The United States police-rank model is generally quasi-military in structure. A uniform system of insignia based on that of the US Army and Marine Corps is used to help identify an officer's seniority.
Although the large and varied number of federal, state, and local police and sheriff's departments have different ranks, a general model, from highest to lowest rank, would be:
Chief of police/commissioner of police/superintendent/sheriff: The title commissioner of police is used mainly by large metropolitan departments, while chief of police is associated with small and medium-sized municipalities; both are typically appointed by a mayor or selected by the city council or commission. In some cities, "commissioner" is the member of the board of officials in charge of the department, while a "chief" is the top uniformed officer answering to the commissioner or commission. In very large departments, such as the New York City Police Department, there may be several non-police officer deputy and assistant commissioners, some of whom outrank the chief of department and others on par with the uniformed chief. There may be a chief of operations who is second in command to the top-ranking chief. In contrast, sheriffs in the United States are usually elected officials, one in each county, who head the sheriff's department (or sheriff's office).
Deputy chief of police/deputy commissioner/deputy superintendent/chief deputy/undersheriff/assistant sheriff: The top subordinate of the chief of police, commissioner, superintendent, or sheriff; may or may not have a specific area of responsibility. In some places the undersheriff is the warden of the county jail. The New York City Sheriff's Office has five undersheriffs: each one is responsible for a borough of New York City, with the Sheriff of the City of New York overseeing all of them. In some Sheriff's Offices, the rank of Assistant Sheriff exists, below the Undersheriff, but still above Commander and other ranks.
Colonel or lieutenant colonel: A majority of state police as well as some municipal agencies use "colonel" or "lieutenant colonel" as their senior executive rank, often jointly with a civilian title such as "superintendent, deputy superintendent", "commissioner, deputy commissioner" or "director, deputy director", "Chief, Deputy Chief", etc. Conversely, the colonel or lieutenant colonel rank is rarely employed by other agencies, though it is used by the Baltimore Police Department and other Maryland agencies as either an executive or commander-like rank. Colonels generally wear the gold or silver eagle of a military colonel, and Lieutenant Colonels have the oak leaf of a Military lieutenant colonel, from the U.S. armed forces. Many sheriffs also wear the eagle insignia, and use colonel as an official rank.
Captain: Two gold or silver bars ("railroad tracks"). A Captain often supervises a police station but can supervise another division or unit (detectives, patrol, etc.) in smaller departments and only certain sections of a police station in larger departments. In the NYPD, captains are the normal commanders of precincts.
Lieutenant: Wearing a single gold or silver bar, a Lieutenant supervises two to three or more sergeants. Lieutenants can supervise an entire watch shift in a police station or detective squad (narcotics, homicide, etc.) in larger police departments and entire barracks in state police departments, and entire precincts in smaller police departments.
Sergeant: Three chevrons, a police officer who supervises an entire watch shift in smaller departments and areas of a precinct and individual detective squads in larger departments. Some agencies, such as the New Jersey State Police, use a para-militaristic range of sergeant ranks, such as staff sergeant and sergeant first class, in addition to the basic sergeant rank.
Detective/inspector/investigator: An investigator/detective/investigator usually works in plain clothes. This may be in several classes that correspond to higher supervisory and pay grades. In the NYPD, the detective rank is technically a designation: detectives do not actually outrank police officers although they are in charge of cases and are often senior in years of service, and so have a certain degree of authority beyond police officers in specific situations.
Officer/deputy/trooper/corporal: A regular officer or deputy wears no rank insignia, and there may be several pay grades. Corporals, who may be senior officers or acting watch commanders, wear two chevrons. A police corporal is generally employed as an officer as an entry level supervisor position. These duties may include one or more of the following roles:
Police corporals will often act as a lead officer in field situations when a sergeant is not present. The position is also referred to by some agencies as Agent.
In a few departments, such as New York City and Philadelphia, officers from the rank of lieutenant and up wear white shirts instead of the dark blue or black uniform shirts common to lower-ranked police officers. In Philadelphia the rank of sergeant and up wear white shirts. Senior police officers may wear fretting ("scrambled eggs") on their hat visors.
Advancement from officer to captain is generally by appointment after successful completion of a series of examinations, and after the officer has sufficient time in grade. Grades above captain are generally by appointment of the chief or sheriff. In addition, there must be vacancies for a higher rank.
One individual is appointed (by the Governor) as the Deputy Secretary of the Department of Public Safety and Superintendent of the State Police and holds the rank of Colonel. The Colonel wears one gold-colored eagle on each epaulet.
There are four officers with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, each overseeing one of the four bureaus within the State Police. Lieutenant Colonels wear a silver-colored oak leaf on each epaulet.
Majors are responsible for a command within the State Police. Majors wear one gold-colored oak leaf on each epaulet.
The specific responsibilities of a Captain vary depending upon where they are assigned within the Agency. For example, a Captain may be a Troop Commander in the Patrol Bureau or a Division Commander in one of the other Bureaus. Captains wear two gold-colored bars on each epaulet.
The responsibilities of a lieutenant vary within the department. At the Troop level, a lieutenant is typically the commander of a shift. Other Lieutenants in other divisions may command a unit. Lieutenants wear gold-colored metal bars on each epaulet.
Sergeants act as assistant shift commanders or duty officers. A sergeant is generally considered to be a first-line supervisor in most units. Sergeants wear three yellow inverted chevrons on each sleeve under the State Police patch.
The insignia for this rank consists of a gold-colored 'MT' collar pin worn on the wearer's right lapel. Troopers who complete fifteen (15) years of satisfactory or exceptional service are promoted to the rank of Master Trooper. While not considered a first-line supervisor, Master Troopers are occasionally tasked to supervise other lower-ranking Troopers
The insignia for this rank consists of a gold-colored 'ST' collar pin worn on the wearer's right lapel. Troopers who complete ten years of satisfactory or exceptional service are promoted to the rank of Senior Trooper.
The insignia for this rank consists of a gold-colored 'TFC' collar pin worn on the wearer's right lapel. Troopers who complete five years of satisfactory or exceptional service are promoted to the rank of Trooper First Class.
The insignia for this rank consists of a gold-colored 'TPR' collar pin worn on the wearer's right lapel. This rank is attained by Cadets upon successful completion of the training academy.
A Cadet is a raw recruit, and is the rank held by all personnel while assigned as a student at the training academy. These personnel do not wear rank insignia.
The Superintendent of the Maryland State Police holds the rank of colonel. He is the Secretary of the Department of State Police and a member of the governor's cabinet.
There are three officers with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, each overseeing one of the three bureaus within the state police.
Majors are responsible for a command within the state police.
The specific responsibilities of a captain vary depending upon where they are assigned within the agency. For example, a captain may be a troop commander in the Field Operations Bureau or a division commander in one of the other bureaus.
A lieutenant is the commander of each barrack. Other Lieutenants may command a unit.
First sergeants are assistant barrack commanders or may perform administrative functions in other areas.
Detective sergeants are in charge of all criminal investigations at a barracks, or may be assigned to other investigative functions.
Sergeants act as shift commanders or duty officers.
Corporals are the first-line supervisors and are usually assigned as road supervisors within barracks. In the absence of a sergeant, they may act as the duty officer.
Troopers who complete 15 years of satisfactory or exceptional service are promoted to the rank of Master Trooper.
Troopers who complete 10 years of satisfactory or exceptional service are promoted to the rank of Senior Trooper.
Troopers who complete three years of satisfactory or exceptional service are promoted to the rank of TFC.
Candidates successfully completing the academy and field training are appointed as troopers.
The Director of the Vermont State Police may be promoted to full colonel at the discretion of the Commissioner.
The Director of the Vermont State Police is a lieutenant colonel. The Commissioner of Public Safety makes this appointment for a term of three years. The director may be reappointed at the commissioner's discretion. This rank can also be issued to a Deputy Director, though actual use of such a position varies and is not always used.
Captains may be promoted to major on a case-by-case basis when the need arises. Currently the State Police has three majors, each overseeing one of the major divisions of the State Police i.e., Support Services, Field Force and Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI).
Lieutenants with 6 months of experience at that rank may be considered for promotion to captain. Each troop area is overseen by a captain. There are also a number of captains in staff positions.
Sergeants with three years of experience at that level may be considered for promotion to lieutenant. Lieutenants are commissioned officers and the rank generally includes station commanders as well as commanders of other specialized divisions within the State Police.
All members hired after January 1, 1998, must possess a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university to be eligible for a promotion to lieutenant.
Sergeants with 15 years of service are promoted to the rank of Senior Sergeant.
Troopers are eligible for consideration for promotion to sergeant after a minimum of five years with the department. Sergeants in the State Police are the first-line supervisors, typically referred to as patrol commanders. Many of the department's detectives also hold the rank of sergeant. All members hired after January 1, 1998, must possess an associate degree from an accredited college or university to be eligible for a promotion to sergeant.
Senior troopers are promoted to corporal upon completion of fifteen years of service.
Probationary troopers are promoted to the rank of trooper first class after one year of service with the department.
Trooper Probationary No rank insignia. This is the entry level rank of all members of the State Police.
The sheriff is the chief law enforcement officer for East Baton Rouge Parish. The sheriff wears four gold stars on each shoulder.
Sheriff Sid J. Gautreaux, III
The colonel is the Chief Criminal Deputy of the sheriff's office. Ultimately all divisions of the sheriff's office fall under the guidance of the colonel. The colonel wears a silver eagle on each shoulder.
Colonel Lawrence McCleary, Chief Criminal Deputy Stephen Hymel, Chief Civil Deputy
The lieutenant colonel is primarily responsible for the criminal division of the sheriff's office. The lieutenant colonel wears a silver oak leaf on each shoulder. Lieutenant Colonel Dennis Grimes is the Warden at East Baton Rouge Parish Prison. (Warden)
There are four majors in the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office. Majors wear a gold oak leaf on each shoulder.
Major Ron Boucher, Chief of Detectives Major Michael Crawford, Chief of Operations Major Robert Clements, Deputy Warden of the Parish Prison
Captains are commanders of their particular division such as: Kleinpeter Substation, Criminal Investigations, Crime Scene etc... Captains are ultimately responsible for the performance and conduct of the deputies in their command. The sheriff's office has approximately 12+ captains. Captains wear two gold bars on each shoulder.
Lieutenants are shift supervisors. They are responsible for all of the activity on their respective shifts and for ensuring the deputies are serving the citizens and enforcing the laws properly. Lieutenants wear a single gold bar on each shoulder.
Sergeants are assistant shift supervisors. The shift sergeant assists the shift lieutenant with day-to-day activities of his shift and the supervision of deputies under their command. Sergeants must perform patrol activities as well as knowing about the shift as he is the acting shift supervisor when needed. Sergeants wear three inverted chevrons on the uniform shirt collar.
Corporals are first line supervisors who assist the shift sergeants and lieutenants with supervising deputies under their command. Unlike many law enforcement agencies where the rank of corporal is given after a certain period of service, corporals with the Sheriff's office are promoted much like sergeants and are supervisors who routinely perform the job of acting sergeant or scene supervisor when necessary. Corporals wear two inverted chevrons on the uniform shirt collar.
The position of deputy sheriff is the entry job title of the Sheriff's Office. Even after they are promoted or transferred they are still a deputy sheriff as they serve under the sheriff. Deputies do not wear rank insignia.
Two stripes over two rockers, with a star encircled by a wreath in between.
There are four ranks as part of the Career Investigator Program: Investigator I, Investigator II (Senior Investigator), Investigator III (Lead Investigator), and Investigator IV (Master Investigator).
There is only one rank as a Corporal: Corporal I. A Corporal's role is to assist mainly the Sergeant and/or the Lieutenant with overseeing of Probationary Deputies and other Deputies in that division. When a member of the Riverside County Sheriff is promoted to Corporal he/she receives a new uniform with a Corporal Insignia placed on the upper left and right arm underneath the Riverside County Sheriff emblem/insignia.
There are three Deputy Sheriff grades (currently used only for pay grade identification): Deputy Sheriff, Deputy Sheriff A (possesses CA intermediate POST certificate), and Deputy Sheriff B (possesses CA advanced POST certificate). Deputy Sheriff's distinguish themselves from Correctional Deputies and Deputy Coroners by having a yellow stripe down the side of their pants. Correctional Deputies and Deputy Coroners also wear a black tie while Deputy Sheriffs wear a green tie.
Appointed by the Mayor of Chicago. Highest rank in the Chicago Police Department.
Appointed by the Superintendent of Police. Second Highest rank in the Chicago Police Department.
Rank since September 8, 2011. Chiefs are typically in charge of a Bureau.
Rank since September 8, 2011.
Commanders are typically in charge of a district.
Captains are typically Executive Officers of Districts.
Field training officers wear one chevron over one rocker, with "FTO" in the center of the insignia, but are not considered ranking officers.
Chicago detectives are not considered ranking officers, but rather officers assigned to specialized units, e.g. violent crimes, robbery, gang and narcotics (NAGIS), Internal Affairs Division (IAD), Major Accident Investigation Section (MAIS), etc. (Unless they hold the rank of sergeant or above.)
Police officers are the first ranking officers. They are dispatched radio assignments, conduct patrol, and respond to other emergencies as needed.
Police Captain III Police Captain II Police Captain I
Police Lieutenant II Police Lieutenant I
Police Sergeant II
Police Detective II
Police Sergeant I
Police Detective I
Police Senior Lead Officer
Police Officer III
Police Officer II
Police Officer I
Appointment made by the Mayor of Los Angeles, with majority approval of the Police Commission. Should have a college degree and at least 12 years of progressively responsible law enforcement experience.
Commanding Officer of an office or Bureau
Assistant commanding Officer of an office or Bureau
Eligibility for rank promotion achieved after completion of required probationary periods.
At least two years service as Sergeant or Detective before eligibility for promotion to Lieutenant I.
Promotion based on panel interview/departmental assessment.
Certain Police Officers III in special or hazard pay situations (Police Officer III+1s) are denoted by a Police Officer III insignia and star. These roles can include traffic follow-up investigators, canine training officers, SWAT platoon element leaders, and Senior Lead Officers who coordinate geographical areas.
At least four years service as a Police Officer before becoming eligible for promotion to Sergeant I or Detective I (which requires an additional examination and interview).
At least three years service as a Police Officer before eligibility for promotion to Police Officer III
Automatic promotion to Police Officer II upon satisfactory completion of an 18-month probationary assignment (6 months at the academy plus a 12-month field assessment).
The Commissioner of Police holds the rank of Colonel and is appointed by director of public safety. Highest rank in the Metropolitan Police Department.
Deputy chiefs are appointed by the commissioner and hold the rank of lieutenant colonel, the second highest rank in the Metropolitan Police Department.
Majors are appointed by the commissioner.
Captains are appointed by the commissioner.
Assigned to geographic patrol and detective divisions is responsible for supervising patrol sergeants, police officers and detectives who carry out day-to-day, routine crime suppression and investigative functions
Sergeants are responsible for the direct supervision of their patrol division and the conduct, appearance and performance of personnel assigned under their command.
Performs duties to patrol a specific area to protect life and property, and enforce laws and ordinances using tactful and courteous treatment of the public and conscientious and efficient performance of duties.
Following graduation from the academy, officers receive the title Probationary Police Officer (PPO) for twelve months until being promoted to Police Officer. v
The goal of the program is to provide interested individuals between the ages of 18 and 20½ with paid, on the job training and exposure to various police department units; the opportunity to earn course credit; and the foundation to be successful and well-prepared upon entering the St. Louis Police Academy once turning 20½.
Chief of Service. Responsible for the entirety of the Police Service.
Deputy Chief of Service. Charged with assisting the Chief of Police in running the entirety of the Police Service.
Supervisory Police Officer or Supervisory Security Specialist. This position is equivalent in grade to a Captain. However, this rank is awarded to those officers specifically charged with overseeing patrol operations.
Supervisory Police Officer or Supervisory Security Specialist. Usually commands a section or division within the Service, such as Physical Security, Administration, Investigations, Communications etc.
Supervisory Police Officers (Watch Commanders). Supervises a shift (or multiple shifts) of Police and Security personnel, including Police Officers, Sergeants, and Security Assistants (Dispatchers).
Lead Police Officers (Watch Leaders). Assists the Watch Commander in running a shift of Police Officers and Security Assistants (Dispatchers). First line leaders within the Service.
Detectives are police investigators charged with investigating those crimes that do not fall under the purview of the VA Inspector General's Office (OIG).-
This rank is authorized at the local level. It is the same grade as a journeyman level police officer. Generally, this rank is awarded to those officers who hold a special certification or responsibility.
Charged with performing a wide array of policing duties with the jurisdiction of VA.