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Police Supervisor  What They Do

Just the Facts


Supervises and coordinates the law enforcement activities of members of a police force.

This career is part of the Law, Public Safety, Corrections and Security cluster Law Enforcement Services pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Supervises and coordinates the investigation of criminal cases, offering guidance and expertise to investigators, and ensuring that procedures are conducted in accordance with laws and regulations.
  • Maintains logs, prepares reports, and directs the preparation, handling, and maintenance of departmental records.
  • Explains police operations to subordinates to assist them in performing their job duties.
  • Cooperates with court personnel and officials from other law enforcement agencies and testifies in court as necessary.
  • Reviews contents of written orders to ensure adherence to legal requirements.
  • Investigates and resolves personnel problems within organization and charges of misconduct against staff.
  • Directs collection, preparation, and handling of evidence and personal property of prisoners.
  • Informs personnel of changes in regulations and policies, implications of new or amended laws, and new techniques of police work.
  • Trains staff in proper police work procedures.
  • Monitors and evaluates the job performance of subordinates, and authorizes promotions and transfers.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Exposure to pollutants, gases, dust, fumes, odors, poor ventilation, etc.
  • Lighting is either extremely bright or inadequate
  • Conditions are very hot (above 90 F) or very cold (under 32 F)
  • Exposed to hazardous equipment such as saws, machinery, or vehicular traffic more than once a month
  • Exposed to hazardous situations involving possible injury such as cuts, bites, stings, and minor burns more than once a month
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Work in this occupation requires being outside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Overtime work
  • Rotating shift work
  • Weekend work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Chief Deputy Sheriff -- Directs and coordinates activities of county sheriff’s department.
  • Chief of Police -- Oversees, directs and plans all activities of the police department personnel in their municipality. They design and implement various law enforcement programs for their community and maintain field control during community emergencies.
  • Hostage Negotiator -- Negotiates with a person or a group, for the release of one or more hostages.
  • Sheriff -- Supervises a force of deputies and other employees of the sheriff's department and responsible for enforcing the law on a county level, and on a city level where there are no city police.
  • Special Weapons and Tactics Officer (SWAT Officer) -- Specializes in resolving high-risk law enforcement situations that require skills and training beyond the capacity of a regular police officer.