After several years in a police officer job, some officers are ready to pursue other law enforcement careers. Some are interested in receiving a promotion to sergeant. Depending on the size of the police department, in general a police sergeant supervises a specific watch shift or area of a precinct, or an individual detective squad. When a police officer is in line for promotion to the rank of sergeant, those considering promoting the officer will consider several factors.
First up is passing the sergeant exam. An officer will usually have to have rendered a certain number of years of continued service in order to qualify to take this examination. The officer should determine the examination requirements for the officer's own department. The sergeant examination is difficult, and many who attempt it do not pass. You should prepare well for the exam by reading study books and taking practice examinations that are available online. However, passing the sergeant exam is not a guarantee of a promotion, as other factors are taken into consideration.
In addition to passing the sergeant exam with a high score, another qualification is the officer's employment record and job performance. Service and performance are heavily weighted in the promotion evaluation process; officers seeking promotion should demonstrate exemplary service and perform their duties well at all times. Police officers should also learn as much as they can about the police sergeant job. The police sergeant will continue to perform some of the duties of police officer, such as patrolling, monitoring traffic, apprehending and arresting suspects, and responding to emergency calls. The additional responsibilities of police sergeant include supervising other patrol officers and police staff, assigning their duties, and evaluating their performance. Sergeants provide training and guidance and investigate any complaints or allegations of misconduct against their group of officers. Report writing continues to be an important aspect of the job, whether it is documenting an incident or some other requisite report. Sergeants must also review the reports written by their officers.
Police officers who are determined to get promoted will also continue their education in order to learn as much as they can about their job and to demonstrate they take their responsibilities seriously. There are numerous certification and other programs available for law enforcement officers to enhance their education and experience. Officers can demonstrate their seriousness by doing what is necessary to advance their careers.
Last Updated: 08/20/2013
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