U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Shifting Landscape of Chief's Jobs

NCJ Number
Law and Order Volume: 47 Issue: 10 Dated: October 1999 Pages: 49-51
Richard B. Weinblatt
Date Published
3 pages
The job of police chief has changed markedly in recent years, as revealed in interviews with several professionals.
Chief William Berger of the North Miami Beach, Fla., Police Department, reports that his role has expanded beyond that of disciplinarian of the troops to one of a community leader. Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C., Police Chief Darrell Stephens states that police chiefs need to be visionary and responsive. Dr. Craig Fraser of the Police Executive Research Forum notes that police chiefs need broad experience; must be multidimensional; need to understand what their officers, command staff, and the public think; and must anticipate what the city council, mayor, or city manager wants. They also need to understand economic development in a community. Consultant Bill Geller says that prospective police chiefs should attend conferences to meet current chiefs and that police chiefs need to be educated, well-informed police strategists. Fraser cites the many pressures of being a police chief as a reason some officers retire at age 40 to enter other occupations rather than aspiring to become a chief. Some States prefer chiefs from within the State; others often import chiefs from other States. The selection process is challenging and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Kim Kohlepp of the International Association of Chiefs of Police reports that an increasing amount of research is going into the selection of police chiefs and that selection tools include panels from the community. Some locales make extensive use of assessment centers. The average tenure for a police chief is around 5 years; the age range has also dropped. Despite the toughness of the job, policing conferences will continue to be attended many aspiring police chiefs