What Does a Police Detective Do? - Video

Police Detectives investigate crimes and alleged criminals by collecting evidence and facts. Other names for this occupation include: fugitive detective, detective sergeant or investigator.

Daily Duties

A Police Detective works to gather evidence and facts for criminal cases. Duties include interviewing potential suspects, examining records and apprehending criminals. These police officers will work on specific cases until they are solved or dropped. It is important for Police Detectives to keep adequate records and notes in case they need to testify in a court of law. It is common for detectives to be called upon in court as a witness or to provide testimony. Other duties may include securing crime scenes, gathering evidence from such crime scenes and collecting evidence from suspects or other locations.

Before becoming a Detective, these officers must first work on patrol, typically for a two to five year period. They may work in specific areas of the police force such as narcotics, fraud, cyber crimes, sex crimes or homicide.

Work Setting

Police Detectives are found at the local, state and federal levels. It is a profession that can be dangerous. Detectives may witness murders or other heinous crimes, causing stress and anxiety. Travel may also be required, many times on short notice when criminal leads are followed. These professionals may work outdoors in a variety of conditions depending on the investigation. They may also spend time searching through computer information and other technical files. Police Detectives work a variety of different shifts that may include holidays, nights and weekends. During an investigation, longer hours may be necessary. Police Detectives are plainclothes officers, but they are typically required to be armed at all times.

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