Police Lieutenant

Supervise Police Sergeants.

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$47,000 – $124,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor


What do Police Lieutenants do?

As a Police Lieutenant, you lead. You’re the frontline commander of the police department. You pass orders from the top levels of command to the Police Sergeants, who in turn relay those orders to the Police Officers and Detectives down the line.

Ultimately, though, it’s your job to make sure that there’s a plan in place and that everyone is doing their job properly. You also ensure that your division is professional and free from discrimination at all times.

Police departments have well-defined roles and a leadership hierarchy, and the Police Lieutenant is about midway up that hierarchy. Despite being a Commander, many of your daily duties involve the nuts-and-bolts police work of your division or shift.

If a big case breaks or a large-scale emergency happens, it’s your responsibility to coordinate an investigative or tactical response. You work in the office and the field as necessary to get this done. You need to be experienced in all facets of police work (tactics, weapons, investigation, etc.), and ready to provide active leadership and guidance to all those under your command.

Forty-hour workweeks are the starting point for a Police Lieutenant. However, depending on which division or shift you work for, your hours may vary from daytime to late night. Intense investigations, public safety emergencies, or other events requiring a significant police response necessarily require longer hours.

Be prepared to make your life a balance of meetings, training, supervising, and responding. Police work can be exciting and action-packed at times, but it’s also a job that requires careful planning and attention to administrative procedures, policy, and paperwork.


Should I be a Police Lieutenant?

You should have an associate's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.
  • Leader: You're good at taking charge, giving directions, and inspiring other people.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.

  • Also known as: Desk Lieutenant, Detective Lieutenant, District Lieutenant, Harbor-Police Lieutenant, Homicide-Squad Lieutenant See More

    How to become a Police Lieutenant

    Most Police Lieutenants 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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