A department the size of the Fallcoast Police Department has a relatively limited chain of command.
Management is divided into two general categories, the senior command staff, the chiefs and captains, and then beneath that the officers who actually supervise day-to-day operations, the lieutenants and sergeants. Finally, there is a body of sworn officers and non-sworn personnel who actually keep the peace in the county.
Many people use the term 'brass' to describe management; largely everyone agrees that chiefs, captains and lieutenants are brass, though there is some friendly debate about whether or not sergeants deserve to be lumped in with the rest of the supervisors. Certainly, sergeants have has many complaints about their superiors as detective and patrol officers have about their sergeants, though in fact the overwhelming majority of actual management that goes on is carried out by sergeants.
The department has one chief, who is responsible to both the City and County for all police operations in Fallcoast. In a department of this size, he takes a personal interest in serious crimes, but largely leaves day-to-day operations to the captains, instead focusing on metrics, budget, and strategic direction.
The chief works a regular Monday-Friday workweek.
The department generally has at least two deputy chiefs; the Deputy Chief for Operations (the Deputy Ops) is the second-in-command of all the operational parts of the department, serving as a sort of 'Executive Officer' to supervise the captains of Patrol and Investigations. The Deputy Chief of Administration handles the budget, HR, and other political and administrative matters; because the Deputy Admin has control over the finances, however, this is an important job for the bureaucratic warrior, and perhaps has more real control over the fate of the department than the Deputy Ops.
Deputy chiefs work a regular Monday-Friday workweek.
The department has two captains, one in charge of each of its bureaus, Patrol and Investigations. They have pretty broad authority to run their units, and in a department of this size they end up having to do active work as well, responding to incidents or carrying a small caseload. There's a 'phantom' third captain who handles Internal Affairs; he's actually an employee of the Maine State Police who is tasked to investigate internal affairs complaints in Fallcoast and the surrounding counties, but he is based out of Fallcoast as the largest city in the region.
Captains work regular Monday-Friday workweeks, unless they are called in to supervise a major crime scene or emergency.
Both the Patrol and Investigations units have lieutenants, who are the direct supervisors of most officers. In addition to coordinating the work of their direct reports, they are the individuals who have to fill out evaluations for HR, advise the chief on promotion decisions, handle workplace complaints and the like.
Patrol lieutenants serve as watch commanders; they generally do not leave the station, but instead coordinate the activities of all officers on duty at a given time, though in the case of a major incident they will travel to the scene. They work rotating shifts depending on their watch; there is always at least one patrol lieutenant on at a time, and during evenings and weekends they are generally the most senior officer on duty. One patrol lieutenant instead supervises the Harbor Unit, which handles the department boats as well as search and rescue, partly under a federal MOU with the Department of Commerce.
Investigations has one lieutenant (a Detective-Lieutenant) who also serves as a supervisor, running the general detective squad in the Investigations Bureau. An additional Investigations lieutenant supervises the Crime Scene Unit, managing both sworn and non-sworn crime scene investigators as well as controlling the evidence room. Investigations lieutenants work Monday-Friday workweeks, and are exempted from having to be 'on call' on overnights or weekends, though they may come in regardless.
Sergeants are also supervisors, though they are field supervisors, so they do not have to handle the HR paperwork lieutenants are burdened with. Instead, sergeants are constantly reviewing reports; every police report needs to be approved by a sergeant, either a patrol sergeant for general crimes or an investigations sergeant for detective follow-ups.
Patrol sergeants are responsible for the various districts in the county. Unlike lieutenants, sergeants actively patrol, usually in a single unit; they'll very often respond as backup to stops conducted by officers in their area. They work rotating shifts depending on their assignment, with day shifts more valuable by seniority.
Investigations sergeants (Detective-Sergeants) run individual teams within the detective bureau, usually on an ad hoc basis, though a sergeant is assigned full time to Major Crimes. Sometimes, they will lead ad hoc task forces devoted to auto theft, gang suppression, or the like, but other times they will have a handful of detectives assigned to them to mentor and help with cases, while carrying a case load of their own. Detective-sergeants work Monday-Friday, though outside of business hours there is usually a sergeant and several detectives 'on call', carrying the homicide pager in case a body drops or another major crime is committed.
Police Officers, Corporals, and Senior Detectives
The majority of all FPD officers fall into one of three grades of 'police officers' who have similar duties. Probationary officers (Police Officer Is) are universally assigned to patrol under the supervision of a more senior officer. Regular detectives and police officers (Police Officer IIs) are assigned to either patrol or investigations, handling the majority of cases and calls. Corporals and senior detectives (Police Officer IIIs) serve as mentors and senior officers in their units, handling tough cases and helping less experienced officers.
Patrol and investigations are just assignments, though there is a level of prestige attached to being a detective and it requires a competitive exam. Still, detectives do not outrank patrol officers, and when staffing is short detectives may have to put on uniforms to cover patrol shifts.
Patrol officers are assigned to geographic divisions under the supervision of a sergeant, and are generally members of a watch under the command of a lieutenant. As a practical matter, Fallcoast is small enough that officers cross area lines all the time, but the officers assigned to an area know the businesses and people in their 'beat' best of anyone in the department. Most patrol officers are based out of one of the six precincts, and an additional command station on the coast that serves as the headquarters for the Harbor Patrol as well as Airborne S&R units.
Officers in patrol work rotating shifts based on seniority, with daytime shifts being more desired. During the day, most officers patrol in single cars, though at night they double up in dangerous areas.
Patrol officers handle the majority of calls the department receive; detectives are usually only dispatched after a patrol officer calls it in. Shots fired, domestic disputes, reckless driving, robbery, home invasion -- in all of these cases, patrol officers will be the first units on the scene. In the case of many property crimes, patrol will be the primary investigating officer as well; it is usually patrol who interviews witnesses and collects evidence in burglaries, thefts, and vandalism cases, even if the dollar amounts are very high; investigations resources are usually reserved for serious or violent crimes. A patrol officer's night, then, might consist of breaking up a domestic dispute, reviewing security footage to find the identity of a burglar and then having a lights-and-sirens pursuit of reckless, intoxicated driver.
Some special units also fall within the patrol umbrella, like airborne search and rescue and harbor patrol. They maintain their own schedules, usually more forgiving than the general patrol schedule, but are similarly organized to one of the patrol areas.
Police Officer IIIs assigned to Patrol are called Corporals; they are usually the Senior Lead Officer for one of the areas, with particular expertise in their beat. Officers assigned to special units like SWAT or SAR are also often Police Officer IIIs; they may or may not be called corporals, though they receive the extra pay and authority. In general, a corporal is an experienced police officer that other officers can look to for mentorship and leadership; they're still fundamentally patrol officers, not supervisors, but they serve as the backbone of the FPD, providing guidance to other officers during difficult calls.
Police officers assigned to the investigations bureau are called detectives, and are authorized to wear suits instead of uniforms on duty as well as carry a distinctive gold badge. Detectives with narcotics, vice, or other street-level assignments sometimes wear more casual clothes; this was official policy when there was a separate street crimes squad, but is now just maintained by tradition.
Detectives work Monday-Friday, though often their cases will require them to pull overtime during off hours. They do two primary things. First, at any given time several detectives will be on call, taking new cases that come in. During business hours, the on-call squad is working normally, while after hours the on-call squad carries pagers and radios to be notified of cases coming in. Generally, at least one Major Crimes detective is on-call in case a homicide is committed, and the department tries to have a detective on call who is trained in responding to sexual assault and other sensitive victims. Given staffing, that is not always possible, and so sometimes general detectives have to cover homicide or sex cases.
When their squad is not on-call, detectives work their assigned caseload, usually with minimal supervision, developing leads, interviewing witnesses, engaging in surveillance and otherwise investigating crimes. Detectives assigned to proactive assignments like narcotics, auto theft or insurance fraud may also try to generate new cases, actively looking for individuals committing crimes rather than just responding to calls.
Police Officer IIIs assigned to Investigations are called Senior Detectives, or often just 'Seniors'; they handle the most difficult cases. Major Crimes Detectives are almost all Seniors, as are some of the most experienced detectives in the general squads who are assigned the most difficult cases by their lieutenants.
Crime Scene Technicians
The techs assigned to the Crime Scene Unit are generally not sworn officers, though some detectives volunteer for forensics work, but they are still important members of the team. In an ideal world, CSI is called out any time evidence needs to be collected -- whenever photographs need to be taken, fingerprints need to be dusted for, fibers and particulates need to be gathered or any other evidence needs to be taken in.
As a practical matter, much line evidence gathering is done by patrol officers on general felonies, but CSI is always called out for homicides and other major crimes. They are also responsible for maintaining the evidence and for testing fingerprints and other items received, particularly drugs and blood (tox reports). In complicated cases, they may deploy more esoteric analysis like blood spatter, ballistics, or computer forensics.
CSI techs work Monday-Friday, but several are on-call during off hours in case they are needed to respond to a crime scene.