Police chiefs, sheriffs should ditch the stars

Let me first point out that both of my Grandfathers were Irish cops, one a chief of police, so I am certainly not predisposed to be disrespectful of our law enforcement personnel.

However, I consistently see on television news police chiefs and even county sheriffs sporting four-star collar devices (there was even one sheriff from somewhere in the southwestern part of the country who wore 5-star device) and I wonder if there is some existing national or state-based police protocols as to who rates such high ranks? Is it based on size of the force commanded, the size of the city or for sheriffs the number of square miles in his county? Or is it completely without logic, and subject to local whims?

It's notable that the head of the Connecticut State Police has the rank of colonel, with its traditional "eagle" collar devices. This is some four or five ranks lower than what some other smaller and less prestigious organizations employ.

There are presently a total of 19 four-star officers in all of our five uniformed military services, and there have only ever been nine 5-star officers, which included the likes of Nimitz and Eisenhower. How many four- and five-star law enforcement officers are there? 

James H. Patton Jr.

North Stonington

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