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First-Line Supervisors/Managers Of Police And Detectives Career

Career Description

A Police and Detective Supervisor supervises and coordinates activities of members of the police force.

Common Work Tasks

  • Explain police operations to subordinates to assist them in performing their job duties
  • Inform personnel of changes in regulations and policies, implications of new or amended laws, and new techniques of police work
  • Supervise and coordinate the investigation of criminal cases, offering guidance and expertise to investigators, and ensuring that procedures are conducted in accordance with laws and regulations
  • Investigate and resolve personnel problems within organization and charges of misconduct against staff
  • Train staff in proper police work procedures
  • Maintain logs, prepare reports, and direct the preparation, handling, and maintenance of departmental records
  • Monitor and evaluate the job performance of subordinates, and authorize promotions and transfers
  • Direct collection, preparation, and handling of evidence and personal property of prisoners
  • Develop, implement and revise departmental policies and procedures
  • Conduct raids and order detention of witnesses and suspects for questioning

Other Job Titles

Police and detective supervisors are also known by other titles, including:

  • Captains
  • Corporals
  • Sergeants
  • Police Chiefs

Education,  Training, and Experience

Education and Training
  Police and detective supervisors learn most of what they need to know for their work through on-the-job training. Qualifications vary by agency, but all agencies require a high school diploma or equivalent, and some also require some college education or full-time work experience. Most police and detective supervisors start out as police officers and advance to supervisory positions.

      Candidates should enjoy working with people and meeting the public. Because personal characteristics such as honesty, sound judgment, integrity, and a sense of responsibility are especially important in law enforcement, candidates are interviewed by senior officers, and their character traits and backgrounds are investigated. In some agencies, candidates are interviewed by a psychiatrist or a psychologist or given a personality test. Most applicants are subjected to lie detector examinations or drug testing. Some agencies subject sworn personnel to random drug testing as a condition of continuing employment.


The median annual salary for a Police and Detective Supervisor is $73,000. The top 10 percent earn more than $108,000, and the lowest 10 percent earn less than $44,000.  Median earnings in the industries employing the largest number of police and detective supervisors are:

  • Local Government- $72,820
  • State Government  - $73,890
  • Federal Executive Branch  -  $85,760
  • Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools  - $62,420
  • Postal Service - $74,470

Job Outlook

  • 2006-2016 Employment growth:  9%
  • Number of new jobs created 2006-2016: 8,500
  • Employment 2006 : 93,000
  • Employment 2016:  102,000
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