What does it mean to be a detective?
We’ve all seen Hollywood movies and serial novels based on police action – resolving crimes, spinning on people. In those movies we’ve seen that the person trying to catch the bad guy is either called “detective” or “private investigator”. It sounds like the same thing but it isn’t quite the same.
Who are the detectives?
A detective is the person which is performing a detective work. Detectives usually work in police departments or law enforcement bureau. Private Investigators usually work in private agencies and they are not necessarily affiliated with the police. They still have to follow the law but they don’t have as many restrictions as detectives.
A detective’s job is to solve crimes and capture delinquents. They are the ones visiting a crime scene. They interview the witnesses, review lab reports and suspect profiles. This means that a detective is able to interrogate suspects, testify in court when necessary, follow up on leads and if they find evidence they must turn it to law enforcement bureaus. Detectives are responsible for the beginning of investigation and for making arrests. They can train and specialize in different areas of detective work such as crimes, art theft and money laundry, drug trafficking or missing persons. They also may work undercover for solving a case.
What do I have to do if I want to become a detective?
If you want to become a detective, you need to have a high school diploma, at least. If you have a college or a university diploma it is even better. The most useful degrees are in Forensic and Criminology. As in any other area the experience is the most valuable asset anyone could have. Detectives start as rookie police officers or assisting private detectives for building up their skills.
For most of the detectives the most important characteristics are logical abilities and personal intuition. Good communication skills are also required in order to get as many information as possible from witnesses. Technological competence is important as they advance in their carrier, understanding computer forensics or operating a wiretap.
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