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Commissioner is a senior rank used in many police forces and may be rendered Police Commissioner or Commissioner of Police. In some organizations, the commissioner is a political appointee, and may or may not actually be a professional police officer. In these circumstances, there is often a professional chief of police in charge of day-to-day operations. Usually, however, the commissioner is the professional head of the organization.
In police services in the Commonwealth and the USA, the title of commissioner typically designates the head of an entire police force. In some countries, such as in many Latin American countries and in France, the title of commissioner is more junior and instead refers to the head of a single police station (similar to Chief Superintendents in the Commonwealth).
In most states and territories of Australia, the highest ranking Police Officer is a commissioner, aside from Victoria, which during the Gold Rush had a Commissioner for both the Metropolitan Area and the Goldfields. The rank of Chief Commissioner was introduced to provide a single head of the Police and, despite the disappearance of the rank of Commissioner, nowadays the second highest rank is Deputy Commissioner, the title of Chief Commissioner for the head of Victoria Police has remained since.
The rank insignia of a Commissioner in the Australian Federal Police and the New South Wales Police Force is a crown over a star and crossed and wreathed tipstaves, similar to the insignia of a full General in the army. In all other forces, the insignia is a crown over crossed and wreathed tipstaves, similar to the insignia of a Lieutenant-General in the army.
In Canada, the highest-ranking officer of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and of the Ontario Provincial Police holds the rank of Commissioner. In the province of Alberta, the Police Act requires the municipality to appoint Police Commissioners that are required to provide public oversight of the Police. In Alberta's Capital city, Edmonton, there are nine Commissioners including two city councilors and seven city appointed members. More details of Edmonton's Police Commission can be found at www.edmontonpolicecommission.com.
In Kenya, the top-ranked police officer is the Commissioner of Police who is appointed by the President. The commissioner of police is charged with the overall administrative management of the police force under the established standing orders. Consequently, the commissioner reports directly to the President and is also a member of the national security council chaired by the President. Under the Commissioner of Police are several formation commanders who control the various arms of the Kenya Police Force such as the General Service Unit, the Crimimal Invesitations Department, the Police Operations etc.
In the police of France and other French-speaking countries, commissioner (commissaire) is a lower rank equating approximately to the British police rank of Superintendent. Above it was the rank of Principal Commissioner (abolished in 2006), and above that is the rank of Divisional Commissioner.
The second highest career bracket in German law enforcement leads to the rank of Police commissioner or Kommissar. Entry requires a law study at a university and training encompasses 2 to 3 years in a police academy. The highest possible rank within this career bracket is that of Erster Hauptkommissar. The work of a Kommissar in general centers on investigation of felonies, depending on the branch of police and department he belongs to. The adequate equivalent for a British Commissioner would be (Landes-) Polizeipräsident or Inspekteur der Polizei, titles that differ among the police forces in Germany.
In Indian Police, a commissioner of state police is held by an Indian Police Service officer of Director General of Police rank (three-star rank) although a police commissioner of a city may be of Additional Director General (three-star rank), Inspector General of Police (two-star rank) or Deputy Inspector General of Police (one-star rank).
In the Indonesian National Police, there are four levels of commissioners: Police Grand Commissioner (Komisaris Besar Polisi), Police Grand Commissioner Adjutant (Ajun Komisaris Besar Polisi), Police Commissioner (Komisaris Polisi), and Police Commissioner Adjutant (Ajun Komisaris Polisi). Due to strong military influence in its history, even now Police ranks can be compared to the ranks of the Indonesian military. Four commissioner ranks above may be considered equivalent to the Indonesian military ranks of Colonel, Lieutenant Colonel, Major, and Captain, respectively.
In the Italian Police, a commissioner (commissario) is the superintendent of a commissariato, a Police station/detachment that can either serve an entire township of small or middle dimensions, or a limited area in a metropolitan city.
In Poland, a commissioner (komisarz) is a relatively low rank, directly above podkomisarz and below nadkomisarz, comparable to lieutenant of the armed forces.
In the Romanian Police, similarly to the French Police (see Commissaire de police), the rank of commissioner (comisar) is equivalent to the British police rank of Superintendent (see also Romanian Police Ranks).
In Spain, a National Police commissioner is the chief of a police station. This rank is called comisario principal. There's a commissioner in the biggest cities and in smaller cities the chief of the police is headed by a superintendent. In the Civil Guard, this rank does not exist because it has a military organization. See National Police ranks and Civil Guard ranks
In England and Wales, outside of Greater London, Police and Crime Commissioners are directly elected officials charged with securing efficient and effective policing of their police area. They are not warranted police officers, although they appoint and hold to account their Chief Constable. The first Police and Crime Commissioners were elected in November 2012, with the lowest electorate turnout ever in England and Wales.
Historically the title Commissioner has referred to the professional chief police officer of certain police forces, and that is still the case within Greater London, with the Commissioner of the City of London Police and the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis. Both these Commissioners are appointed, not elected, and since the 1950s have been career police officers (as opposed to the previous practice of appointing former British Army officers). Although they were technically justices of the peace until the 1970s, the Commissioners have always worn a similar uniform to police officers, and have been treated similarly in terms of pay and terms of service.
In some U.S. states, the sheriff fills the same function as a police commissioner. For example in Las Vegas, Nevada the elected county sheriff heads a combined county-municipal Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (created via a 1975 merger of the Clark County Sheriff's Department and the former Las Vegas Police Department). Five (likely more) other U.S. police agencies use the title "Commissioner" for its highest-ranking official include the Buffalo Police Department (where Daniel Derenda is the commissioner), New York City Police Department (where Raymond Kelly is, as of May 2010[update], the titleholder), the Philadelphia Police Department (where Charles H. Ramsey is, as of May 2010[update], the titleholder) the California Highway Patrol (Joe Farrow) and the Baltimore City Police Department (where Anthony Batts is commissioner), St. Louis Police Department (where Richard Gray is, as of May 2010[update], the titleholder), and the Boston Police Department, where Edward F. Davis III has been commissioner since 2006.
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