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KatG
September 8th, 2004, 12:36 PM
Seeing how quickly we got an answer on Russian accents, I figure I might as well pick the formidable brain power around here.

I'm dealing with a short story set in San Francisco. Their police force nomenclature is a little different from other places. Their detectives are called Inspectors. What I need to know is, would such a person be addressed as Inspector So and So, Detective Inspector So and So or something else? Can an Inspector hold a Sergeant rank or is Sergeant only used for an officer in charge of uniformed officers and below the Inspectors in rank in San Francisco's force? If an Inspector could be a Sergeant in rank, would that Inspector be addressed as Sergeant Inspector, Inspector Sergeant, Sergeant or just Inspector? Anybody who has any clue about any of this, let me know. :)

Expendable
September 8th, 2004, 01:42 PM
Its Sergeant/Inspector.

I think you've seen this site already, http://www.sfgov.org/site/police_index.asp

But I found this - an expert witness who has a dual rank of sergeant/inspector in the SFPD.
http://www.accidentreconstruction.com/expert.asp?expertno=arc0100

And this site, another dual rank.
http://www.tccinc.org/mjm_short.PDF

And maybe our resident cop knows more? I can't find a rank table yet.

KatG
September 8th, 2004, 02:13 PM
Okay, so that answers part of the question, thanks. But I don't think verbally such a person would be called Sergeant-slash-Inspector. Of course, this story is set a good bit in the future, so I don't have to stick to anything realistic, but I would like to know.

Ex -- I think you're going to need to find a new name. Or a job as a researcher. :)

ironchef texmex
September 8th, 2004, 06:43 PM
They call their inspectors inspectors, although being that law enforcement types tend not to care about formalities I'm sure that they also 'regress' into referring to each other as detectives or investigators occasionally. Of course that's when referring to each other in the third person. Directly, I'm sure they call each other by their last names (if they're not buddies) by their first names (if they are), or by their nicknames (if they've got one). The major exception is that commonly, the old-timers at a police department refer to everyone by their first name/ nickname. Including the brass.

I can't say for certain that SFPD doesn't have "street level" supervisory ranks for their inspectors (corporal, sergeant). They probably don't. If they do -- and I've never seen a department that does -- it's most likely a money thing (ie: higher grade of pay). Most departments only have the higher ranks for their investigators (lieutenant, captain, assistant chief) and I'm sure they just call them lieutenant or whatever. If they did have a sergeant rank it would depend on whether the sarge has a higher level of authority or not. If it's just a pay thing then it would probably be ignored (call them inspector). If they do have real authority over 'just-plain-inspectors' (ie: if the underlings mess up is it their butt) then the natural human reflex would be to call them by the honorarium (again, unless they're buddies or old-timers). Adding on the -inspector tag to lieutenant would be an extreme violation of the as-few-syllables-as-possible rule that we all go by.

theredpen
September 8th, 2004, 09:30 PM
Since there are some veritable founts of information posting to this thread I would like to ask the following question without getting my head bitten off if possible: is it true that applicants to the police force in the US can't be hired as a rule if their IQ tests higher than 125? I have heard that they can be detectives if they like, (or inspectors as the case may be) but not the guys in uniform. Supposedly the theory is that they might turn bad, manipulate the system or, well the possibilities are endless I suppose. Does anybody know if this is valid or rumor? -I see interesting story potential here someday...

Expendable
September 8th, 2004, 11:59 PM
Strange rumor.

All cops start off as uniform cops. Those who take the exams and are approved by a review board become detectives.

ironchef texmex
September 9th, 2004, 10:32 AM
Since there are some veritable founts of information posting to this thread I would like to ask the following question without getting my head bitten off if possible: is it true that applicants to the police force in the US can't be hired as a rule if their IQ tests higher than 125? I have heard that they can be detectives if they like, (or inspectors as the case may be) but not the guys in uniform. Supposedly the theory is that they might turn bad, manipulate the system or, well the possibilities are endless I suppose. Does anybody know if this is valid or rumor? -I see interesting story potential here someday...


Red, I don't know what my IQ is, but at the department where I work there are a handfull of people with masters degrees, a few doctorates, a former English professor, a couple of seminarians, and several people who came to us from dot coms and telecom companies after the market crash.

Police departments require applicants to pass a basis skills (mostly English comprehension) test. Everyone who passes moves on to the next phases -- physical agility tests, lie detector, background search. At each stage all one has to do is surpass the minimum. There is no upper limit. At most departments the last phase is a oral board (you sit in front of a half circle of officers and supervisors and field hypotheticals).

The only the way I can think of that the myth got started (besides spite, of course) is that most of the usual benchmarks for intelligence are less important in law enforcement than in many other professions. Police officers need common sense more than they need a steep learning curve. Linear thinking, no matter how good someone might be at it, is the enemy of police work. Problem solving is the key, and sometimes that may not translate onto an IQ test.

KatG
September 9th, 2004, 12:39 PM
The San Francisco set-up seems to be two major geographical divisions and an administrative central force, five stations within each division. Then you have multiple departments, run by captains and deputy chiefs, containing specific teams such as homicide, crime lab, etc., all of which are staffed by a lieutenant who's in charge, a certain number of inspectors, and a sergeant (street level) in charge of support personnel. The inspectors work out of the central justice building but many of them are assigned to particular stations, particularly the Night Investigations team.

There does appear in SF to be a rank of Sergeant Inspector, given in various forms in the press as Sergeant/Inspector, Sergeant-Inspector and Sergeant Inspector. Don't know if it's supervisory or just a pay grade promotion sort of thing. Anyway, I think I've figured out what I need, thank you for the info.

Another question, this more wondering than anything else -- how many years can an officer or detective serve before he or she has to retire or can retire?

I happily throw the floor open to general police questions, but someone will have to hold ironchef down to keep him from escaping. :)

ironchef texmex
September 9th, 2004, 02:20 PM
Another question, this more wondering than anything else -- how many years can an officer or detective serve before he or she has to retire or can retire?

Usually 20. A few places can't draw pension until 25. Of course most people won't leave at 20 unless they have another job lined up. Pension benefits accumulate and after 20, so the officer only have built up enough to pay 40-50 percent of his prior salary. Most people can leave and go fishing for their remaining days after completing 25 years and draw pension anywhere from 70-90 percent former income. Not that they usually draw it for very long. The average life-expectancy of a police officer who takes a 25-year retirement is five years after the retirement date.



I happily throw the floor open to general police questions, but someone will have to hold ironchef down to keep him from escaping. :)

Oh, if it takes a little while for me to respond, I haven't escaped, I've just passed out. Just wait for me to regain consciousness. I don't mind talking shop.

KatG
September 12th, 2004, 07:18 PM
Much thanks ironchef and everybody. This was little detail stuff for my story, but it's nice to have an idea how to handle it. Now I just have to figure out if the text works on the two key spots and I'll finally be ready to go. Any recommendations of NA semi-pros mags who are in a good mood?