Criminal Justice Careers

Detectives

Detectives are police officers who have received advanced training in investigative techniques. They work all shifts, but frequently have court duties that require them to work during the day.


Police departments do not hire entry-level officers and assign them as detectives. You will generally work several years as a patrol officer before you are eligible for an investigative position. These positions are given to officers who have proven that they can work diligently with little supervision.

A detective in a small agency may be assigned a variety of complaints that cannot be handled on the patrol level. This could include those that require extended investigation, travel outside the local area, or extensive time in court. In a larger agency, a detective will usually specialize in an area of investigation, such as drug, robbery, or weapon offenses.