Police Detective Job Description, Skills, and Salary
Get to know about the duties, responsibilities, qualifications, and skills requirements of a police detective. You can use our job description template in this article to produce your own. We also provide you with information about the salary you can earn as a police detective.
Who is a Police Detective?
A police detective conducts research and gathers evidence to assist in the resolution of criminal cases and the investigation of possible criminal or deviant behavior. They may be required to respond to emergency calls and make arrests at any time of day or night. They also collect evidence from crime scenes and prepare it for use in a criminal case. They interact with a wide range of people and organizations, including law enforcement, emergency personnel, and the general public.
Police Detective Job Description
Below are the police detective job description examples you can use to develop your resume or write a job description for your employee. Employers can also use it to sieve out job seekers when choosing candidates for interviews.
Police detectives are responsible for a wide range of tasks, which can include.
- Interview witnesses and suspects to learn more about crimes.
- Investigate to identify suspects, collect evidence, and locate witnesses.
- Administer polygraph tests as part of an investigation.
- Perform forensic examinations on physical evidence such as documents or DNA samples.
- Gather information about the crime scene and thoroughly investigate it.
- Conduct insurance fraud investigations to identify fraudulent claims made by clients.
- Look into cases of child abuse or neglect.
- Conduct surveillance operations to gather evidence or monitor suspects’ activities.
- Investigate complex criminal activities and other violations of local, federal, or state law.
- Gather, analyze, and store evidence.
- Direct crime scene investigators and other law enforcement personnel at crime scenes.
- Make informed decisions and conclusions based on deductive reasoning and analysis to lead to prosecution.
- Prepare detailed case reports, as well as file and maintain records.
- Arrest suspects as needed and coordinate search and arrest warrants.
- Testify in court the case evidence and findings to ensure a conviction.
- Control firearms and electronic surveillance equipment.
A police detective must typically possess the following qualifications:
Education: Most police detectives must have a high school diploma or the equivalent. Candidates with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree are preferred by some police departments. Those with a background in criminal justice or a related field may have an advantage over other applicants.
Those with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or a related field can take criminology, criminal law, criminalistics, forensic science, forensic psychology, forensic accounting, and forensic accounting courses. These courses can help candidates prepare for the duties of a police detective.
Experience and training: The majority of police detectives receive their training at the police academy and on the job. During the academy, they learn the fundamentals of the job, such as self-defense, first aid, firearms, report writing, and other skills. They also learn about the laws and regulations that govern their profession. Police detectives who transfer from another law enforcement agency will receive on-the-job training to learn their new department’s specific policies and procedures. They will also learn about the various technologies and equipment they will be using.
Licenses and certifications: Candidates can obtain certifications to demonstrate their abilities and qualifications to current and prospective employers. Police detectives can obtain certifications to help them improve their problem-solving and critical-thinking abilities, which are essential in this role.
To be successful, police detectives must possess the following abilities.
- Keen Attention to detail: The ability to notice small changes in a situation is referred to as attention to detail. This ability is important for police detectives because it allows them to notice important information that can aid in the resolution of a case. For example, if a suspect is questioned about a crime and their story contradicts the evidence, a police detective with a keen eye for detail can spot the discrepancies and use them to determine the suspect’s true identity.
- Empathy: The ability to understand and share the feelings of others is referred to as empathy. Police detectives use empathy to make crime victims and suspects feel at ease during questioning. Empathy can also help police detectives understand the motivations of suspects and victims, which can aid in the resolution of cases.
- Excellent problem-solving skills: A police detective’s problem-solving abilities enable him or her to identify the source of a problem and devise a solution to address it. To solve crimes, gather evidence, and make arrests, police detectives use problem-solving skills. They also employ these abilities to assist victims and suspects in navigating the legal system.
- Excellent research skills: Detectives use research skills to learn about suspects, crime scenes, and evidence. They employ research skills to gather information about suspects through the use of databases, public records, and social media. They also use research skills to learn about crime scenes and evidence to solve cases.
- Excellent listening skills: Active listening is the process by which an individual acknowledges their attention is on the speaker by using nonverbal cues such as body position, smiling, head nodding, and small verbal gestures. Active listening is an important skill for police detectives to have because it allows them to effectively interact with members of the public and other law enforcement professionals. It also ensures that important details and information are noticed and relayed to police detectives, emergency response teams, or legal teams in court.
- Persuasiveness: Persuasiveness is a person’s ability to persuade others of the correct course of action. This is accomplished through effective verbal communication strategies. Every day, police detectives use persuasion to persuade members of the public to follow their instructions and obey the law. Persuasion is also used to de-escalate situations and prevent criminal activity.
- Physical Stamina: The ability to run or walk long distances is referred to as physical stamina. It also refers to an individual’s ability to lift heavy objects. Police detectives must have strong physical stamina because they must chase and restrain suspects, patrol large areas on foot, and climb over fences and other obstacles to complete their duties.
- Community awareness: Community awareness is the process by which people become acquainted with their surroundings. Understanding resident demographics, poverty levels, crime rates, and other community-influencing factors are part of this. When police detectives have a strong sense of community, they can effectively interact with members of the community. It also allows them to support local initiatives that benefit community members while also ensuring that they are aware of the types of crime that occur in the area.
- Critical Thinking Skills: Critical thinking is an individual’s ability to make important decisions in a short period. Police detectives must have excellent critical thinking skills because they may be required to make quick decisions that affect their own and the public’s health and well-being.
- Interpersonal Communication Skills: Interpersonal communication is the process of adjusting one’s communication strategies and language to connect with others and help them interpret information. Every day, police detectives use interpersonal communication to ensure clear communication with other officers who have different personalities. They also use interpersonal communication to assist the general public in understanding laws and regulations.
- Morality: Morality is the ability of an individual to live by a moral code and uphold moral practices in their daily life. Morality is important for police detectives because it allows them to make sound decisions. It also ensures that they support criminal justice initiatives both within their unit and throughout the community.
- Empathy: Empathy is the process by which one can imagine what another person is feeling. This enables them to offer emotional support. Empathy is an important skill for police detectives to have, whether they’re speaking with a suspect, victim, or someone suffering from a mental health condition. When police detective has empathy, they can make a difference in the lives of others.
- Ability to Work in a Team: Teamwork is the ability to collaborate effectively with others to complete tasks. Police detectives work with officers they don’t know daily. Their ability to adapt to a new role and work as part of a team has an impact on their ability to assist the public and apprehend suspects.
- Assertiveness: Assertiveness is the process by which an individual asserts their authority and encourages others to complete a task. When speaking with suspects, directing crowds, or enforcing laws, police detectives must be assertive.
- Courage: Courage is defined as the ability to complete tasks that would otherwise be dangerous or terrifying. Police detectives must have the courage to apprehend suspects and assist members of the public in escaping danger.
- Undercover Operations: Undercover operations are frequently used by police detectives to gather information about a crime. They may pose as someone interested in committing the same crime or as an employee at a business where crimes have occurred. This allows them to get close to criminals and learn more about their methods, motivations, and other details that can aid in the investigation.
- Understanding of Interrogation Techniques: The process of questioning a suspect to gather information is known as interrogation. Interrogation techniques are used by police detectives to force suspects to confess or reveal details about their crimes. Reading body language, asking open-ended questions, and remaining calm during the conversation are all part of effective interrogation. Interrogation skills can assist police detectives in solving cases more quickly.
- Report Writing: Report writing skills are used by police detectives to document their findings and observations. They may also write reports for the courts, outlining evidence that supports a conviction or aids in obtaining a not-guilty verdict. Detailed reports are necessary to ensure that justice is served fairly. Police detectives who can write clear, concise reports have a better chance of advancing in their careers and receiving positive feedback from their superiors.
- Criminal Investigation: The job of a police detective is to collect evidence and information about a crime, analyze it, and determine who committed the crime. This necessitates a wide range of investigation skills, such as observation, attention to detail, memory retention, and logical reasoning. A police detective must be able to observe and remember details of a scene or object to ask pertinent questions and draw accurate conclusions.
- Suspect interviewing: To gather information about a crime, police detectives frequently interview suspects and witnesses. During an investigation, you may interview several people as a police detective. It is critical to be able to ask open-ended questions that encourage your subject to speak freely to gather useful information. You must also be able to carefully listen to what they say and observe their body language to determine whether or not they are telling the truth.
- Evidence Collection Skills: Evidence collection is an important skill for police detectives to have because the evidence is frequently used to solve crimes. Physical objects such as fingerprints or DNA samples, as well as documents related to the crime, can be considered evidence. Police detectives must understand how to properly collect evidence so that it can be used in court if necessary. They must also understand the types of evidence that are most important in solving a case.
- Crime Scene Management: The ability to process and preserve evidence at a crime scene is referred to as crime scene management. When investigating a case, police detectives use their skills in crime scene management because it is critical for them to properly document any physical evidence found at the scene. This ensures that investigators can present this evidence to a court of law if necessary.
- Excellent leadership abilities: The ability to guide and motivate others is defined as leadership. Police detectives frequently work in teams, so they must be able to effectively lead their colleagues. When working on a case by themselves, they must also have strong leadership skills because they may need to take charge of situations where there isn’t another person available to make decisions.
- Sharp Observation Skills: The ability to notice details about a person or environment is referred to as observation. When interviewing witnesses and suspects as a police detective, you may need to use your observation skills. For example, if someone claims to have been at work at the time of an incident, you can use your observation skills to determine whether they are telling the truth. These abilities may also be useful when searching for evidence at crime scenes.
How to Become a Police Detective
- Finish police academy training: All police detectives have prior law enforcement experience. To gain experience as a police detective, you must first complete police academy training and work as a police officer.
- Complete educational requirements: A college degree may be required depending on the requirements of your state or the law enforcement agency where you want to work. In addition to experience as a police officer, some states require an associate degree or higher in criminal justice, forensics, or a related field. Other states may only require a high school diploma and a certain amount of law enforcement experience (in hours or years). Although advanced degrees and certificates are not usually required, they can help you compete for promotions.
- Get some work experience: You can begin gaining law enforcement experience once you have completed the main requirements of your state or agency. Some states and law enforcement agencies may require up to five years of documented work experience, while others may only require two to three years of experience in addition to a degree. Even candidates with college degrees must have law enforcement experience before they can be certified as detectives.
- Fulfill all licensing requirements: Many states may require private investigators to have a state license or certification. The National Detective and Investigative Test may be required of you (NDIT). Investigate your jurisdiction’s or agency’s requirements for licenses or other credentials.
- Apply for promotions and open positions: Typically, police officers seeking a detective position will apply for promotions through their current employer. They may also find work in other areas and move between jurisdictions. Experienced detectives can also advance as senior detectives or in other law enforcement leadership positions.
Where to Work as a Police Detective
Detectives for the police department typically work long hours, including evenings and weekends. They also work on weekends and holidays. They may have to work extra hours to solve a case or testify in court. Police detectives are usually dressed in plain clothes and drive their cars. They are frequently absent from the station, conducting interviews, surveillance, and other investigations. Some police detectives work in undercover units and may be called upon to work in potentially dangerous situations.
Police Detective Salary Scale
In the United States, the average police detective salary is $71,639 per year or $34.44 per hour. Entry-level salaries begin at $55,398 per year, with most experienced workers earning up to $83,339 per year.
In the United Kingdom, the average police detective salary is £25,966 per year or £13.32 per hour. Entry-level salaries begin at £21,840 per year, with most experienced workers earning up to £40,000 per year.
In Canada, the average police detective salary is $62,238 per year or $31.92 per hour. Entry-level salaries begin at $42,900 per year, with the most experienced workers earning up to $91,524 per year.
In Ireland, the average police detective salary is € 28 275 per year or € 14.50 per hour. Starting salaries start at € 28 275 per year, with most experienced police detectives earning up to € 31 200 per year.
In Australia, the average police detective salary is $74,736 per year or $38.33 per hour. Entry-level salaries begin at $65,664 per year, with the most experienced workers earning up to $90,788 per year.
In Germany, the average salary for a police detective is 65,407 euros per year and 31 euros per hour.
In Nigeria, a police detective’s monthly salary is around 196,000 NGN.