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Old 11-15-2019, 03:48 PM   #1
Refplace
 
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Default Rank question

Military Rank probably gets enough love but I have a question on Police Rank.
Detectives are set at Rank 2 in a couple of places, including GURPS Mysteries.
What would be a reasonable set of examples and ranges for a special police force. I have a federal organization that is the equivalent of the FBI but deals with supers and paranormal beings.
My current estimate is Rank 2 for most PCs and field Supers.
The leader asked about being Rank 5. I would like that to be possible but ask for help on scale before deciding. I was thinking Rank 4 as typical for the guy in charge in major cities.
How would a Rank 5 FBI agent scale or be treated by senior official in a town the size of New Orleans?
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Old 11-15-2019, 04:15 PM   #2
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Default Re: Rank question

My Police Rank table, with GURPS Rank, typical Titles (which vary wildly by jurisdiction), and duties:

7 - Commissioner or Supervisor. Head of the Department for larger cities and state/provincial police forces.
6 - Chief or Assistant Supervisor. Head of the Department for smaller cities, day-to-day manager for larger cities and state/provincial police forces.
5 - Commander. Section, Division, or Bureau Commander for cities and state/provincial forces; head of the Department for larger municipalities.
4 - Captain, Sheriff, or Inspector. Precinct or Unit Commander; head of the department for smaller municipalities.
3 - Lieutenant or Deputy Sheriff. Duty or Shift Lead Officer for precincts and smaller municipalities.
2 - Sergeant, Senior Detective. Squad Leader, veteran plainclothes detective.
1 - Detective. Investigator, CSI team lead.
0 - Officer. Beat Cop, CSI technician.


Note that police forces typically have at least two parallel pay grades: uniformed officer grades and detective grades. A junior detective would officially be an equivalent rank to the rookie beat cop, but his effective authority would be slightly higher, able to call upon the street cops or a SWAT team for backup. A uniformed Lieutenant and a Lieutenant Detective (like Columbo) would likewise have equivalent pay grades, but their authority (and actual Rank) differs. Some jurisdictions break things up into up to a half dozen pay grades with the same effective authority, with pay grades determining seniority and pecking order inside the unit.

Once you get up to and above Police Rank 4, you're getting into primarily administrative duties rather than investigations.

CSI teams, for those jurisdictions that have their own without outsourcing them (in some fiction, it's often just one or two guys with access to a lab), have the authority to perform investigations at the crime scene itself but lack the power to make arrests, passing their information onto detectives who make the actual arrests.


Hope this helps.
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Old 11-15-2019, 04:24 PM   #3
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Default Re: Rank question

Of course, I also use GURPS Social Engineering: Pulling Rank for agencies like the FBI, CIA, DHS, SHIELD, etc., where the Rank does not grant authority and subordinates, instead being a measure of the kinds of assistance you can get from the Agency.

An FBI Special Agent may have an effective Police Rank 0, working alone, but Police Rank (Pulling Rank variant) 4 to have an Assistance Roll of 9, meaning he can get assistance from the FBI - or get access by name-dropping. ("FBI Special Agent Fred Duncan. I'm investigating a series of crimes that may be the work of a super-powered terrorist. Can I see your records, Sheriff?")
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Old 11-15-2019, 08:57 PM   #4
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Default Re: Rank question

"Special Agent" is Rank 0 in the FBI, but would include Legal Enforcement Powers and may also have a security clearance. A Special Agent In Charge (SAC) is the highest 'field' rank and leads a regular branch office. I'd give them rank 2 or 3. The Director of the whole organization is probably Rank 7 max.
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Old 11-15-2019, 09:01 PM   #5
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Default Re: Rank question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Donny Brook View Post
"Special Agent" is Rank 0 in the FBI, but would include Legal Enforcement Powers and may also have a security clearance. A Special Agent In Charge (SAC) is the highest 'field' rank and leads a regular branch office. I'd give them rank 2 or 3. The Director of the whole organization is probably Rank 7 max.
Under the standard Rank rules, agreed.

Using Pulling Rank, it depends on the size of the Agency as a theoretical Patron and the chances of getting assistance, not subordinates or even authority.

Legal Enforcement Powers either way, however.
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Old 11-15-2019, 09:14 PM   #6
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Default Re: Rank question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantasm View Post
Under the standard Rank rules, agreed.

Using Pulling Rank, it depends on the size of the Agency as a theoretical Patron and the chances of getting assistance, not subordinates or even authority.
This is an interesting interpretation of Pulling Rank. Normally Rank reflects overt authority, the low Assistance Rolls for some Ranks mean some tasks may be harder than desired, especially in a cinematic campaign.
But if Rank reflects the influence in an organization, such as internal political pull and than higher levels of Rank could be available.

In real life an E-9 has lower authority than the lowest officer but is able to get far more done and often has more effective pull.
I'm curious what Kromm (as the author) intended, or if this interpretation is supported in the book and I overlooked or forgot it.
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Old 11-15-2019, 10:44 PM   #7
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Default Re: Rank question

E-9 has a lot of informal power and can make or break an O-1 through O-3 fairly easily. The informal power of an E-9 is probably equal to the formal power of an O-4 or O-5. That would be represented though with Allies, Contacts, and Patrons.

For example, an E-9 might have a few E-9s as Allies, a passel of E-7s as Contacts, and an O-8 as a Patron. With their social connections, they can make the life of most junior officers a living hell, even though they are inferior rank.
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Old 11-16-2019, 10:33 AM   #8
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Default Re: Rank question

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
E-9 has a lot of informal power and can make or break an O-1 through O-3 fairly easily. The informal power of an E-9 is probably equal to the formal power of an O-4 or O-5. That would be represented though with Allies, Contacts, and Patrons.

For example, an E-9 might have a few E-9s as Allies, a passel of E-7s as Contacts, and an O-8 as a Patron. With their social connections, they can make the life of most junior officers a living hell, even though they are inferior rank.
http://www.sjgames.com/pyramid/sample.html?id=3003

Speaking of military grades . . . here's an old article. One of my first. There's at least one mistake where I swapped line and staff[1], but by and large this was a fun way to descretize Military Rank.

[1] "First Sergeant and Command Sergeant Major tend to be staff positions, while Master Sergeant and Sergeant Major are line positions" is backwards.
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Old 11-16-2019, 05:10 PM   #9
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Default Re: Rank question

With regards to the FBI, the country is broken up into 56 "Field Offices". Most of these are lead by a "Special Agent in Charge". The next level in the FBI heirarchy is a bunch of assistant directors, each over an aspect of the FBI. Examples include "Counterintelligence Division", "Office of Integrity and Compliance", and "Office of Congressional Affairs". So you've got fifty-something offices reporting to headquarters, monitored by many assistant directors but not actually reporting to any of them, actually all reporting to the layer above them, which makes the national news and is probably composed of people whose best skill is politics.

This probably means the relationship between a special agent in charge and the next level up is complex, political, and distant.
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Old 11-19-2019, 05:06 AM   #10
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Default Re: Rank question

How big is a typical Field Office? (And what's the variation on that number?)

Also, does the Special Agent in Charge have a deputy/assistant/whatever? Presumably there's somebody with the standing to run the place when he goes on holiday or off sick.
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