A police captain spends a great deal of time reading and completing paperwork. Preparing reports, reviewing the reports of subordinates, creating memos regarding open cases for other law enforcement agencies to review, and preparing work schedules and budgets for the department are all tasks that fall under the duties of a police captain.
The police captain is also expected to step in when fieldwork needs to be completed. Interviewing suspects or witnesses, gathering evidence, and even directing traffic can be the responsibility of a police captain when he or she is on duty. In many instances, the police captain also serves as the department representative in court and in the community. Maintaining a good relationship with local politicians and other law enforcement agencies is an integral part of a police captain's job description.
The police captain must regularly evaluate the conduct of other staff members and discipline subordinates when errors are made. If no procedure is in place to handle the circumstances of a given case, the police captain must create and implement a list of standard operating procedures.
Finally, a police captain is expected to have extensive knowledge of state and county laws and regulations. Staff members are expected to use the police captain as a resource when there is uncertainty about how to proceed, so the captain must make himself available. Should the department's chief of police require an extended absence, the police captain is the understudy and is expected to assume the duties of the chief of police.