What importance does a Chain of Command have in a police or fire department? Is there value involved in having a structured and defined chain of command?
The answer of course is a resounding “Yes!”
If you’re reading this blog post, you’re most likely affiliated with a police, fire or other public safety department or agency. And, most likely, you’re very familiar with the nuances of your departments’ chain of command.
But do you always consider the value and importance that the chain of command brings?
Very simply, chain of command is a well defined system for efficiently managing a large group of people. It’s been used for thousands of years to bring structure and form to all sorts of organizations. From the building of the pyramids to directing the Roman army to the U.S. Postal System to the corporate management of Google, variations of chain of command help give structure to organizations.
The chain of command for an organization outlines authority and responsibility and influences the way in which communication occurs. It establishes a means for addressing issues and concerns with those more senior, less senior or equal to your role. And it determines everyone’s role within a large group.
How Chain of Command Benefits You:
- it helps you understand your role, duties and responsibilities
- offers stability and structure
- protects those above and below you
- keeps people in line
- makes communication more efficient
- reinforces accountability
Naturally, the chain of command structure is dependent on the size of the department or agency. It’s also influenced by the number of indivudals making up the agency. And it’s certainly dependent on the services that the agency provides.
Below is an example of a Fire Department Chain of Command, this one being from the Canton Fire Department of Canton, Ohio. It illustrates how roles are defined and where certain positions fall within the organization.
An example of a much larger organization would be the New York City Police Department. The organization chart is to large to be featured here.
These examples help give an overview of how particular agencies structure their chain of command.
How is your department structured? Are you part of a large or small agency? Do you see the value in operating within a defined work environment?
Share your thoughts below.