One of the best ways to insure a promotion is to do the work of the next highest position in your organization. If you want to be a sergeant, then do the work of the sergeant. Talk to your sergeant and find out what they do that you don’t do now. Often they have to perform evaluations, write scheduling, perform training, and even submit budgets. Can you do all those things? If you cannot, then see if you can “desk along” with your sergeant and learn those skills.
Some agencies or states may require special training to be a supervisor. Apply for that training even if you don’t anticipate a promotion soon. When it comes time for a promotion, you will be ahead of all those who don’t have the training or certification. If your agency does not require special training, look to your local community college to provide supervisor or business training that can help improve your skills.
As you move up the ranks, your tactical skills are less important than your ability to organize the work of others, schedule shifts and keep costs under control. Smaller agencies may require front line supervisors to manage a fleet of vehicles, or supervise not only police, but perhaps dispatchers, parking control attendants, jailors, and records clerks. Knowledge of those jobs, particularly jail operations, can be crucial in getting the promotion. If a supervisor goes on vacation, see if you can fill in for a few days as supervisor, a sort of test drive for the position. Preparation for promotion is essential to get the job you want; that’s what the SGT Says.