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Police Detectives

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All About Police Detectives

Occupation Description Conduct investigations to prevent crimes or solve criminal cases.

Life as a Police Detective: What Do They Do?

  • Maintain surveillance of establishments to obtain identifying information on suspects.
  • Analyze completed police reports to determine what additional information and investigative work is needed.
  • Note, mark, and photograph location of objects found, such as footprints, tire tracks, bullets and bloodstains, and take measurements of the scene.
  • Prepare and serve search and arrest warrants.
  • Secure persons at scene, keeping witnesses from conversing or leaving the scene before investigators arrive.
  • Provide information to lab personnel concerning the source of an item of evidence and tests to be performed.

What Every Police Detective Should Know

Below is a list of the skills most Police Detectives say are important on the job.

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.

Complex Problem Solving: Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Types of Police Detective Jobs

  • Sergeant
  • Deputy In Charge
  • Criminal Investigator
  • Investigator
  • Narcotics and/or Vice Detective

Police Detective Job Outlook

There were about 110,900 jobs for Detectives and Criminal Investigators in 2016 (in the United States).

New jobs are being produced at a rate of 4.5% which is lower than average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 5,000 new jobs for Police Detectives by 2026. There will be an estimated 7,500 positions for Police Detective per year.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Police Detectives in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Detectives and Criminal Investigators are Texas, New York, and California.

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.

Average Police Detective Salary

The average yearly salary of a Police Detective ranges between $43,800 and $138,860. A Police Detective median salary is $81,920.

Salary Ranges for Police Detectives

Below is a list of the median annual salaries for jobs of this type in different U.S. states.

Annual Mean Salary by State
State Annual Mean Salary

District of Columbia

$122,460

Alaska

$118,360

California

$107,120

Hawaii

$107,010

New Jersey

$102,600

Maryland

$102,370

Massachusetts

$101,800

Virginia

$98,850

Oregon

$93,840

New York

$91,250

Connecticut

$90,470

Delaware

$89,930

Nevada

$87,680

Illinois

$87,470

Colorado

$87,280

Rhode Island

$86,580

Michigan

$86,580

West Virginia

$86,340

Pennsylvania

$85,730

Washington

$85,440

North Dakota

$84,340

Vermont

$83,060

Arizona

$81,810

Wyoming

$81,750

Montana

$81,210

Utah

$80,840

New Hampshire

$80,370

Texas

$79,950

New Mexico

$77,890

Minnesota

$76,640

Wisconsin

$76,590

Florida

$76,560

Ohio

$75,310

Indiana

$75,150

Idaho

$73,510

Nebraska

$73,480

Iowa

$73,320

South Dakota

$72,050

Tennessee

$71,940

Kentucky

$71,300

Missouri

$70,860

Maine

$70,620

Georgia

$66,430

Oklahoma

$66,130

Louisiana

$65,090

Alabama

$64,750

Mississippi

$64,150

Kansas

$62,260

North Carolina

$60,810

South Carolina

$60,420

Arkansas

$60,340

What Tools do Police Detectives Use?

Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Police Detectives may use on a daily basis:

  • Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Geographic information system GIS software
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Access
  • Microsoft Visio

How to Become a Police Detective

Education needed to be a Police Detective:

Police Detective Degree Level

What work experience do I need to become a Police Detective?

Police Detective Work Experience

Who Employs Police Detectives?

Police Detective Sectors

References

Bureau of Labor Statistics

College Factual

O*NET Online

Image Credit: Via Wikimedia Commons

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