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If you regularly watch your favorite TV show and think “I could do this”, maybe you should consider becoming a Homicide Detective. The job might not exactly match how it looks on the small screen, but it can be challenging and exciting work.
Being a good detective requires extreme intelligence, excellent communication, and a variety of other skills. Homicide detectives deal with deaths in a variety of circumstances, including homicide, suicide, manslaughter, and shooting by officers. For many law enforcement professionals, it takes years of hard work to achieve this position. Fortunately, if you want to become a homicide detective, getting the right education and experience can achieve your goal.
What do homicide detectives do?
Homicide detectives investigate murders, oversee all aspects of homicide cases (including gathering and analyzing evidence), and collaborate with forensic technicians on any potential leads. When following leads, homicide detectives use interrogations, surveillance, and record checks to create arguments for prosecution. As the leader of an investigative team, a homicide detective delegates duties to uniformed police officers, but plays a vital role whenever experienced police officers are required to interview suspects and obtain information from witnesses. In court, a homicide detective provides expert testimony to link criminal evidence to the accused. They also need to keep abreast of new technologies being used to investigate murders and apprehend perpetrators, such as DNA testing and digital forensics.
How to become a homicide detective
There are two simple ways of becoming a homicide detective. The first is by obtaining the right education, while the second is by gaining experience.
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Obtain the Right Education
In most countries, you must be a uniformed officer before you can become a detective. A high school diploma or graduate education is required to work as a uniformed officer. Some counties even expect additional police training or specialty training in addition to your high school education. Check with the district you plan to work for to determine educational requirements.
Attend a Police Academy
In some countries, you will complete a police course at a local community college or state-sponsored police class before applying for a civil servant position. You can search online for the procedure to apply to an academy around you.
- The average police academy course lasts 18 weeks.
- At the Police Academy, you will learn things like arrest and booking procedures, gun use, stress management, communication tactics, information about laws, and Police strategies.
Complete a four-year degree in a related subject
As a uniformed officer, only a high school diploma or equivalent may be required. However, to become a homicide detective, you will likely need to get a four-year bachelor’s degree. Major areas include forensics, criminology, crime scene investigation, criminal justice, criminal administration, law enforcement, criminology, or police science.
- Other useful courses include law courses, computer courses, and Police courses.
- Top universities in criminal justice include the University of Pennsylvania, Northeastern University School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, the University of California at Irvine, and CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
- Federal agencies like the FBI and the DEA require a four-year degree.
Sit and Pass the detective exam
The most important part of being promoted to field rep to detective is passing the detective exam. While the test will vary by district, tests like the National Detective / Investigator Test are used by many different police stations across the country.
- Typically, a private investigative exam includes questions in areas such as criminal investigations, interview techniques, and relevant case law.
- Your district sometimes offers study guides or preparatory courses.
Complete field training after the academy. While Police Academy will teach you the basics of being a law enforcement officer, it will not be enough to teach you the skills you need daily on the job. Field training is a vital aspect of becoming a homicide detective.
- During field training, you usually shadow a police officer and act as their apprentice.
- Field training typically lasts around eight weeks.
Gain experience as a patrol officer
Most counties get their homicide detectives through inward promotion, so uniformed officer experience is a must in most circumstances. The experience you can get on the road also helps with your communication and intuition.
Investigate other types of crime
Since murder is such a heinous crime, the position is usually occupied by the best detectives. You have a much better chance of getting promoted to homicide detective if you’ve worked in a related investigative area like car theft, robbery, and theft. Before applying to the Homicide Squad, consider becoming an investigator in one of these units.
Show your bosses enthusiasm for investigative work
To be promoted to a private investigator or detective, you must be professional, intelligent, and have a proven track record. While some officials thrive in public institutions, others seem more investigative. Always take the opportunity to investigate and solve crimes in your district.
References from your superiors are also required for promotion to detective. So make sure you show your enthusiasm and willingness to be a homicide detective.
Apply for a homicide promotion
If you pass the detective test and meet the physical and mental requirements to become a detective, you can apply for a promotion to an investigator or detective. Many counties require several years of experience before you can apply for the position. Go to your commanding officer and speak to him about the official application for a promotion. They can provide you with the materials and have an interview about the likelihood of getting the job.
The Sacramento, California Police Department requires an 18-month probationary period followed by at least two years of service before you can apply for a detective promotion.
Washington DC officials require a minimum of two years of service and special training.
Getting a job with a police department is the very first step in becoming a homicide detective. Physical and written tests must be passed to be admitted to the police service. Physical tests include demanding races and intense fitness assessments. Written tests measure math skills, reading comprehension, and written communication skills. When hired, recruits go through an ambitious training program at the police academy. The length of this training program varies considerably from city to city. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the average length was 21 weeks across all academies, ranging from four weeks to six months.
After many years of service, an officer in uniform may apply for promotion to detective status or choose to take the detective exam. Professional excellence, intellectual ability, and the efficient use of ministerial resources are essential elements to consider when evaluating the performance of a potential detective. The exam covers police procedures and investigative techniques used by detectives. Homicide detectives don’t need a college degree, but many have at least a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or a related field. Many police departments provide classroom education and forensic and investigative training to prospective homicide detectives.
Where a homicidal detective can work
The opportunities for a homicide detective depend on the jurisdiction. A small police department probably has two detectives assigned to all types of cases (including homicides), and some will not. Only much larger departments have full-time homicide detectives, and the larger the department the more homicide detectives it has.
A homicide inspector may work in a sheriff’s office. The main difference between a sheriff’s office and a police department is their area ofjurisdiction. Typically, a sheriff’s office serves a county, while a police department serves a specific city or town.
Homicide detectives are different from FBI agents, although they are both law enforcement officers. Because FBI agents are federal officers, their requirements for education, experience, and physical ability are more stringent, while the standard for police detectives changes from state or jurisdiction to jurisdiction. the other.