Career Profile: Police Chief
They put their lives on the line every day as they uphold provincial and federal laws. To become the chief of police is to be put into a role that requires the utmost amount of responsibility. What the chief does is he or she will oversee all police department operations, such as departmental conflicts, plans out policies for the force and procedures that everyone will abide by, maintain a good face for the force by meeting with public officials and making public statements, oversees investigations and court procedures, as well as other managerial duties.
Becoming the chief of police takes years of experience operating as a police officer and working your way up through the ranks. To get to that first step, you first need to graduate high school and attain a driver’s license (although, many departments are looking for an applicant that has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice if the applicant hopes for promotion). After that, any 19-year-old applicant must undergo a series of physical tests and some questioning. Also, a background check is mandatory since a felony conviction may disqualify the applicant. Once they are on the force, they must begin going above-and-beyond what is expected of them in order to make an impression and one day rise to the rank of chief. It takes a long time for most people to become the chief (in fact, it’s a career-long pursuit), but the rewards are well worth the efforts.
What are the perks of the job?
The largest perk of the job is the startlingly high annual salary which can range from approximately $160,000 (reported by Winnipeg’s chief of police in 2016) to as much as about $349,000 (reported by Toronto’s chief of police in 2015), largely depending on the size of the department and the area served. This stands well above the Canadian salary average of $51,000. The police chief can also expect to be in a position of high authority and must make many important decisions that affect that rest of the department, truly making an impact on the community around them.
What are some of the setbacks?
A large con to this job could be the difficulty in securing the job in the first place, especially since the chief of police will likely be competing with other people in their department. Also, the entire career in the police academy comes with a large amount of stress and risk to your health. However, the large role the police chief plays in the community and their ability to make a difference in their town.
How can I grow with this career?
The chief of police role is actually the highest provincial rank you can achieve. When you enter the force, you begin as a cadet, then you’re promoted through all classes of police constable, sergeant/detective, staff sergeant, sergeant major, inspector, staff inspector, superintendent, staff superintendent, and deputy chief of police.
That’s all great, but could I be hired for other careers?
A chief of police can be hired on for other careers in justice depending on their education level. For example, if the police chief has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, they could apply for a position as the commissioner or the chief constable.
Society for Human Resource Management: https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/tools-and-samples/job-descriptions/pages/cms_001116.aspx
Global News: https://globalnews.ca/news/2573145/winnipeg-police-chiefs-salary-one-of-lowest-in-country/
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