If a police detective job is something you have flair for, you’re probably wondering what exactly you need to do to make your dream come true. The first thing to know is that becoming a police detective starts with becoming a police officer. But if you are already a police officer and want to take the next step in your career – or you’re just interested in becoming a detective – here’s where to start.
Criminal justice has a great career, but it’s something you have to start from the scratch and move up. This is also true for detectives. To become a criminal investigator, you must first become a police officer. This means going through the whole process of hiring law enforcement, visiting the police academy, training on the ground and leaving the probationary period.
The work of detectives is either a promotion or a side transfer from the police department. Individual requirements may vary from department to department, but since this is a special position, you can expect to have to serve as a police patrol officer for two or more years before you are even eligible to be hired as a detective.
What is it like to be a police detective?
The truth is that real detective work is far from glamorous images in the media, which requires incredible patience, tough investigations and irony. In addition to the fact that the resolution process can involve potentially dangerous people and situations, it can take months or even years, much of which is spent reviewing documents, photos and files. However, despite the difficulties, becoming a detective can be a useful profession, providing deep personal satisfaction from solving crimes and solving the problems of victims.
What does a police detective do?
A police detective investigates many things, from murder and theft to burglary and petty theft. This may require the detective to use forensic evidence as well as other standard evidence. Although interviewing witnesses and defendants or those involved in a crime is part of the job, careful recording, submission and transmission of the information gathered is also an ongoing requirement.
Most police detectives work full time, and paid overtime is common. Detectives work around the clock, and younger team members are likely to work more night shifts first. The work of a police detective is associated with an above-average risk of injury or death. Detectives must be comfortable in their weapons and almost always armed during duty.
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Skills needed as a Police Detective in 2021
- Patience: As mentioned, it can take months or years to solve crimes. Sometimes crimes go unresolved – thus becoming cold cases – which can be dealt with years later, especially with the advent of forensic technologies such as DNA analysis.
- Ingenuity: Detectives must constantly think on their feet and follow procedures, but they must also be able to use available resources and intuition to solve a crime.
- Communication skills: Detectives should listen carefully, questioning witnesses, victims and potential perpetrators, asking the right questions and ignoring non-verbal communication signals.
- Decision-making skills: Detectives need to be able to think quickly and act calmly, especially if someone’s life may be in danger or if quick action can reveal clues to solve a crime.
- Curiosity: Seasonal detectives are innate problem solvers who have the ability to think about the possible motives of a crime and how to find out how crimes were committed.
How to Become a Police Detective in 2021
1. Find out about the career of a police detective
To become a police detective, you must be at least 21 years old and have a high school diploma. Adding a college to your police detective education can be helpful for promotion. For example, to work with the FBI you need to have a bachelor’s degree. Studying law enforcement or criminal justice can be a useful preparation.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), between 2016 and 2026, detectives and criminal investigators are expected to increase by 5% with a continuing desire to improve and maintain public safety (www.bls.gov). In 2018, BLS data showed that the average salary of these professionals was $ 85,020.
2. Go to college
Although the BLS states that a high school diploma is enough to become an officer, it is reasonable to continue your education to advance to alternative law enforcement positions. While this is not a true police detective degree, many colleges offer both online programs and bachelor’s degree programs in law enforcement. These programs introduce you to the law, amendments, the judiciary, constitutional rights, juvenile delinquency, criminology, and abnormal behavior.
3. Go to Police Academy
With a good application, excellent links and clean tests, you will be admitted to the police academy for rigorous training. The training covers local legislation, traffic management, self-defense, weapons regulations and security. If you have completed this training, you have not reached the age, you can be placed in the office, where they do clerical work, until you reach 21 years of age.
4. Take the civil service exam
Some states require you to take a civil service exam to enter your local police academy. In other states, you can take a public service exam to find a job. Each county and state has its own exams, so if you want to work in a city, county, or government agency, you will have to take separate exams.
5. Gain experience
Training does not stop when you become a police officer. There are always new skills, techniques, policies and rules that you need to know. This is especially true if you want to advance your career. There are two skills that are extremely important for good detective work: interview and interrogation. They are both related to the collection of information, but there is a big difference between them.
The first requires the skills of great people to obtain information from those who are not suspected of committing a crime; the latter requires negotiation skills and an understanding of human psychology to obtain information from those who are.
They’re both tricky because they require people to tell you information they don’t remember, don’t think it’s relevant, or don’t want to tell you – and you need to know how to get the information legally. The information that was forced from the suspects is useless because it will be thrown into court.
6. Follow local registration and credentialing requirements.
Requirements to become a detective may vary by state. Because most states have different requirements to become a police officer, the steps to join state detectives may also vary. In general, some police departments require future detectives to have only a high school diploma or GED, while others require some college or two- to four-year college courses.
7. Get certified
There are many certificates available for police career search. If you have several years of experience in law enforcement, you can take the National Detective / Investigative Test (NDIT), which tests a police officer’s readiness to become a detective.
8. Selection process
Each police station will use a different method of selecting detectives from among their police officers. Some may use a written exam, some may give an oral interview, and some may simply base their decisions on work history alone. In many cases, most likely, all of the above will happen. Once you do this as a police officer, learn everything you can about the process for your particular department so that you can properly prepare for promotion to a detective.
9. Be patient
Many people are upset when they realize that they may have to spend years working as a police patrol before they can even shoot as a detective. However, you can spend time studying people, laws and the criminal process, and all this will make you a better detective. In the end, the job is well worth the wait, and if you put it off, you’re likely to find the perfect criminology career for you.
Police Detective career prospects
Employment of police and detectives is projected to increase by 5 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all professions. Many of these jobs are expected to result from the need to replace workers who switch to different occupations or are laid off, such as retirement.
The continuing need for public safety is expected to lead to new discoveries for officers, although demand may depend on location. New detectives can, with additional experience, receive promotions within their rank. Senior detectives can oversee other detectives and police officers, review the work of other police officers, and investigate important cases.
Detectives can also earn promotions to the rank of lieutenant, captain, commander and deputy chief. Each subsequent increase contributes to an increase in managerial responsibilities in the police department. Once promoted, detectives may lead patrol units or special units, such as the homicide, drug, or sexual assault unit.
How much is Police Detective salary in USA?
Data from March 2021 from PayScale.com indicate that police detectives with 0 to 5 years of experience earned an average income of $ 56,302. The salary increased to 48,000-91,000 dollars with 5-10 years of experience, $ 62,091 with 10-20 years of experience and $ 82,283 with 20 years of experience and more.