How To Become a Captain of Police

To pursue a career as a police captain, you need extensive experience working as a police officer and addressing crime. In most police departments, you must also complete additional education in criminal justice or criminology, such as a bachelor’s or master’s degree.

Police Chief Explains How To Become A Police Officer

What does a police captain do?

A police captain performs administrative duties and investigations and also responds to police situations. As commanding officer of a police division, a police captains job duties might include:

Police captains that specialize in certain divisions, such as homicide, have additional duties specific to that department. If the police commander is unavailable for any reason, the police captain assumes those responsibilities, as well.

What is a captain of police?

A captain of police is a high-level public officer who is responsible for a police department, district or precinct. Police captains report to the police chief. They might specialize in a certain area or division, such as:

They spend time in an office and also travel to locations throughout their jurisdiction.


To advance to a police captain role, you need lots of training and many years of experience working as a police officer, sergeant or lieutenant. Follow these steps to become a police captain:

1. Graduate high school

To begin your police career, you need at least a high school diploma or GED. You also need to be at least 18 or 22 years old, depending on the jurisdiction.

2. Earn a degree

To improve your chances of becoming a police captain, get a two-year associate or four-year bachelors degree in law enforcement, criminal justice, criminology, law or a related field. Consider taking courses that prepare you for your career, such as:

You might also consider taking business and leadership courses or getting your masters degree in law enforcement or criminal justice to show your commitment to working in a leadership position such as police captain.

3. Enroll in the Police Academy

All police officers need to complete Police Academy training, which teaches them basic law enforcement skills and knowledge. To enroll, you must:

Police Academy training usually takes six months to complete. It includes formal classes as well as hands-on training in self-defense, fitness and firearms.

4. Pass field training

After completing Police Academy training, you spend eight to 12 weeks in a field training officer program. During this period, you practice what you learned at the academy in a real-life setting under an experienced officers supervision. That officer evaluates your performance to determine whether you can succeed as a police officer.

5. Complete a trial period

Once you pass field training, you spend a year in a trial period, also called probationary solo patrol. During your first year, you learn on the job, making decisions and taking responsibility for them. Your supervisor watches you closely to make sure you do your job properly and safely.

6. Take a specialty position

After spending a year or two on trial, you can become a qualified police officer. At this time, you can choose to gain experience or specialize in a certain area, such as the detective and investigation unit, the K-9 unit or the SWAT team. Getting experience in as many positions as possible can help you understand how departments work and prepare you to be a police captain.

7. Advance through the ranks

From police officer, you can get promoted to higher ranks, starting with sergeant. You can qualify for sergeant positions after gaining five to 10 years of experience. Sergeants are low-level supervisors who oversee the officers and functions on a police squad.

After another year or two, you might get promoted to a middle-ranking position such as lieutenant, who manages several sergeants. After nine to 20 years in the police force, you can apply to a police captain position.


Police captains need the skills to protect themselves, their police force and the public. Police captain skills include:


What is a captain role in police?

Police Captain Careers

As the commanding officer of a patrol or detective division, a police captain is responsible for such activities as: Inspecting and overseeing the functions of the patrol officers or detectives. Supervising the administrative and support functions of non-sworn personnel.

What is the highest rank in police?

Director general of police (DGP) is a rank in the Indian Police Service, held by the highest ranking police officer in a State or Union Territory of India, typically heading the state or UT police force. The DGP is appointed by the cabinet and holds a three-star rank.

Is Chief higher than Captain?

Grades above captain are generally by appointment of the chief or sheriff. In addition, there must be vacancies for a higher rank. In police departments, the second-highest rank is usually similar to a chief of staff.

How do you become a LAPD detective?

The application process includes seven steps:
  1. Background application and job questionnaire.
  2. Personal Qualification Essay.
  3. Background investigation and polygraph examination.
  4. Physical fitness test.
  5. Formal interview.
  6. Medical evaluation and psychological evaluation.
  7. Certification and appointment.

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