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A Police Commissioner is the leader — the CEO, if you will — of a police department. After all, a police force is essentially a business. It’s easy to romanticize it as a squad of superheroes in blue because Police Officers spend their days fighting crime, saving lives, and dodging bullets — just like real-life Supermen, Batmen, and Wonder Women. In reality, though, every police department has customers, personnel, budgets, overhead, and strategic goals, just like a business does.
Not every police force has a Police Commissioner, however. In fact, most just have a Police Chief, who acts as the department’s head Police Officer. In big cities, though — large urban centers like New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles — police departments are big enough and bureaucratic enough to warrant the appointment of a “super-sized” commander, known as a Police Commissioner.
As a Police Commissioner, you’re head of your city’s entire police department. Senior to the Police Chief, you’re as much a Politician and a CEO as you are a Police Officer. Instead of patrolling the streets and working cases like a Police Officer would, therefore, you work in an office.
There, you supervise police force finances, performance, and activities. You also set strategic police force priorities. In addition, you implement police force policies and procedures.
Next to leadership, your most important responsibility is representation: Appointed by the Mayor or City Council, you serve as the police department’s chief Spokesperson to Politicians, Journalists, and the public. It’s on your shoulders, therefore, to keep the city’s reputation as safe as its citizens!