Our department is short-handed officer-wise, so I have been approached by the existing officers to become an Lt.

I was flattered they asked me, but at the same time, I am cautiously nervous about becoming an officer due to what I have seen happen in the past to officers in our department. Basically, when you are not in charge, everyone is decent to you. Once you are elected, you have a giant crosshair on the back of your head and you can never do anything right by the rank and file.

I have seen numerous qualified people just like me take an officer position only to be voted out based on a popularity contest basis. Or, even worse, the officers will be forced to make an unpopular decision that is in the best interest of the department (or the law) and the various "factions" gang up to vote the guy out.

My question is two fold:

In a vollie organization where the underlings elect the leadership, it seems as though it is nearly impossible to be a good leader while constantly worrying that your decisions or directives will contribute to your demise. I'm sure many of you know what I mean. How have you been able to enforce policies and procedures in this type of environment. I realize as an LT, I'm not going to be doing all that much, but if I tell Joe to go grab a water can and he thinks it's a dumb idea and says "no", how do you handle that? We have lots of cocky, know-it-all guys on the department who are notorious for this kind of insubordination and failure to follow directions. If I start writing guys up or even calling them out on it, I might as well quit because that's the first way to get voted out.

I am already sensing a little big of resentment from the young guys who have been on the dept longer than me, but are ineligible for officer positions because of their ages (as direct result from several of them causing the age limit to rise due to their immaturity). Here I am, the relative new guy, sweeping past them and becoming their leader first. These are also the guys who literally fight to ride in the front seat, walk around with radios all the time, etc... Again, you all know the type. I won't be an officer for a few months, but I am thinking I should probably start doing something now proactive to test the waters so to speak. Any suggestions? Do something? Do nothing? I don't know...

Any help you guys can give me would be great.