There are a variety of different specialties within the ranks and membership of a police department. In this video the Manchester-by-the-Sea Police Department located in Massachusetts introduces the various roles department members have in the community, including dispatch, overdose outreach, school resource officer, and animal control.
Members of the Manchester-by-the-Sea Police Department featured in the video include:
- Chief Todd Fitzgerald
- Dispatcher Katie Elwell
- Sgt. Chris Locke
- Sgt. Stephen Louf
- Animal Control Officer Hayes Demeule
- School Resource Officer Andrea Locke
- Detective Mike Richard
- Accreditation Manager Officer Ryan Machain
- Lt. Mark McCoy
“Most of our role as police officers in Manchester-by-the-Sea is to be the helpers,” Sgt. Locke, who oversees the night shift for patrols in the department, said. “I’m very proud of the people on my shift and I am very proud to say that we’re here when residents need us. We’ll be there when you call, especially and even if it is in the middle of the night.”
Sgt. Louf, who oversees day shift patrols for the department as well as the department’s Overdose Outreach Follow-Up Team speaks in the video about the department’s efforts to connect those struggling with substance use and mental health issues to resources for support and recovery. The Overdose Outreach Follow-Up Team is a partnership with the Essex Police Department (Massachusetts), Lahey Behavioral Health and One Stop, a free prevention and screening service based out of Gloucester, Massachusetts.
“What we do is go out into the community and meet with people who have a substance use issue or a mental health issue, and we try to offer them services and curb them into treatment,” Sgt. Louf said. “It was important for us to focus on mental health issues and substance use issues because too many times people were being brought into the criminal justice system and they didn’t really belong there.”
Animal Control Officer Demeule speaks in the video about the various responsibilities animal control officers have, not only to enforce laws but to educate residents about laws and animal care, and to share resources with pet owners.
“I like to be the person that is there on the scene to help, and I think Animal Control Officers are like that — we’re here to help,” Officer Demeule. “And that’s why we chose to do this job. We’re not just here for the animals and the love of the animals, we’re here for the people too.”
For the latest updates, visit the Manchester-by-the-Sea Police Department’s website by clicking here.
This video was produced by John Guilfoil Public Relations, which provides public relations and video services for police and fire departments across New England, and manages RedBlueJobs.
Public fire departments were initially founded as paramilitary organizations; therefore, fire departments across the United States tend to follow military ranks and structure. A fireman spends a certain amount of time, determined by the department, at each level. In many cases, firefighters need to take exams and partake in interviews with superiors to rise in ranks. Depending on the size of the municipality that the fire department is part of, the positions might vary based on the town’s needs; however, for the most part, fire departments follow the following ranks:
A firefighter’s journey begins as a Probationary Firefighter. As a Probationary Firefighter, you serve as the newest member and lowest ranking of the department. Sometimes referred to as “probies” or “rookie,” these members are “at-will” employees and the department could terminate the individual at any time due to any reason. This position is very much a learning role and closely monitored by senior firefighters. Probationary officers tend to stay in the “temporary” role for 6-12 months. The department heads then determine if the candidate is a good fit in both temperament and skills for a fire service career.
According to zip recruiter, the average salary of a Probationary Firefighter is $44,117 per year.
While the term “Firefighter” is a common term used for anyone within the fire department, “Firefighter” is also a rank. A Firefighter is the most hands-on position in the fire department. This role is responsible for fire suppression, search, and rescue. The responsibilities of a Firefighter vary depending on the type of company they belong to. For example, a firefighter in an Engine Company is responsible for providing water to the scene of a fire, identifying the fire’s location, and suppressing it. The department trains members of a rescue company to be knowledgeable in building construction, rigging ropes, rescues from buildings and vehicles, among other emergency protocols and procedures. Learn more about the different types of companies here.
Pay for a Firefighter ranges significantly based on the location of the department and years of experience, but on average, Firefighters make around $53,000 per year, according to salary.com.
Driver Engineer or Fire Equipment Operator
The Driver Engineer manages the technical aspects of fire safety and rescue. As the name suggests, the Driver Engineer is responsible for driving the apparatus (for example, the fire engine or ladder truck). Depending on what type of company they are in, they also would be in charge of operating either the aerial ladder or the fire pump. The Driver Engineer or Equipment Operator is the expert on the apparatus and should know all the equipment’s technicalities inside and out. This position does frequent safety checks of their apparatus and makes sure it is maintained and cleaned.
When the Lieutenant is not available, the department will expect the Driver Engineer or Fire Equipment Operator to step in and assume this role.
On average, a Driver Engineer can expect to make $97,011 per year (according to zip recruiter). For a large metropolitan area like Cambridge, MA, a Driver Engineer can expect to be paid upwards of $114,894.
The Lieutenant is responsible for the administration and supervision of the fire company. This position is a leadership role and might perform tasks such as implementing the station’s goals and objectives as well as managing schedules and shift task priorities. In addition to these leadership responsibilities, the Lieutenant will also perform duties as an officer to bring fire suppression and medical care to their town or city citizens.
According to Glassdoor.com, a Lieutenant can make anywhere between $53,000 to $125,000 per year.
The Captain is the leader of a company of firefighters assigned to a specific firehouse. This position is responsible for ensuring the station house, fire trucks, and equipment are within the department’s maintenance standards. During a fire alarm, the Captain is like the department’s quarterback and will make determinations based on the fire’s nature, condition of the structure, and the water supply source to direct their company accordingly. This role also may be in charge of training and drills.
A fire captain’s salary ranges greatly, but according to salary.com the 50th percentile of fire captain salary is $81,819.
The Battalion Chief typically oversees numerous firehouses and companies. This role is responsible for planning, organizing, directing, coordinating, and supervising the activities of an assigned shift, including the management of personnel, fire prevention and training activities, and oversight of significant programs. A Battalion Chief also oversees the captains of the various companies and fire stations.
According to salary.com, a Battalion Chief can expect to make a starting salary of around $86,000 per year.
The Assistant Fire Chief supports the Fire Chief or Commissioner. This role performs various technical, administrative, and supervisory work in planning, organizing, directing, and implementing firefighter and officer training, fire prevention, suppression, and emergency medical services.
According to salary.com, an Assistant Fire Chief for a large metropolitan area like New York City should expect to make around $93,454.
The Fire Chief is the leader and commander of an entire fire organization and is the highest-ranking officer. This role is in charge of tasks such as supervising other officers and firefighters at an emergency scene and recruiting, training, and equipping them for their respective duties. A fire chief is directly responsible for the efficient operation of battalions and/or stations and has authority over all personnel, apparatuses, and activities.
A fire chief’s salary ranges greatly. The national average is around $92,302 per year with $150,000 per year being on the higher end of the salary range.
To learn more about specific open fire department positions, visit RedBlueJob’s fire job board and discover your dream job.
All fire departments across the United States tend to follow a similar organizational structure. While this format can vary depending on the needs of the municipality, each fire department generally follows the same configuration. The Chief is on the top of the fire department’s organization and leads a group of battalions (or sometimes just one in the case of many small towns). Companies make up the battalions and are organized around a piece of apparatus like a fire engine and the specialty of the team.
Keep reading to learn more about each structural grouping and the essential roles that keep citizens safe from fire danger.
Fire Chief (Commissioner)
Similar to the framework of a police department, the Fire Chief (sometimes referred to as Fire Commissioner) is the head of the entire department and is accountable to the mayor or city council/commission. The duties of the Fire Chief vary greatly based on the size of the department. In general, the Fire Chief directly supervises the heads of each battalion. The Chief is responsible for creating policy aligned with the municipality’s principles and goals. Additionally, the Chief oversees the operational tasks of running a fire department such as fiscal management and code enforcement.
Battalions consist of a grouping of stations. Occasionally, a battalion can be referred to as a district (such as within the Boston Fire Department). A Battalion Chief (or District Chief) typically heads each battalion and reports directly to the Fire Chief. Depending on the population and needs of the city, a fire department could have any number of battalions. For example, New York City with a population of nearly 8.4 million has 53 battalions. In contrast, a smaller city such as Palo Alto, California (population of 66,666) has four battalions, and an even smaller town, like Georgetown, Texas (population of 49,562), may only have one.
A station is a physical location that houses different companies and apparatuses (such as a fire truck or engine). Typically, fire stations are named after the company or major piece of apparatus that they house. For example, in New York City, each station is named after a piece of apparatus located there (lower Manhattan’s station on South Street is called Engine 4).
A company is a basic unit within a fire department. An apparatus (a fire truck for example) and the crew of firefighters and emergency services personnel that operates it, make up a company (sometimes referred to as an engine or truck company). There are different types of companies depending on the apparatus and skill set of the crew.
Engine Company or Pumper Company
This specific company is responsible for providing water to the scene of a fire, identifying the location of the fire, and suppressing it. This company typically has at least one extremely skilled pump operator, but each firefighter on the rig is trained in operating the pump and controlling the pump panel. While it is not this type of company’s main focus, some engine company personnel might have the capability to provide basic medical or rescue response.
Truck Company or Ladder Company
The Truck or Ladder Companies focus on accessing areas of the building that cannot be reached easily on foot. These areas typically include the upper floor and the roof of the building. Firefighters in a truck/ladder company are skilled in choosing and operating the most appropriate type of ladder depending on the situation. Typically, the truck or ladder company is equipped with either a tower ladder or a truck-mounted aerial ladder. A Captain tends to be the leader of a truck/ladder company reporting directly to a Battalion Chief.
The rescue company is the most highly skilled company in the department. Members of a rescue company are trained in building construction, rigging ropes, rescues from buildings and vehicles, among other emergency protocols and procedures. Additionally, firefighters in this company, as the name suggests, will rescue victims from fires and confined spaces.
Depending on the size and needs of the municipality, a fire department might have more specialized companies. For example, the Chicago Fire Department also has a fireboat engine company and two specialized aerial tower companies.
Support Services and Fire Prevention
Rounding out the fire department are support-type departments and services. These departments could include personnel, HR, and/or training. Fire prevention focuses on providing permits, public education, and performing inspections. Lastly, in some areas and municipalities, there may be special operations that focus on areas such as technical rescues, hazardous materials, marine/diving rescue, and many others.
To learn more about open positions within fire departments across the country, take a look at the RedBlueJobs.com job portal.
If you have been considering a career in criminal justice, the chances are that you’ve noticed that police officers have different ranks. Ranks are used within law enforcement to demonstrate seniority. Each police department is unique and could have all or just a few ranks (or potentially have a similar rank with a different name). Below we examine the most commonly used police ranks and the general salary range for each position.
The Police Chief (sometimes referred to as the Police Commissioner) is the entire department’s head. The mayor or city council appoints the Chief. The responsibilities of this role include overseeing the department and ensuring it is running effectively. The Chief will manage the department budgets, staffing, and reporting to the mayor and/or city council.
There is a broad range of salaries for a Police Chief. For a large municipality like the City of Boston, the Police Commissioner will make upwards of $250,000.
Deputy Police Chief
The Deputy Police Chief has a wide range of responsibilities depending on the department’s needs. Some of these responsibilities can include assisting the Police Chief or the Police Commissioner in planning and directing the department’s different sections. This role is also typically involved in supervising police officers, investigators, and administrative staff. Additionally, if the Chief of Police needed to be absent for any reason, the Deputy Police Chief would assume the Chief’s responsibilities.
The average salary for a Deputy Chief is around $81,901 but can go up to $135,000 for a more experienced Deputy Chief in a larger municipality.*
The Police Captain supervises and commands a precinct or a division of the police department. A Police Captain will manage the use of resources throughout their division. A Captain will look at crime statistics and then make management decisions on where it makes the most sense to allocate money and staffing. Overall, the Police Captain’s primary responsibility is to make sure policing priorities and funding meet citizens’ needs. Additionally, the Police Captain needs to serve as a manager to ensure morale is high, and the work environment is positive within their command.
A Police Captain’s salary ranges from $52,000 to $160,000, with a median income of $81,000.*
While the Police Captain focuses on the overall management of a division or precinct, the Lieutenant manages daily activities. Among many responsibilities, the Lieutenant will oversee the officers under his or her command. This oversight includes determining shifts and approving overtime. This position requires leadership ability, and the Lieutenant is expected to motivate and manage employees. A Lieutenant also oversees the training of officers, evaluates the performance of individuals, and recommends promotions.
A Lieutenant should expect to make anywhere between $51,000 and $143,000 with a median income of around $78,000.*
The Police Sergeant rank is the first supervisory role going up the chain of command. A Sergeant will perform the role of a police officer, while also supervising officers and other employees. This role would typically be expected to create and distribute shift notices and assignments, conduct interviews and evaluations of potential police officer candidates, and administer performance reviews.
The Sergeant’s salary ranges from $45,000 and $114,000, with a median income of about $69,000.*
The Police Corporal will report to and work closely with the Police Sergeant to execute his or her orders and is an entry-level supervisory role. A Corporal manages police personnel assigned by the Sergeant under his or her command. Corporals perform law enforcement responsibilities, but also have administrative and management duties.
Like all positions, the Police Corporal’s salary varies considerably based on the individual’s experience and size of the municipality. In the city of Dallas, Texas (population of 1.334 million), Corporals can be expected to earn $79,000 to $89,000.
Police Officer/Patrol Officer/Detective
A Police Officer’s overall responsibility is to enforce the law and protect citizens in their city, precinct, or district. A Police Officer’s role can range from general duties such as patrolling neighborhoods to creating positive community relations through outreach and educational services, to arresting and processing criminals and testifying in court when called. Police Officers are also typically expected to write reports and conduct initial investigations of crimes.
A Police Detective’s role can be more specific, focusing on areas such as homicide, sex crimes, or property crimes. Detectives are expected to interview suspects, gather facts, lead raids/arrests, and report on their findings.
A Police Officer’s salary greatly varies with an opportunity for overtime pay. In Massachusetts, a Police Officer can earn from $31,000 to $126,000 with a median income of $61,000.*
Police Technicians play an essential role in the behind-the-scenes organization and filing of paperwork. For example, if a civilian needs help to file a report of non-violent crimes such as an auto accident or theft, a Police Technician would typically take the information and file it. This role is usually entry-level and is occupied by a civilian or a probationary Police Officer.
Accordingly to comparably.com, the US average salary of a Police Technician is $37,946.
*according to payscale.com
While the structure is different within each municipal police department, there are general consistencies. Depending on the size of the department, the number of divisions and units may vary. In 2016, the FBI estimated that there are more than 18,000 local police departments across the country.
Each department is unique in its structure and size, depending on its municipality’s needs; however, most departments tend to follow a basic format with a Chief of Police on the top of the police department hierarchy. Under the Chief of Police, there are at least two, but more likely, three divisions: Operations, Administration, and Investigations/Support.
These three units serve unique but equally essential functions.
Chief of Police
Police departments typically are led by a Chief of Police, although this lead role is also referred to as Commissioner or Superintendent. In large metropolitan areas, the head of the police department is typically called the Police Commissioner, and in smaller towns, this role is typically the chief of police. For example, the Boston Police Department is headed by Police Commissioner William Gross, while a smaller town like Portsmouth, New Hampshire, is headed by Chief of Police Robert Merner.
This position is appointed by the town’s leadership, such as the mayor, the city council, or commission. The Police Chief or Commissioner will report directly to the mayor. This role typically requires at least a bachelor’s degree, although many police chiefs also have a graduate degree.
The Operations Division is commonly what people think of when they think of the police department. It consists of the department’s largest number of personnel. Additionally, the Patrol Division potentially has the most contact with the public. Roles within this division can include Traffic, Animal Control, Parking, Community Policing, Patrol Watch, Auxiliary Police, and Patrol Officers. The number of Patrol Officers in a police department (and how specialized the position is) varies depending on the city’s size. For example, Cambridge, Massachusetts, with a population of 105,162 residents, has 215 police/patrol officers, while a smaller town like Concord, Massachusetts, with a population of 17,669, has only 22 patrol officers.
A police department’s administrative division does much of the behind the scenes work to keep the entire department functioning. Specialized services within this department include Record Management, Training, Crime Analysis, Communications, Administration, Property/Evidence, Dispatch, and Fingerprinting. An applicant does not need to attend the police academy or have extra training for many administrative positions.
Although not the part of a police department seen by the public, the Investigations/Support Division is commonly depicted on television shows like Law and Order. This division includes detectives focused on specific public safety matters like domestic violence and vice/narcotics. While the Patrol Division is more likely to deal with crimes as they are happening, the investigators and detectives are responsible for the followup investigation of most crimes. They do this by interviewing witnesses and gathering and analyzing evidence. Typically to become a detective, someone would need to start as a Patrol Officer to gain experience and then apply or be promoted to a detective position.
The police department offers jobs for all levels of training and experience in these three different divisions. Browse jobs in each of these sectors on our job portal or upload your resume for free and be found by police departments looking for qualified candidates.