Police Detectives

Conduct investigations to prevent crimes or solve criminal cases.

Median Annual Wage: $79,870

Education: High school diploma or equivalent (45%); Associate's degree (21%); Some college, no degree (16%)

Projected Growth: Little or no change (-2% to 2%)

Related Job Titles: Investigator; Detective Sergeant; Detective; Fugitive Detective; Police Detective; Narcotics Detective; Fugitive Investigator; Narcotics Investigator; Detective Supervisor; Sex Crimes Detective

Browse Job Listings

Browse Schools

Source: O*NET OnLine information for Police Detectives.

More Protective Service Careers

  • 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.
  • Prepare and serve search and arrest warrants.
  • Obtain facts or statements from complainants, witnesses, and accused persons and record interviews, using recording device.
  • Note, mark, and photograph location of objects found, such as footprints, tire tracks, bullets and bloodstains, and take measurements of the scene.
  • Examine records and governmental agency files to find identifying data about suspects.
  • Provide information to lab personnel concerning the source of an item of evidence and tests to be performed.
  • Obtain summary of incident from officer in charge at crime scene, taking care to avoid disturbing evidence.
  • Analyze completed police reports to determine what additional information and investigative work is needed.
  • Take photographs from all angles of relevant parts of a crime scene, including entrance and exit routes and streets and intersections.
  • Secure persons at scene, keeping witnesses from conversing or leaving the scene before investigators arrive.
  • Question individuals or observe persons and establishments to confirm information given to patrol officers.
  • Preserve, process, and analyze items of evidence obtained from crime scenes and suspects, placing them in proper containers and destroying evidence no longer needed.
  • 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.
  • Participate or assist in raids and arrests.
  • Organize scene search, assigning specific tasks and areas of search to individual officers and obtaining adequate lighting as necessary.
  • 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.

Source: O*NET OnLine information for Police Detectives.

  • 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.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Time Management - Managing one's own time and the time of others.
  • Service Orientation - Actively looking for ways to help people.

Source: O*NET OnLine information for Police Detectives.

Search Local Job Listings