Police Detectives

Description

Conduct investigations to prevent crimes or solve criminal cases.

Tasks

  • Provide testimony as a witness in court.
  • Secure deceased body and obtain evidence from it, preventing bystanders from tampering with it prior to medical examiner's arrival.
  • Examine crime scenes to obtain clues and evidence, such as loose hairs, fibers, clothing, or weapons.
  • Obtain evidence from suspects.
  • Record progress of investigation, maintain informational files on suspects, and submit reports to commanding officer or magistrate to authorize warrants.
  • Check victims for signs of life, such as breathing and pulse.
  • Prepare charges or responses to charges, or information for court cases, according to formalized procedures.
  • Obtain facts or statements from complainants, witnesses, and accused persons and record interviews, using recording device.
  • Prepare and serve search and arrest warrants.
  • Note, mark, and photograph location of objects found, such as footprints, tire tracks, bullets and bloodstains, and take measurements of the scene.
  • Preserve, process, and analyze items of evidence obtained from crime scenes and suspects, placing them in proper containers and destroying evidence no longer needed.
  • Question individuals or observe persons and establishments to confirm information given to patrol officers.
  • Secure persons at scene, keeping witnesses from conversing or leaving the scene before investigators arrive.
  • Take photographs from all angles of relevant parts of a crime scene, including entrance and exit routes and streets and intersections.
  • Analyze completed police reports to determine what additional information and investigative work is needed.
  • Obtain summary of incident from officer in charge at crime scene, taking care to avoid disturbing evidence.
  • Provide information to lab personnel concerning the source of an item of evidence and tests to be performed.
  • Examine records and governmental agency files to find identifying data about suspects.
  • Block or rope off scene and check perimeter to ensure that entire scene is secured.
  • Summon medical help for injured individuals and alert medical personnel to take statements from them.
  • Observe and photograph narcotic purchase transactions to compile evidence and protect undercover investigators.
  • Organize scene search, assigning specific tasks and areas of search to individual officers and obtaining adequate lighting as necessary.
  • Participate or assist in raids and arrests.
  • Coordinate with outside agencies and serve on interagency task forces to combat specific types of crime.
  • Note relevant details upon arrival at scene, such as time of day and weather conditions.
  • Maintain surveillance of establishments to obtain identifying information on suspects.
  • Notify command of situation and request assistance.
  • Videotape scenes where possible, including collection of evidence, examination of victim at scene, and defendants and witnesses.
  • Notify, or request notification of, medical examiner or district attorney representative.
  • Monitor conditions of victims who are unconscious so that arrangements can be made to take statements if consciousness is regained.
  • Schedule polygraph tests for consenting parties and record results of test interpretations for presentation with findings.

Knowledge

Sales and Marketing
Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
Fine Arts
Knowledge of the theory and techniques required to compose, produce, and perform works of music, dance, visual arts, drama, and sculpture.

Skills

Equipment Selection
Determining the kind of tools and equipment needed to do a job.
Installation
Installing equipment, machines, wiring, or programs to meet specifications.
Equipment Maintenance
Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
Repairing
Repairing machines or systems using the needed tools.

Abilities

Wrist-Finger Speed
The ability to make fast, simple, repeated movements of the fingers, hands, and wrists.
Dynamic Flexibility
The ability to quickly and repeatedly bend, stretch, twist, or reach out with your body, arms, and/or legs.

Interests

Investigative
Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
Enterprising
Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
Realistic
Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
Conventional
Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
Social
Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
Artistic
Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.

Work Style

Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Stress Tolerance
Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
Self Control
Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Initiative
Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
Persistence
Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
Cooperation
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Adaptability/Flexibility
Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
Concern for Others
Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.

Work Values

Independence
Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
Working Conditions
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
Achievement
Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
Recognition
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.
Support
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
Relationships
Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.

Lay Titles

Agent
Alcohol Law Enforcement Agent
Burglary Investigator
City Detective
Crime Scene Investigator
Criminal Investigations Division Investigator
Criminal Investigator
Deputy Sheriff
Detective
Detective Sergeant
Detective Supervisor
Drug Enforcement Agent
Forgery/Fraud Investigator
Fugitive Detective
Fugitive Investigator
Homicide Detective
Homicide Investigator
Internal Affairs Investigator
Investigator
Law Enforcement Officer
Narcotics and/or Vice Detective
Narcotics Detective
Narcotics Investigator
Police Captain
Police Detective
Police Investigator
Police Officer
Sex Crimes Detective
Sheriff's Detective
Special Agent
Station Detective
Vice Investigator
Vice/Narcotics Detective

National Wages and Employment Info

Median Wages (2008):
$35.72 hourly, $74,300 annual.
Employment (2008):
109,230 employees