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Concept of Police Detective Job Essay

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Updated: Jun 25th, 2020


The department of police detective in any policing community is very dynamic and discovery oriented since offers in this field have to devise ways of defeating criminal activities. Specifically, the selection, hiring, and promotion processes for any typical police detective is very detailed since the job card requires the most qualified police officer. The training process is prolonged and there are guidelines that facilitate the transition from recruitment into actual duties.

Police detective job

The job title of a police detective is very involving since it requires technical skills in criminal investigation. Generally, a police detective performs specialized duties and has the sole mandate of generating investigative reports in liaison with other enforcement agencies. The specialized roles of a police detective are to “conduct narcotics investigations, perform surveillance and establish and maintain contacts with informants; investigate gang related crimes; respond to and investigate scenes of crimes such as homicide, theft, robbery, auto theft, illegal sex related activities; and, crimes committed by juveniles” (Beggs & Davies, 2009, p. 29). This paper will review the job card, requirements, remuneration, promotion, and physical work environment of a police detective.

Education and training requirements

In order to qualify for recruitment as a police detective, the candidate must have a minimum academic qualification of high school diploma or an equivalent of the same. Besides, the candidates must be at least twenty one years of age with a clean criminal record. The main training requirements for this post include possession of critical skills such as strong communication skills, good judgment, leadership, and organization skills” (Police Science and Law Enforcement, 2015, par. 8) since the job description involves application of analytical skills and ability to make rational judgments in crisis. In specialized forces, an additional degree in criminal justice may be an added advantage for a potential candidate.


The first qualification is possession of at least a high school diploma education. Besides, the potential candidate must have citizenship of the country he or she wants to serve as a detective. In most countries across the globe, a potential candidate for the post of a police detective should have a valid driving license with very minimal past driving offenses. It is necessary for the candidate to have tax compliance certification, good conduct certificate, and a recommendation letter from a least two division of the local authority (Peak, 2009).

Hiring process

The hiring process begins by advertisement of available police detective positions in the local dailies. An interested candidate who meets the minimum requirements may send an application alongside his or her curriculum vitae addressed to the recruiting institution. After short listing, the successful candidates are invited for series of interviews on education requirement, health accreditation, and physical fitness test. After this point, the successful candidates are invited into the detective school to undergo job preparation. The “recruits are required to participate in various classes related to law enforcement and to pass several physical examinations. Courses cover areas involving state and local laws, police ethics, and civil rights” (Los Angeles Police Department, 2015, par. 9).

The training process involves testing of physical skills, academic prowess, and personal working skills. Each candidate must pass all these tests in order to graduate from the detective school as a qualified police detective. After completion of the training, the detective graduates are deployed to different police departments on a training basis for at least six months before being commissioned as a qualified police detective.


The duties and responsibilities of a police detective are investigating crimes, generating reports, and liaising with other policing units in the process of criminal investigation and apprehension. Apart from criminal investigations, a police detective may also perform “court liaison functions, provide electronic equipment expertise to conduct surveillance and polygraph examinations, investigate applicants and businesses who have applied for Police Commission permits to conduct business, investigate child abuse cases, and conduct investigations of crimes committed by gangs of foreign origin” (Gottschalk, 2010, p. 27). In addition, a police detective may perform duties such offering professional leadership in case profiling, generation of reports, and communicating information along the chain of command for maximum effectiveness of the police detective department.

Salary range (Local and national)

The salary range of police detectives depends on the rank of each detective, duties assigned, and level of operations. The first rank in detective field is detective 1 followed by detective 2 and detective 3. In the field of criminal investigations, detective 3 has the highest rank and attracts the highest remuneration packages. On the other hand, detective 1 has the lowest rank and lowest compensation package since the responsibilities at this level. At the local level, the salary range for police detectives is $3,000 to $15,000. At national level, the salary range for police detective is $4,000 to $30,000.

Promotion requirements

In order to qualify for promotion from detective 1 to detective 2, there must be consistency in handling different criminal cases as expected. Besides, the success rate should be above 80% of all cases assigned to an office. In addition, the officer must display consistency, team work, and high moral standards within the policing regulation policies. In most cases, the aspect of experience is also considered, especially when transitioning from detective 2 to detective 3 ranks (Peak, 2009).

Working conditions (shifts hours)

Since detective work in a dynamic environment, work hours always stretch past the expected shifts. Apparently, “the majority of police detectives work on a full-time basis, although paid overtime is common. Detectives work in shifts 24 hours a day, and younger members of the team will likely work more night shifts in the beginning” (Police Science and Law Enforcement, 2015, par. 6). Each shift lasts for eight hours although it may stretch to more than 20 hours depending on the quantity of work available. The shifts run concurrently, especially in the criminal investigation duties.

Physical requirement

In order to qualify as police detective, the candidate must be physically fit with a height of at least five feet. The candidate must have clean health record from accredited medical facility. The candidate must have minimal skin breakage marks, good eye sight, perfect hearing ability, and good body weight. In addition, the candidate must pass mental fitness examination in order to get a clean bill of health on physical fitness (Peak, 2009).


In conclusion, the police detective job is very dynamic and any interested candidate must have good health, physical fitness, and at least a high school diploma to qualify. The process of becoming a police detective begins at recruitment and ends with the graduation from the police academy.


Beggs, J., & Davies, H. (2009). Police Misconduct, Complaints, and Public Regulation. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Web.

Gottschalk, P. (2010). Police management professional integrity in policing, New York, NY: Nova Science Publishers. Web.

Los Angeles Police Department. (2015). . Web.

Peak, K. (2009). Justice Administration: Police, Courts, and Corrections Management, Alabama: Prentice Hall. Web.

Police Science and Law Enforcement. (2015). . Web.

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