Desk Officer

Complete administrative work inside the police station.
picture of Desk Officer

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$47,000 – $124,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Desk Officers do?

A Desk Officer supervises and coordinates law enforcement personnel as an administrative Police Officer within a station. For some Police Officers, police work is all about flipping squad cars, firing guns, and chasing evildoers. For Desk Officers, it is less about giving knuckle sandwiches to bad guys and more about giving great customer service to the public.

If you’re a Desk Officer—also known as a Desk Captain, Desk Lieutenant, or Desk Sergeant, depending on your rank—you’re the primary point of contact between the police force and the public. You’re the person who “holds down the fort,” so to speak, while other Police Officers are out patrolling the streets.

As such, your duties are at once penal, organizational, and managerial in nature. Common responsibilities, for instance, include taking incident reports from people who report crimes in person or over the phone, and addressing citizens’ requests, concerns, and complaints. You also answer and route phone calls as well as police communications.

Other duties include reviewing police reports for correctness, completeness, and accuracy. Additionally, you operate and supervise prisoners’ detention cells, and safely store their belongings along with lost and stolen items that have been recovered by citizens and Police Officers. While you don’t collect evidence, interrogate suspects, or apprehend criminals, you do important work. It’s kind of like a feature film: Although Actors get most of the glory, the crew deserves a lot of the credit. You’re the crew, and you make magic behind the scenes at police stations!

Should I be a Desk Officer?

You should have an associate's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Levelheaded: You hold your emotions in check, even in tough situations.
  • Leader: You're good at taking charge, giving directions, and inspiring other people.
  • Calm Under Pressure: You keep your cool when dealing with highly stressful situations.

  • Also known as: Airport Safety and Security Duty Officer

    How to become a Desk Officer

    Most Desk Officers have an Associate's degree or higher. Chart?chd=s:9dxpaa&chl=no+college+%2834%25%29|certificate+%2816%25%29|associate%27s+%2827%25%29|bachelor%27s+%2823%25%29||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,34,34
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