Police organizations are paramilitary in organizational structure that define leadership and management hierarchy. Insignia on police uniforms are visible displays of identification designating that officer's rank within the department. This visible insignia allows other officers, other agencies, the public, and the media to identify who is in charge, or has leadership and management responsibilities.
Police management can be grouped into 3 categories:
Chief administrative level - Consists of the chief executive officer and his staff. In any police organization, this staff may have various titles such as captain, assistant chief, major, etc. and is usually above the rank of lieutenant.
Command level - Consists of those positions who have authority over the line and staff functions of the organization and are generally those with the rank of lieutenant or above, yet below the administrative level.
Supervisory level - Consists of those who have limited supervisory duties of line or staff functions and generally are ranking officers below the rank of lieutenant and may have various titles such as sergeant, corporal, supervisor, etc.
The Chief of Police is the highest ranking police officer in the department. The Chief is appointed by the City Council and commands the department.
Captains are administrative staff to the Chief of Police and command divisions within the police department. They receive their duties and responsibilities directly from the Chief of Police.
Lieutenants command a shift or bureau in which they are assigned and receive their duties and responsibilities directly from the Captain that commands their division. They may command a patrol shift or investigation division.
Sergeants are assistant supervisors and receive their duties and responsibilities directly from their immediate Lieutenant.