A police captain is a high-level officer in a police department who usually has overall command and supervisory responsibility for a precinct or district. Police captains typically have lieutenants who serve as their direct reports, as well as department managers who oversee lower-level supervisors. Typically, they also have an important administrative role to play in examining the effectiveness and efficiency of the units they command, and they may also be required to provide press and PR availability on occasion.
One of a police captain's main functions involves allocating resources. Police departments typically run on tight budgets, and it is ultimately up to the captain to decide how finances are used. Typically, different sections of the department will submit their own budgets and reasoning, and the captain judges these outlays after consulting with the respective lieutenants for each group.
Of course, police captains are responsible for the safety and security of the residents and businesses in their districts. Because all arrests and charged crimes are reported, they must analyze statistical data to find rates and trends throughout the district for felonies and misdemeanors; then, they can re-allocate resources as necessary to help deter patterns of criminal behavior. They are also occasionally required to be visible representatives of law enforcement by providing information and quotes to the press and on-record for print, web, television, and radio journalists.
To work as a police captain, a person must have extensive experience in law enforcement which goes beyond simple graduation from a police academy; most high-ranking officers in police departments have obtained college degrees and even some postgraduate experience in criminology disciplines. Police captains are typically chosen from an existing pool of police lieutenants, so this can be a competitive career. Most police captains work very long hours in an office environment and must always be available, even when not at work, and field work and travel should also be expected.
Police Captain Tasks
Direct police department activities and ensure all work performed meets the standards of the Department and serves the needs of the city.
Review and investigate civilian complaints and disciplinary issues in the department.
Study crime trends and use that information to adjust staffing strength, special forces deployment, assignments and policing priorities.
Maintain a positive team environment and foster positive relationships between the police force and citizens as well as other departments in local government.