A police chief works at the top of the chain of command at a police department. Police chiefs are sometimes referred to as the chief of police, the police superintendent, or the police commissioner. Police chiefs generally work for the federal government or state governments. The most common job duties of a police chief may include:
Enforcing state or national laws
Overseeing the work of other police officers
Overseeing the police department's budget and operations
Promoting police officers who do exceptionally well
Disciplining officers who break the rules, miss work, or commit other infractions
Patrolling along with other officers
Collaborating with other officers as part of investigations
Working to develop and update department policies
Updating equipment for police officers
Candidates who have strong leadership and people skills will likely do well as police chiefs. Police officers often work closely and become like a family. Therefore, a police chief needs to be able to get along with a wide variety of personalities while also making strong decisions that may be unpopular with some officers.
Police Chief Job Education Requirements
Most police chief positions require that candidates have at least a bachelor's degree in criminal justice or a related field. Police chiefs usually have a wealth of on-the-job experience as a police officer. Those with a combination of training, experience, and education will be considered for many positions. They need to exhibit great leadership skills and interpersonal skills. Those who don't want to strive for as high an education or who wish to enjoy a position with less pressure may pursue other law enforcement jobs or deputy clerk jobs.
Police Chief Job Market
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a growth of five percent in all police officer positions within the next 10 years. That's a bit lower than the estimated job growth for most occupations. Police chief jobs are even scarcer than those for regular police officers, so that means that competition for police chief positions is likely to be quite fierce in the future. It's important to gain on-the-job experience and as high an education as possible to be able to stand out as a leading candidate to be a police chief.
Police Chief Job Salary Information
Police chiefs are able to earn more than $93,450 in some locations, but some police chiefs in lower-paying areas make less than $33,060. Because there are huge gaps in the need for police chiefs in urban areas versus more rural areas, those who are willing to travel for a position may be able to command a higher salary.