What is a Police Detective?
We are fans of Columbo. For those that don’t know what it is, Columbo is an old TV show. It depicts Peter Falk (RIP) playing the role of a police investigator or detective named Columbo.
We love how Columbo combines humor with serious police work. In the end, he always gets his suspect.
If you love playing the cat and mouse game, police detective work may be your calling. It requires intellectual and analytical thinking. Criminals do all they can to cover their tracks. It’s the police detective’s job to untangle their web of deceit and bring them to justice.
Some of the duties police investigators are involved in are:
1. Conduct Surveillance of Suspected or Known Criminals
2. Assume Different Identities to go Undercover
3. Obtain Warrants Needed to Gather Additional Information to Help an Investigation
4. Visit Criminal Hangouts to Help Determine Criminal Habits
5. Arrest Suspected Criminals
6. Testify in Court
7. Interview Witnesses to Crime
8. Work with Prosecutors and Assist Them Prepare Cases for Trial
9. Liaison with other Law Enforcement Agencies
Unlike patrol officers that wear uniforms, police detectives wear plain cloths and drive unmarked cars. Most of the time, assignments are by rotation basis. This means you get the next assignment once you finish working on your current case. Though, some detectives do specialize in certain types of crime.
For example, a police investigator may specialize in cyber crimes. This will allow him to concentrate in preventing and solving his or her department’s cyber crimes.
How to Become a Police Detective:
Most police departments will not hire somebody off the street to be a police detective. There may be a few police departments that may hire a recent college graduate that majored in criminology or criminal justice.
The most common requirement that we know of is promoting from within. Usually a patrol officer with 1 to 5 years of experience will be promoted to detective. Some departments will require that this patrol officer pass the police detective exam or test. Of course, you must impress your supervisor and show abilities of detective work before they recommend you for this test. We also know of situations where you have to have a combination of the experience and the college degree.
Police Detective Salary:
According to the US Department of Labor Statistics, the median salary of police detectives as of 2004 was $53,000 per year, with the Los Angeles Police Department offering a starting salary of $56,898 per year. They reported the top 10% of police detectives making as much as $86,010 per year.
There is no better way to start a police career than with a degree in investigation, criminology, criminal justice, or law enforcement. The criminal justice schools below foot this bill nicely. You can earn your degree online. Request for their free information and see which school you like better.
Criminal Justice Careers