Chicago Police Department

Structure

The Superintendent of Police leads the Chicago Police Department. The Superintendent manages five bureaus, each commanded by a Deputy Superintendent.1 The first deputy superintendent manages day-to-day operations, reporting directly to the superintendent.

There are twenty-five police districts2, each led by a Commander who oversees their district. Commanders report to Area Deputy Chiefs who report to the Deputy Superintendent of Patrol who reports to the Superintendent of Police who in turn is subject to the authority of the Mayor of Chicago.

Chicago P.D. Ranks

  • Superintendent of Police (Four Silver Five-Pointed Stars)
  • First Deputy Superintendent (Three Silver Five-Pointed Stars)
  • Deputy Superintendent (Two Silver Five-Pointed Stars)
  • Chief (One Silver Five-Pointed Star) - Charles Hopkins (NPC)
  • Assistant Deputy Superintendent (Silver or Gold Spread Eagle)
  • Deputy Chief (Silver Oak Leaf)
  • Commander (Gold Oak Leaf)

  • Captain (Two Silver Bars)
    • Requires: At least 7 years as a certified officer, at least 3 of them as a Lieutenant.
  • Lieutenant, Inspector (One Silver Bar for Lieutenant) (An inspector wears the Lieutenant's uniform less any rank insignia)
    • Requires: At least 5 years as a certified officer, at least 2 of them as a Sergeant.
  • Sergeant (Three Chevrons)
    • Requires: At least 3 years as a certified police officer and at least 1 of those years on the Chicago PD.
  • Police Officer Assigned as Detective, Police Technician, Field Training Officer, Investigator, Gang Crime Specialist, Police Agent, Traffic Specialist, Marine Unit Officer, K-9 Officer
  • Police Officer

As with other big-city departments, Chicago detectives are not considered ranking officers (IE: outranking standard Officers), but rather officers assigned to specialized units (EG: violent crimes, robbery, gang and narcotics, etc). Field Training Officers wear one chevron over one rocker, with "FTO" in the center of the insignia, but are also not considered ranking officers.

  • Roughly, for every 100 (actually 103) cops:
    • 60 Officers
    • 20 Detective Officers
      • 10 Sergeants
      • 5 Detective Sergeants
        • 5 Lieutenants
        • 2 Detective Lieutenants
          • 1 Captain

Jack Webb (speaking about his character, Joe Friday, on Dragnet)

"Few people remember that Friday was promoted toward the end of our run. We think it's better to have Joe a sergeant again. Few detective-lieutenants get out into the field."

For those who have watched Barney Miller:

Most of the cast were Detectives, with occasional Officers showing up (Officer Levitt often begrudged the detectives for being seemingly 'better' than himself and the other blue-shirts). Two of the six "office cast" (Yemana, typically doing paperwork and making bad coffee, and Chano, typically going undercover) were Sergeants, and Barney was a Captain. No Lieutenants were featured, between the two Sergeants and the one Captain.

For those who have watched Law & Order:

Most of the two-cop parings are Detectives, with a few Sergeants (Sgts. Greevey, Cerreta, and Munch), and the commanding officer is typically a Captain (except for Lt.Van Buren).
Law & Order Cast
Law & Order SVU Cast
Law & Order CI Cast

Insignia

While star-shaped badges are common among state and county law enforcement agencies in the United States, they are rare among municipal police forces outside of Chicago and its surrounding suburbs. Chicago's five-pointed star-shaped badge (referred to as "star" vice "badge" in the vernacular of the department) also changes to reflect the different castes of officers.

  • The stars of most Chicago Police officers (patrolmen through captain) are of silver-coloured metal, with broad points.
  • Command ranks have gold-coloured stars with sharp points.
  • A ring surrounding the full-colour City seal in the star's centre changes colour for each rank within these two classifications.
  • Like most American police forces, the officer's rank is written in an arc above the centre element.

The Chicago Police Department's shoulder sleeve insignia, worn on the top of the left sleeve, is unusual in two regards.

  • Its shape is octagonal instead of one of the more typical shapes used by most other American police forces.
  • The embroidery colours vary depending upon the wearer's rank.
  • In all cases, the patch is a white octagon with a full-colour rendering of the city seal, ringed in gold, with "Chicago" written in an arc above the seal, and "Police" written in an arc below the seal.
  • For patrolmen and detectives (detectives are occasionally uniformed for ceremonies and details), the octogon's outer edge is finished in dark blue thread, and the text is embroidered in dark blue thread.
  • For sergeants, lieutenants and captains, the octogon's outer edge is finished in gold-coloured thread, and the text is embroidered in dark blue thread.
  • For so-called "command ranks" (commander through superintendent), the octogon's outer edge is finished in gold-coloured thread, and the text is embroidered in gold-coloured thread.

Service longevity is reflected just above the left cuff on long-sleeved uniforms.

  • Five years of service are indicated by a horizontal bar, embroidered in gold-coloured thread;
  • Ten years by two bars;
  • Fifteen by three bars;
  • Twenty by a five-pointed star, embroidered in gold coloured thread;
  • Twenty-five by one star and one bar, and so-forth.

An embroidered rendering of the Chicago flag, its borders finished in gold-coloured thread, is worn on the right shoulder sleeve.

A two-part nameplate in gold-coloured metal is worn above the right pocket.

  • The upper portion bears the officer's name;
  • The lower portion indicates the command to which the officer is assigned.

Police Awards

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