Life As a Police Detective
Police Detective Job Description Conduct investigations to prevent crimes or solve criminal cases.
A Day in the Life of a Police Detective
- Block or rope off scene and check perimeter to ensure that entire scene is secured.
- Record progress of investigation, maintain informational files on suspects, and submit reports to commanding officer or magistrate to authorize warrants.
- Take photographs from all angles of relevant parts of a crime scene, including entrance and exit routes and streets and intersections.
- Summon medical help for injured individuals and alert medical personnel to take statements from them.
- Obtain facts or statements from complainants, witnesses, and accused persons and record interviews, using recording device.
- Check victims for signs of life, such as breathing and pulse.
What Skills Do You Need to Work as a Police Detective?
When polled, Police Detectives say the following skills are most frequently used in their jobs:
Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Social Perceptiveness: Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Complex Problem Solving: Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
Related Job Titles for this Occupation:
- Narcotics Detective
- Sex Crimes Detective
- Crime Scene Supervisor
- City Detective
Job Demand for Police Detectives
In 2016, there was an estimated number of 110,900 jobs in the United States for Police Detective. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 4.5% which is below the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 5,000 new jobs for Police Detective by 2026. The BLS estimates 7,500 yearly job openings in this field.
The states with the most job growth for Police Detective are Nevada, Utah, and Arkansas. Watch out if you plan on working in New Jersey, Maryland, or Wyoming. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.
What is the Average Salary of a Police Detective
Police Detectives make between $43,800 and $138,860 a year.
Police Detectives who work in District of Columbia, Alaska, or Hawaii, make the highest salaries.
How much do Police Detectives make in each U.S. state?
|State||Annual Mean Salary|
|District of Columbia||$122,460|
Tools & Technologies Used by Police Detectives
Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Police Detectives:
- Microsoft Excel
- Microsoft Word
- Microsoft Office
- Microsoft PowerPoint
- Web browser software
- Microsoft Access
- Spreadsheet software
- Microsoft Visio
- Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop
- Microsoft Publisher
- Geographic information system GIS software
- Corel WordPerfect
- National Crime Information Center NCIC database
- Law enforcement information databases
- Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System IAFIS
- National Integrated Ballistics Information Network NIBIN
- SmartDraw.com SmartDraw Legal
- The CAD Zone The Crime Zone
- DesignWare 3D EyeWitness
- Crime mapping software
Becoming a Police Detective
Learn what Police Detective education requirements there are.
How many years of work experience do I need?
Who Employs Police Detectives?
The table below shows the approximate number of Police Detectives employed by various industries.
More about our data sources and methodologies.
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