Tuesday, December 31, 2019


Majority of Sworn Law Enforcement agencies have a set rank structure in place, commonly known or referred to as the Chain of Command. The higher the person is on the Chain of Command the more responsibilities he/she has. 

At the top of the Chain of Command is the Sheriff or Chief, he/she are responsible for the entire agency and nothing major happens without them knowing about it in some form or another. In addition to that, the Sheriff or Chief also has full knowledge and access to all records unless it pertains to an internal incident where they are under investigation.

Just like every other career path Law enforcement has eligibility requirements in order to be promoted to the next rank in the Chain of Command. Normally LEOs begin at the very bottom of the Chain of Command, but after a certain amount of time passes and proficiencies are demonstrated in the field they can granted a merit promotion to the next rank.

This isn’t normally a supervisory rank, but one that shows they have been with agency and operating in the field for an extended period of time. After that merit promotion anything further requires the LEO to submit a memorandum and go through a sort of process to be considered for a promotion.

The Promotional process in most agencies usually involve a panel interview with the command staff of the agency and a passing score on a written examination. The examination normally focuses on policies, procedures, and scenario based questions. To even be eligible to participate in the process there are normally time in uniform requirements attached to the announcement of a Promotional process.

Once the process is completed those that passed everything are placed on an eligibility list for a set period of time, so as promotional spots become available those on the list can be promoted to fill said spots. The higher the person is on the eligibility list, the higher the chances are that they will be promoted before the list expires.

This method isn’t only used to move up the Chain of Command through promotion, it is normally the same process if an Officer wants to join a specialized unit (i.e. SWAT, SERT, CID, EOD, Major Crimes, etc.). Specialized units can add onto the requirements as much as needed to allow them to get the best qualified person on their teams.

For example: To be eligible for the SWAT team, an applicant may be required to go through a panel interview and demonstrate specific tactical awareness in a practical exercise. Whereas an applicant for an investigative team may only have to pass a panel interview and provide a successful case that they worked.

There are many directions when it comes to the rank structure within Law enforcement, but every position has its place in the Chain of Command and designated responsibilities unique to that position. 

If you are looking to be promoted or move up the chain my best advice is to learn as much as you can and demonstrate that knowledge amongst the agency to build a good reputation. In addition to that, always have an open mind that is ready to learn and work with a team. It is that simple, promotion in Law enforcement aren’t rare…anyone can get one if they are dedicated towards doing so….

Promotions and Rank Structure…