) of the Police Department and other duties that may be asked.
  • Perform all duties and responsibilities stated in the ordinances of your city.
  • Inventory
  • Develop programs that will prevent criminal activities within your scope of jurisdiction.
  • Perform public relations duties and attend the council meeting once a month.

Police Chief Educational Requirements

For local governments, it is preferable to hire a candidate with a education level of Bachelor’s degree in Police Administration, Law Enforcement, Criminal Justice, or related field. Obtaining some certifications related to this job like a police training certificate from the council is a sure plus point on your resume. But if you have at least five years of experience in law enforcement as a commanding officer i.e. Lieutenant, Commander, or Captain, that’d be even better than earning a Master’s degree, which is not a requirement anyway.

Police Chief Skills

  • Strong oral and written communication skills
  • Budgeting and inventory
  • Able to conduct training of police officers
  • Able to lift piles of things (at least 50 pounds)
  • Computer literate, tech-savvy preferred
  • Able to plan, organize, and administer a comprehensive police service program
  • High-level of critical and analytical thinking skills
  • Knowledge of police methods, administration and practices
  • Knowledge of state codes, policies, protocols, ordinances, statutes, etc.
  • Knowledge and expert level of skill in using firearms and other marshal equipment

Police Chief Minimum Qualifications

  • Must be a resident of the city/town you’re applying in
  • Must possess a Bachelor’s degree
  • At least 5 years of experience in law enforcement
  • At least 3 years of experience in police administration
  • Must pass the physical requirements of the state as well as the standard psychiatric test
  • Must possess a certification in law enforcement training
  • Reliable upon emergency call situations
  • Must be willing to get a valid driver’s license

Police Chief Salary

The salary of police chiefs may vary by geographic location, years of experience, and size of the city mainly. So if you want to serve a bigger community and earn more money at the same time, choose among the metropolitan areas like Boston, Atlanta, New York City, Chicago, and so on. For example, the highest salary for police chiefs in NYC is approximately $126,000 per annum. Meanwhile, those that are in smaller cities might take home $75,000 yearly. As of September 2015, though, the average salary for police chiefs in the US was $69,000 according to Payscale.com. A complete compensation package may include bonuses, profit sharing and employee benefits.

Police Chief Job Outlook

Based on the 2014-2015 Police and Detectives Handbook of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment growth is at 5% from 2012 through 2022. It will be mainly driven by the ballooning US population so the demand may vary by location, state budgets and crime rates. However, one thing is for sure, there will always be a need for police enforcement anywhere in the country so as to ensure public safety and peace and order.

Police Chief Resume Sample

Need some help with your government resume but don’t know where to begin? Here’s a sample resume for the position of Police Chief.