Being a police detective and solving complex and criminal cases is akin to solving challenging puzzles. Solving criminal cases is often incredibly intriguing and even mentally stimulating work. It doesn’t hurt that the job pays well too. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median wage for police and detectives was $65,170 in 2019.
However, that doesn’t at all take away the seriousness of the job. Police detectives bear an enormous responsibility on their shoulders to solve extremely violent crimes and bring criminals to justice and closure to victim’s families.
In this piece, we’re going to take a comprehensive look at what’s involved in becoming a police detective.
Before Starting the Process, Make Sure This is What You Want
While this applies to any career change, it is perhaps doubly important in the case of becoming a police detective. You need to be reasonably sure about wanting to take this career path. Substantial preparation and work involved in getting to the ranks of police detectives. You don’t want to spend so much time and effort into trying to achieve something that you eventually start to dislike or feel like it isn’t for you.
Of course, as a police detective, you will have to deal with very violent crimes and come face to face with blood and gore, depending on the types of crimes you are responsible for investigating. Sure, it may be okay watching violence on TV where it’s toned down and distanced from reality. However, dealing with it in real life is a completely different ball game. If extreme violence is something that bothers you and you cannot stomach it, you may not be the best person suited to this job.
Becoming a Police Detective: Starting the Process
There are several career opportunities in the world of criminal justice, but perhaps the one common thread among all careers is that you have to always start right at the bottom and work your way up. This is, of course, true for detectives as well. In order to become a criminal investigator, you first need to become a police officer. This entails going through the complete hiring process involved in law enforcement, attending and training at the police academy, going through field training, and then coming off probation.
Within police departments, you become a detective by either securing a promotion or taking a lateral transfer. While individual requirements tend to vary from one department to another, a detective job is a specialty position that almost certainly requires a minimum of two or more years a police patrol officer before you can even be considered eligible to become a police detective.
Becoming a Police Detective: Making Your Place and Name
If you’ve set your eyes on becoming a police detective after becoming a police officer, you’ll have to spend the time on patrol distinguishing yourself. As a police officer, work history is extremely significant. You need to work hard and develop a good reputation as an upstanding police officer. You need to be known as a problem solver and a competent investigator by promptly, properly, and accurately handling the cases where you have the resources and ability to manage on your own.
You will need to focus on your work product and become adept at writing reports because they will be considered when you want to make a move to becoming a criminal investigator. It’s important to understand that investigative reports are extensive and lengthy and that writing detailed and relevant reports are critical to a police detective’s job. If you need help with your writing skills, consider taking report writing classes or perhaps a college-level English course to improve your skills.
You will need to be smart about how you utilize your time as a police patrol officer. Learn everything there is to know about police work. Become good at it and hone your skills. Consider taking the opportunity to spend some time with police detectives to learn what their jobs are like on a day-to-day basis. You’ll get to know the types of officers they look for to include in their ranks.
Doing all of this work will help you better prepare for what’s to come as you advance in your career as a police officer.
Becoming a Police Detective: The Selection Process
When selecting detectives from the ranks of police officers, methods vary from one police department to the other. Some departments may conduct a written exam. Some may conduct an oral one, while some may simply make their decision based on work histories. Once you become a police officer, if your goal is to eventually become a police detective, you need to learn everything there is to know about the ins and outs of your department’s selection process so that you know what you need to focus on and prepare for.
Becoming a Police Detective is Worth the Wait
While some may feel disheartened at the prospect of having to wait a couple of years or so as a police patrol officer before they’re eligible to become a police detective, they must learn vital skills required for effective police work before they get there. You can use that opportunity to learn about laws, the criminal process, and people, all of which will be invaluable as a police detective. When you finally make it, being a police detective may just be the ideal career choice for you.
Considering a Career as a Police Detective? Start with Civil Service Success
If you’re looking to take the Suffolk Police Exam in New York City to begin your journey as a police officer, you will need to prove your competency over a range of abilities and skills.
At Civil Service Success, we’ve acquired more than 45 years of experience helping candidates fulfill their dream of becoming civil servants. We selected all our instructors based on their expertise, background, experience, and level of success. Our instructors are retired court officers, firefighters, police officers, and sanitation workers who excelled in their respective fields.
As an esteemed civil service exam preparation school in New York City, we provide excellent, tried-and-tested preparation classes for various civil service exams. We help candidates prepare for the Suffolk Police test, the NYC firefighter exams, NYS Court Officer, and NYC Sanitation Worker exams.
We offer extensive exam workshops, exam guidance, and make-up classes. Considering how civil service exams are consistently updated, we ensure all our guidance and teaching materials up-to-date.
Get in touch with us today for more information.