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Sergeant
Major
Command
Sergeant
Major
2nd
Lieutenant
1st
Lieutenant
Captain
Major
Some police departments
may use these insignias for
special recognition such as
Master Police Officer; Police
Officer First Class; Trooper
First Class, etc.  These ranks
may, or may not, carry any
additional authority or higher
pay grade within the
structure.
Police Officer
Rank Insignias
The rank of corporal is not
universal throughout police
departments.  However, the
rank does carry supervisory
authority.  The corporal will
normally act as the squad or
unit supervisor when the
sergeant is on leave or
otherwise unavailable.
The three stripe sergeant
insignia is the most common
sergeant rank among police
departments.  The sergeant
is normally the first line of
supervision.  
The lieutenant rank is
universal among police
departments.  The majority
of departments have only
one lieutenant insignia.  
Whether the bar is gold or
silver is simply a matter of
choice.  Again, a few
departments may use both
to distinguish rank with the
silver being the higher rank.
The captain rank is usually
the highest rank earned
through a competitive civil
service process. The captain
is usually the first line of
command.  In some
departments, the captain
may be referred to by
another title such as
"inspector."
The rank of major and above
are all command ranks, and
they are usually appointed
by the police chief to serve
at his or her pleasure.  Police
officers who achieve these
ranks usually have
considerable political support
from outside the police
department.
The colonel insignia is
popular.  You'll often see
police chiefs wearing this
insignia.  In larger
departments where people
are designated as chiefs of
various functions, you'll see
more of these.
There's no standard here.  If you see a
chief of police with one star, you won't
see any other star insignias in that
department.  If the chief wears four
stars, you may see one to three stars on
the collars of some of that department's
other top commanders.
Lieutenant
Colonel
Colonel
Major
General
General
In a small department, the chief can wear
any insignia he or she wants.  In larger
police departments where tradition is
more entrenched, or where changing
insignias would simply cause too much
confusion, the chief may not have as
much latitude.

The next time you're watching the news
where there's a press conference
involving multiple police jurisdictions,
check the insignias of the police chiefs.  
You'll notice that if there's three chiefs,
there may well be three different insignias.
Brigadier
General
Lieutenant
General
I've only seen the five star insignia once,
but I'm sure it's worn by more than a few
police chiefs.  It's almost always a matter
of choice.
I've linked you to pages at the
Department of Defense where you can
view all the officer and enlisted insignias
used by the Army; Navy, Coast Guard;
Marines, and Air Force.
Private E2
Corporal
Sergeant
Master
Sergeant
First
Sergeant
The Relationship Between Police and
Military Rank Insignias
When you see a soldier with no insignia
of rank on his or her uniform, it tells you
that soldier has no authority over
anyone.  It's not that way with a police
officer.

Every sworn police officer is vested with
full authority under the law.  Just
because you see no insignia of rank, that
observation should not make you believe
his or her authority is diminished in any
way. The lowest ranking police officer has
exactly the same authority under the law
as does the highest ranking sworn
member of that police department.
"Just because you see no insignia of
rank, that observation should not
make you believe his or her authority
is diminished in any way."
~ Barry M. Baker
Police Rank
Insignias
As in the military, the police department
rank structure is designed for
supervisory; management, and command
functions.  In the military, the rank of
corporal through the ascending sergeant
ranks are supervisory functions.  Second
and first lieutenants and captains are
company grade ranks, and they can be
compared to management.  Major
through the colonel ranks are field grade
officers, and they can be compared to
command.
General
of the
Army
You probably won't see
these sergeant insignias that
frequently.  

When you do see them,
they simply indicate
ascending rank by the
number of chevrons on the
bottom of the insignia.

Some state police agencies,
which are more military
oriented, may utilize these
multiple sergeant ranks.
Sergeant
First Class
Staff
Sergeant
Sergeant
Major
of the
Army
Private
First Class
The Stars
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Twenty categories of police and police
related subjects.
This is a really interesting article
describing rank insignias from the
beginning of the Republic to the present.

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CareerPoliceOfficer.com
Identifying Police Rank Insignias
The best way for you to identify rank
insignias used by police departments is
to familiarize yourself with the enlisted
and officer insignias of the United States
Army.  Nearly all police departments use
the same insignias.