Police Supervisor Training & Requirements

Explore the training and requirements to become a police supervisor. Get information about salary, potential job growth, and education needs to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Criminal Justice & Security degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Information at a Glance

A police supervisor oversees and manages the daily activities of law enforcement officers within a police department. Duties of a police supervisor consist of staff scheduling, training officers, and coordinating department investigations. Some police supervisors are captains, lieutenants, sergeants, or detectives. Most responsibilities of a police supervisor are management related; however, a police supervisor is exposed to the same dangers as officers when in the line of duty. Check out the quick-glance guide below for the necessary qualifications of becoming a police supervisor.

Degree Required H.S. diploma; some require an associate's degree in criminal justice
Training Required Varies by jurisdiction and state
Educational Field of Study Criminal justice, psychology
Key Skills Communication (verbal and writing), responsible, high integrity, technology experience, weaponry experience, physically fit, sound moral and ethical qualities
Other Requirements U.S. citizen, 18-21 years old, valid driver's license, physical exam
Job Growth (2016-26) 7% (as fast as average) for police and detectives*
Median Salary (May 2018) $89,030 for first-line supervisors of police and detectives*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Obtain Needed Education and Experience

Educational and experience requirements to become a police supervisor vary greatly. Requirements can vary from city to city and state to state. A police supervisor needs to have, at a minimum, a high school diploma. Many departments require an associate's degree in criminal justice, and in some instances, employers may require a bachelor's degree. Most police supervisors have extensive on-the-job experience before being accepted into supervisory roles.

Complete Hiring Process and Police Academy Training

Once you have the proper education, the journey is just beginning for becoming a police supervisor. To be hired as an officer, one may have to pass a rigorous physical exam, polygraph exam, background checks, drug screenings, and several weeks of police academy training. For supervisory positions, candidates typically have to complete a competitive promotional exam and additional oral interviews. The scoring received on the competitive promotional exam can impact eligibility for supervisory roles.

What Does the Police Academy Training Entail?

Once a police department hires you, most employers require recruits to complete approximately three months of police academy training. Training involves classroom instruction on laws, proper protocols, and investigating incidents and crime. Hands-on instruction includes weaponry handling, first-aid, and traffic control. Additionally, there are physical tests and written exams to pass throughout the time spent in the academy. The program is physically and mentally challenging, but if you complete academy training with a higher score than the rest of the cadets, you can set your self up for early success.

Choose Your Career Path

Many police jurisdictions require new officers to spend a certain amount of time on patrol before he or she can apply for specialized or supervisory positions. New officers routinely perform duties pertaining to routine patrols, fingerprinting, and community events. It is not uncommon for officers to spend 3-5 years on the job before being promoted to specialized or supervisory positions.

Maintain Position and Apply for Promotions

Once the hiring process and police academy training are complete, many new officers will be placed with seasoned officers for an orientation and mentoring period. Both physical and mental training will be continuous endeavors throughout your career as a law enforcement officer. Promotions, even within your current department, usually require additional interviews and exams to be eligible. Remain proactive in taking advantage of educational opportunities and department training to keep your record current and promotion-ready.

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