If you enjoy applying your analytical thinking and problem-solving skills, you might want to think about a career as a detective. When you enter this section, you have access to various specialties. Knowing exactly what is expected of you in each specialism can help you decide on your next course of action.

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What is the job of a detective?

A detective, sometimes known as an investigator, is usually employed by a law enforcement agency, where they gather information and evidence to handle a variety of criminal cases. Using this evidence, they attempt to determine the chronology of events leading up to, during, and following a crime as well as to identify the perpetrator. Until the court removes charges, the police make an arrest, or the trial is complete, detectives frequently concentrate on a single case. They usually focus on a certain type of crime.

Even though the specific duties assigned to a detective vary depending on their field of expertise and the organization they work for, they may have certain similar requirements. A detective’s primary duties may include:

gathering data and concrete evidence at a crime scene to help solve a case

creating and examining formal reports

monitoring the activities of alleged offenders

carrying out inquiries and capturing suspects

using departmental assets to a criminal probe

interrogating witnesses, informants, and suspects in order to get timeframes, alibis, leads, potential suspects, and missing information

interrogating suspects to get additional details for a case or to identify the perpetrator

presenting testimony in court by acting as a witness or by explaining the evidence

Ten groups of detectives

While gathering evidence to support a criminal investigation is the goal of most detectives, each expert will have distinct duties. Understanding the differences between these detectives might help you choose a career path that fits your goals, interests, and talents. Think about the 10 types of detectives listed below:

1. Homicide detective

Homicide detectives investigate deaths and apprehend persons who are believed to be at fault. They might investigate crime scenes, talk to witnesses, chat with victims, do walkthroughs, take images and videos of the location, and gather evidence to help solve a case. Homicide investigators may also collaborate with other detectives and their criminal science investigation units to exchange information, put together the case’s events, and identify a suspect.

2. An investigator for the police

Police detectives, sometimes known as criminal investigators, investigate murders, robberies, arson, and property crimes. A police investigator may choose to specialize in one of these specific types of crimes.

3. A detective with forensic training

Forensic detectives, also known as forensic investigators, use their knowledge of biology, physics, and chemistry to analyze and assess evidence from crime scenes. By determining the time and manner of the incident, they aid in the investigation of crimes. Using a variety of scientific methods, forensic investigators collect physical evidence from crime scenes and assess samples and evidence. They might also offer in-depth studies and reference actual facts to support the specifics of the crime. Forensic investigators may testify before a court and jury, and they may also submit their findings.

4. A criminal investigator using a computer

An investigator of computer crimes uses computers and computer networks to dig into crimes. They are frequently called “computer crime investigators” or “computer forensic investigators.” They support the resolution of cybercrime-related problems, such as copyright violations and computer hacking. Certain investigators of computer crimes are not only trained to assist in the retrieval of computer data for use as evidence, but they may also provide testimony in court. A computer crime investigator’s other duties include checking software for bugs, evaluating computers, obtaining information about computers, decrypting encrypted files, and optimizing system efficiency.

5. Narcotic Detectives

Drugs detectives delve into the illegal sale and purchase of drugs by working on investigations concerning drug-related offenses at the local, state, and federal levels. Their mission is to track down, destroy, and capture the operators of illicit drug businesses. Sometimes, in an attempt to apprehend suspects, drug investigators may go undercover to get insight into the inner workings of these organizations and gather information without revealing their true identities as law enforcement officers.

6. Cold case investigators

Unresolved criminal cases are investigated by investigators who specialize in cold cases. They regularly take up homicide cases that no longer have a team investigating them due to a number of circumstances, such as an officer’s retirement or a lack of evidence. Cold case investigators have access to original case data, including early statements, and can speak with anyone involved in the case as well as interview the case’s first detectives. Sometimes advances in technology allow cold case detectives to use previously collected evidence to solve a case.

7. Investigative spies

Undercover detectives carry out covert investigations to get evidence for a crime that is either suspected or confirmed. They take on a new identity while working on the case to keep people from identifying them as law enforcement officers. They assume a false identity in order to engage in unlawful activities with suspects, such as purchasing an illicit good or service, without raising suspicions about the suspected criminal. Undercover investigators often use covert cameras and recorders, and their projects might take months or even years to complete.

8. A personal detective

A private investigator (PI), sometimes known as a private detective (PI), is a subject-matter specialist who operates outside of the police. In order to help obtain additional evidence for their cases, witnesses, victims, and loved ones of offenders commonly use private investigators (PIs). They might search for information on specific people or groups, conduct surveillance, and run criminal background checks. A private investigator’s duties may supplement or replace those of a police detective, depending on the situation.

9. The Missing Persons Detective

People I miss A case is usually taken up by investigators when someone contacts the police to report someone missing. They might be able to obtain information on the missing person from potential witnesses, families, and other law enforcement officers. They may also give the search warrant to the local media. Investigators searching for a missing person may also conduct studies that might help them determine the person’s whereabouts, such tracing down cell phone signals or contacting surrounding establishments about sightings or security camera footage.

10. A fraud investigator

A fraud detective is an investigator who specializes in investigating fraudulent activity for the government or private businesses. They might investigate fraud situations that occur both within and outside of businesses and gather data to help solve the issue. Fraud investigators usually conduct surveillance, look into transactions and records, speak with those involved, and conduct interviews in order to determine how the crime occurred. They might collaborate with attorneys and other criminal justice specialists to present their findings and offer testimony in court.