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The Qualities & Characteristics of a Police Chief

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A police chief is more than just another job at the police department. As the head of the entire department, the chief serves as a public figure in the community. Police chiefs must display several important characteristics and qualities, as this job requires integrity, fairness and the ability to be stern. Communities across the country have outlined several qualities they desire their police chief to have.

Honesty and Integrity

These two characteristics must be well-ingrained in any police chief, as they are often responsible to make bottom line decisions. Oftentimes these characteristics are so important to a community, that they have a candidates background and character traits investigated. While these are important traits for anyone in law enforcement, it is especially important that a police chief display these qualities.

Open-Minded and Accessible

Because a police chief is often the liaison to the public for the entire police department, it is important that this individual be open-minded and accessible. Police chiefs are often on hand at public meetings, and members of the public should feel comfortable approaching the police chief with any issues or concerns they may have about the safety of their community.

Commitment to Diversity

In this day and age, it is important that any public persona be open and committed to diversity, as each community is such a melting pot. A police chief should be willing to work with officers of all ages, races, religions and ethnicities and also be committed to improving the diversity of the police department. In addition, a police chief should be open to the many diversities of the community and not hold prejudiced or biased beliefs. A police chief should display a solid track record of treating people of racial, ethnic and socioeconomic differences with fairness.

Ability to Lead

As the head of the police department and also a liaison to the public, a police chief should be a a proven leader. It is important that candidates for the police chief position can develop alternatives, solve problems and manage employees effectively. A police chief should also lead its force of police officers by example, by being not only a responsible member of law enforcement but an available person in the community.


Catherine Copeland has been writing professionally since 2005. Her articles have been published in newspapers such as "The Jackson Citizen Patriot" and "The State News." Copeland holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Michigan State University.

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