Ten Different Kinds of Detectives

Consider a job as a detective if you appreciate using your problem-solving abilities and have an inquisitive mind. There are several specialties available to you when you enter this area. Having a clear understanding of the responsibilities associated with each specialization can assist you in choosing your future path.

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This page explains what a detective does, describes ten different kinds of detectives, and addresses common queries concerning pay, employment prospects, and requirements for this line of work.

What does a detective do?

A detective, often called an investigator, typically works for a law enforcement organization where they obtain data and proof to address a range of criminal cases. They try to ascertain the sequence of events that took place before to, during, and following a crime, as well as identify the offender, using this evidence. Detectives often focus on a single case until the court drops charges, the police make an arrest, or the trial is over. They frequently specialize in a particular kind of crime.

A detective may have certain common obligations, even if their precise responsibilities will depend on their area of expertise and the department they work for. Among a detective’s main responsibilities might be:

acquiring information and tangible proof at a crime scene in order to solve a case

drafting and reviewing official reports

observing suspected criminals’ movements

conducting investigations and apprehending suspects

using departmental resources to a criminal investigation

interviewing informants, witnesses, and suspects to find alibis, timelines, possible suspects, hints, and missing data

Questioning suspects in order to find out more information for a case or to identify the offender

giving testimony in court by providing an explanation of the evidence or by acting as a witness

Ten categories of investigators

Although most detectives want to collect evidence to aid in the investigation of crimes, each specialist will have different responsibilities. Selecting a career route that aligns with your skills, interests, and objectives can be made easier by being aware of the distinctions between these detectives. Consider the following ten categories of detectives:

1. Detective of homicides

Detectives that specialize in homicide look into killings and capture those who are thought to be responsible. In order to assist solve a case, they could examine crime scenes, speak with witnesses, interview victims, walkthroughs, take pictures and videos of the site, and gather evidence. In order to share information, piece together the case’s events, and identify a suspect, homicide investigators may also work in conjunction with other detectives and their criminal science investigation departments.

2. A police investigator

Police detectives, sometimes referred to as criminal investigators, look into robberies, arson, killings, and property offenses. One of these particular categories of crime is something you may specialize in as a police investigator.

3. A forensic investigator

Forensic detectives, sometimes referred to as forensic investigators, examine and evaluate crime scene evidence using their understanding of biology, physics, and chemistry. They assist in crime solving by establishing the scene’s time and method of crime. Physical evidence is gathered by forensic investigators from crime scenes, and samples and evidence are examined using a range of scientific techniques. In order to substantiate the details of the crime, they could also provide in-depth reports and cite empirical data. A judge and jury may hear testimony from forensic investigators and hear presentations of their findings.

4. A computer-based criminal investigator

A computer crime detective looks into crimes using computers and computer networks. They are often referred to as computer forensic investigators or computer crime investigators. They assist in resolving issues involving cybercrime, including those involving copyright infringement and computer hacking. In addition to helping to retrieve computer data for use as evidence, certain computer crime investigators are also qualified to testify in court. Additional responsibilities of a computer crime investigator include examining software programs for errors, assessing computer systems, gathering data about computer systems, unlocking encrypted files, and enhancing system performance.

5. Detectives of Narcotics

drugs detectives work on investigations involving drug-related offenses at the municipal, state, and federal levels in order to look into the illicit sale and acquisition of drugs. Their goal is to locate, demolish, and apprehend the members of illegal drug enterprises. Narcotic detectives occasionally go undercover to learn about the workings of these groups and obtain information without disclosing their identity as law enforcement officials in order to capture suspects.

6. Investigators of cold cases

Investigators that specialize in cold cases investigate unresolved criminal situations. They frequently work on homicide cases that, for a variety of reasons, including an officer’s retirement or a dearth of evidence, no longer have a team examining them. Cold case investigators can talk to the individuals involved in the case, interview the case’s first detectives, and examine original case files including early statements. Technological advancements can occasionally enable cold case investigators to utilize pre-existing evidence to crack the case.

7. Covert investigator

In order to gather evidence for a crime that is either suspected or proven, undercover investigators conduct covert investigations. In order to prevent people from recognizing them as law enforcement officials, they adopt a different persona while working on the case. To participate in illegal actions with suspects, such as buying an illicit commodity or service, they pretend to be someone else in order to avoid arousing suspicions about the suspected criminal. Projects undertaken by undercover investigators can take months or even years to finish, and they frequently utilize concealed cameras and recorders.

8. A private investigator

A private investigator (PI), sometimes referred to as a private detective (PI), is an expert in the area who works independently of the police. PIs are frequently hired by witnesses, victims, and loved ones of criminals to assist in gathering more evidence in their cases. They could carry out surveillance, do criminal history checks, and look for details about certain individuals or groups. Depending on the circumstances, a private investigator’s job may take the place of or be added to that of a police detective.

9. Detective for Missing Persons

Missing people investigators frequently take on a case when someone reports a person missing to police enforcement. They could get information on the missing individual from other law enforcement officials, relatives, and possible witnesses. They might also notify the local media to start a search. Detectives looking for missing individuals may also carry out investigations that might assist them in pinpointing the individual’s position, such as tracking down mobile phone signals or getting in touch with nearby businesses regarding sightings or security camera video.

10. A fraud investigator

An investigator who focuses on looking into fraudulent activities for the government or private companies is known as a fraud detective. They could look into fraud cases that happen within or outside of an organization and collect information to assist fix the problem. In order to ascertain how the crime happened, fraud investigators frequently undertake surveillance, investigate transactions and documents, and interview with those involved. In order to present their results and provide testimony in court, they could work with lawyers and other experts in the field of criminal justice.