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Old 30 November 2017, 09:03 PM
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Default San Francisco police detective ranks.

I hope itís OK if I ask a non-UL question here. I write for a hobby, and am working on a crime novel, and need some help with San Francisco police ranks.

The main character is a male 20 year veteran now in Robbery Homicide. I have been using the title of Detective throughout, but not sure if thatís correct.
Heís the guy out in the field doing the murder investigation, liaising with other agencies etc.

The one I am most confused with is his boss. Older, based in an office but not just a pen-pusher, and the one who yells when things are not going right. I had called him "Chief" but I think thatís too high for the character. Needs to be someone calling the shots on a daily basis.

From some San Francisco based TV shows, Iím thinking that Inspector and Captain may be the correct titles respectively.

Hope you all can help. Thanks in advance.
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  #2  
Old 30 November 2017, 09:14 PM
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I could give you the CHP's rank structure if you feel that could help you, but unfortunately I do not know what the San Franscisco's police force ranks would be.
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Old 30 November 2017, 09:20 PM
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From what I remember from Monk they used Lieutenant and Captain for the types of characters you describe, but I have no idea how accurate that show was. Did the show ever mention what Monk's rank was when he was still on the force? Columbo was in Los Angeles, but he was a Lieutenant, so that would seem to fit.
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Old 30 November 2017, 09:22 PM
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Fr...king_structure

OY
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  #5  
Old 30 November 2017, 09:24 PM
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The proper title for your protagonist would probably be Inspector and his boss would be a lieutenant.

ETA: The head of particular station would be a captain.

FETA:
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I hope it’s OK if I ask a non-UL question here.
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Probably okay.
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  #6  
Old 30 November 2017, 09:37 PM
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Originally Posted by GenYus234 View Post
The proper title for your protagonist would probably be Inspector and his boss would be a lieutenant.
The Wikipedia page overyonder linked to specifically says the SFPD no longer uses the title Inspector, though, and that that role is now performed by Sergeants. So maybe Sergeant and Lieutenant?

ETA: It probably wouldn't hurt to just send an email to the SFPD. I'd bet they have PR person who answers questions like this.

http://sanfranciscopolice.org/sfpd-d...ct-information

Quote:
For questions about the police department, please contact:
Public Inquiries

Community Relations Unit
1245 3rd Street, 5th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94158
415-837-7245
E-mail: sfpdcommunityrelations@sfgov.org

Last edited by WildaBeast; 30 November 2017 at 09:43 PM.
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Old 30 November 2017, 09:56 PM
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As of September of this year (pdf), they still had 29 officers with the title of Inspector or Assistant Inspector, so it seems to still be in use. That's about only 1% of the total police force so it may be that they are phasing it out.
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Old 30 November 2017, 10:21 PM
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Interesting. From TV/movies, I always thought "detective" was a higher rank than "officer", on par with sergeant, but a different career track. Apparently in most cases it's just a specialization, not a rank, and any authority they have over other officers is only situational for matters related to specific cases.
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Old 30 November 2017, 10:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GenYus234 View Post
As of September of this year (pdf), they still had 29 officers with the title of Inspector or Assistant Inspector, so it seems to still be in use. That's about only 1% of the total police force so it may be that they are phasing it out.
After re-reading the Wiki page, it says they no longer issue the title of Inspector, not that they no longer use it. So you're probably right that they're phasing it out and officers who already have that title get to keep it, but they aren't giving it to anyone else.
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Old 30 November 2017, 10:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Errata View Post
Interesting. From TV/movies, I always thought "detective" was a higher rank than "officer", on par with sergeant, but a different career track. Apparently in most cases it's just a specialization, not a rank, and any authority they have over other officers is only situational for matters related to specific cases.
In the UK, (at least, as far as I gather from watching completely accurate TV cop shows from the 1980s and 1990s, which I'm sure are correct in every way and not out of date), "detective" just means you work for the CID (Criminal Investigations Division), so it's a speciality rather than a rank. You can be a Detective Constable, a Detective Sergeant or a Detective Inspector. Or even a Detective Chief Inspector (DCI). I don't think the police in the UK ever used "Captain" as a rank.

I hope this helps. I'm sure it must, really.
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Old 30 November 2017, 11:21 PM
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I looked up salaries, and apparently NYPD detective salaries are comparable to NYPD police sergeant salaries, which are distinctly higher than NYPD police officer salaries. A lot of this is down to seniority, since you don't start out as a detective. It seems like a selective specialty that a subset of experienced officers can earn, with higher prestige and benefits. Which seems very much like a promotion, even if technically it's a lateral move. Young officers on TV/movies talk about "making detective" the way that someone in a different field might talk about being promoted.
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Old 01 December 2017, 12:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Errata View Post
Interesting. From TV/movies, I always thought "detective" was a higher rank than "officer", on par with sergeant, but a different career track. Apparently in most cases it's just a specialization, not a rank, and any authority they have over other officers is only situational for matters related to specific cases.
In our national police, a detective is an appointment. Someone keeps their rank. For example, in my hometown we had a Detective Constable and a Detective Sergeant. In other places there were Detective Corporals as well. These were in the same stations as regular Constables, Corporals and Sergeants.

I don't believe the Detective ranks rose as high as the officers though. Never saw or heard of a Detective Superintendent, or Detective Inspector.
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Old 01 December 2017, 12:17 AM
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Well, if you start off as "Constable" and then gain a speciality to "Detective Constable", you're potentially gaining prestige even if you've not formally gone up a rank in the system. I expect you'd get a pay rise and everybody going "wow, a detective!" despite not being any further up the hierarchy in formal terms.

That bit of Errata's understanding of the US system sounds much the same as my own understanding of the UK system, whether or not either of us has any idea what we're talking about.
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  #14  
Old 01 December 2017, 02:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skeptic View Post
The one I am most confused with is his boss. Older, based in an office but not just a pen-pusher, and the one who yells when things are not going right. I had called him "Chief" but I think thatís too high for the character. Needs to be someone calling the shots on a daily basis.
What someone's rank is called and what someone's actual rank is can be a bit loose - in my fire department, for example, the Chief of the Department, the Assistant Chief of the Department, any of the Duty Deputy Chiefs of the four working shifts, the Director of EMS Services, the Training Deputy, the HazMat Deputy, the Superintendent of Fire Alarm, and the Fire Marshal are all referred to as "Chief" (the latter two as Superintendent and Marshal as well, but usually "Chief" by fellow firefighters). "Chief" may be sort of a nickname, based on someone of an actually lower rank being the "chief officer" of a department or division, while in actuality a captain or lieutenant or sergeant or something.

Just some possible options.
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