More on the Metropolis Police Department

Every police department is different. However the closest real world model for the Metropolis Police Department will be NYPD. Wikipedia Entry: New York City Police Department MPD and NYPD cover much the same area (New York is smaller, with five boroughs instead of six, 98 stations (as opposed to Metropolis's 118 precincts), and 35,000-40,000 sworn officers (44,000 for Metropolis.)

Metropolis Police Department is stated to be the best of the best. Due to Metropolis's generally excellent economy, pay rates are comparable to any other major municipality (and much higher than current NYPD rates). As with NYPD, promotion from Police Officer to Sergeant, Sergeant to Lieutenant, and Lieutenant to Captain will all occur via a civil service formulas that factors performance on the civil service written examination for that rank, length of service, citations awarded, and an optional physical fitness test. In the NYPD the rank of Detective is equivalent to a Police Officer (Patrolman) with a time in grade of one or more years. In Metropolis, achieving the rank of detective entails competitive examination covering such subjects as principles, practices, and procedures of investigation; interviewing and interrogation; criminal law and procedures; applicable law governing arrests, search and seizures, warrants and evidence; police department records and reports; principles, practices and objectives of courtroom testimony; and police department methods and procedures. Despite what is shown on TV and movies, real police detectives are not superior in rank to other police officers and are in their own chain of command.

Nit-picker's note: In the pilot we are introduced to Detective Henderson played by Mel Winkler. By the time of the episode Neverending Battle, the actor playing Henderson is Richard Belzer and Henderson's rank is Inspector. In the NYPD, an Inspector is a high command rank, between Captain and Deputy Chief - a Detective is a much lower rank. Other jurisdictions have different ranks - in the SFPD, Inspector is used instead of Detective. Given that two different actors played the character, it is probably best to assume that there are two police officers named Henderson in the MPD, a detective and an older inspector.

Most modern U.S. police departments require an applicant to be a college graduate with a good GPA and/or a minimum time of military service with an honorable discharge. (NYPD requires 2 years full-time military service with an honorable discharge and a high school diploma or equivalent OR 60 college credits from an accredited college or university with a GPA of 2.0 or better.) MPD (like NYPD) also requires a passing score on the appropriate Civil Service Exam administered by the Department of City Administrative Services (DCAS) - this requirement also includes officers applying to the department from jurisdictions outside of the city. Following successful completion of the Civil Service Exam and selection by the Applicant Processing Division following background checks, an applicant is subject to physical examinations, character checks, and psychological testing. Over a recent five year period the NYPD Applicant Processing Division processed 86,000 applicants out of which only 12,318 were hired. An applicant who has passed the required Civil Service Exam may wait several months to several years before being invited to continue the application process. It is not uncommon for an applicant to apply for positions in both the police and fire departments, taking which ever one is offered first.

Assuming MPD has a close correlation with the NYPD, MPD has eleven sworn uniformed ranks:

Promotion beyond the rank of Captain is by selection based on criteria such as outstanding performance of duties and time in grade.

Also, the ranks of Police Officer and Detective are additionally broken down into 3rd, 2nd, and 1st grades. These are both pay grades and experience grades. A Detective 1st grade is a highly capable investigator. A Police Officer 1st grade is experienced and extremely competent.

The MPD is ultimately administered and governed by the Police Commissioner, who is appointed by the Mayor and technically serves a five-year term; however as a practical matter and custom, the Police Commissioner serves at the Mayor's pleasure. The Police Commissioner also appoints numerous Deputy Commissioners. The Police Commissioner and his subordinate Commissioners are civilians under an oath of office as opposed to the uniformed members of the force who are sworn officers of the law.

Commissioner Titles:

These individuals are administrators who supersede the Chief of Department, and they usually specialize in areas of great importance to the Department, such as counter-terrorism, operations, training, public information, legal matters, intelligence, and information technology. Despite their role as civilian administrators of the Department, they are prohibited from taking operational control of a police situation.

Patrol Boroughs and Precincts

For management purposes, MPD police precincts are grouped collectively based on their jurisdiction into the Patrol Boroughs. There are eight Patrol Boroughs. They are: New Troy North (or West*), New Troy South (or East), Queensland Park North (or West), Queensland Park South (or East), Bakerline North (or West), Bakerline South (or East), Park Ridge, and The Islands (St. Martins and Hell's Gate). Each Patrol Borough is headed by a Borough Chief and has a number of police precincts and stations.
*The various DC maps of Metropolis have the city's long axis being east/west - however, the maps shown on Lois & Clark appear to have the long axis being north/south.

A simplified organizational chart (A represents Chain of Command, B indicates breadth of department, C indicates typical line of communication).


Simplified Organizational chart for a Detective Division

Charts from the Police Procedural A writer's guide to the police and How they work.

Other Services and Divisions

Metropolis Special Crimes Unit

Roughly equivalent to a S.W.A.T Unit (Special Weapons and Tactics), the Special Crimes Unit (S.C.U.) was formed to deal specifically with the unique circumstances of high technology and metahuman threats. The S.C.U. handles all situations for which regular patrol officers are not equipped, including tracking down and apprehending super-powered villains and alien threats in Superman's absence.

The S.C.U. is composed of recruits from sworn officers within the police department who must pass a series of psychological profiling and other tests before undergoing extensive physical and mental training. The training includes over 200 hours of technical skills and education. In order for candidates to graduate to active duty, they must pass several virtual reality simulations, which test the recruits' abilities in real-life situations. Of every 100 S.C.U. recruits, statistics indicate that only one will make it to graduation. The final result is a small, well-trained Special Crimes Unit that works closely together under the most strenuous circumstances.

The S.C.U. is important police unit in the Metropolis of the general DC Universe as this is the unit assigned to handle super-powered, alien, and ultra-high tech threats to the city. This is also the unit most likely to deal with Superman. In the Lois & Clark Universe, the S.C.U. does not appear to have been put into operation as of the episode Bob and Carol and Lois and Clark.


When a member of the public dials 911 they speak with an MPD call taker who assigns the call to where it needs to go based on the information provided.

Books on the Subject

Crime Reference

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Criminal Investigation
Alan Axelrod, Guy Antinozzi
The Criminal Mind: A Writer's Guide to Forensic Psychology
Katherine Ramsland, Ph.D.
Armed and Dangerous: A Writer's Guide to Weapons (Howdunit Series)
Micheal Newton
Police Procedure: A writer's guide to the police and how they work
Russell Bintiff
Howdunit: How Crimes Are Committed and Solved (Howdunit)
John Boertlein (Editor)
Rip-Off: A Writer's Guide to Crimes of Deception (Howdunit)
Fay Faron
Malicious Intent: A Writer's Guide to How Murderers, Robbers, Rapists and Other Criminal Think (Howdunit)
Sean P. MacTire
Modus Operandi: A Writer's Guide to How Criminals Work (Howdunit))
Mauro V. Corvasce, Joseph R. Paglino
Amateur Detectives: A Writer's Guide to How Private Citizens Solve Criminal Cases (Howdunit)
Elaine Raco Chase, Anne Wingate (Contributor)
Missing Persons: A Writer's Guide to Finding the Lost, the Abducted and the Escaped (Howdunit Series)
Fay Faron
Just the Facts, Ma'am: A Writer's Guide to Investigators and Investigation Techniques (Howdunit)
Greg Fallis
Scene of the Crime: A Writer's Guide to Crime-Scene Investigations (Howdunit Series)
Anne Wingate
Body Trauma: A Writer's Guide to Wounds and Injuries
David Page
Cause of Death : A Writer's Guide to Death, Murder and Forensic Medicine (Howdunit Series)
Keith Wilson
Deadly Doses : A Writer's Guide to Poisons (Howdunit Series)
Serita Deborah Stevens, Anne Klarner
Order in the Court : A Writer's Guide to the Legal System (Behind the Scenes)
David S. Mullally
Code Blue: Including the ER, OR and ICU (Behind the Scenes)
Dr. Keith Wilson, David W. Page
Lights & Sirens: A Writer's Guide to Emergency Rescue Professions (Behind the Scenes)
James Cowan, Lois Cowan

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