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Police Investigator


Description

There are few careers out there that sound as intriguing, exciting, and dangerous as that of detective, or police investigator. Of all the movies and television shows that get made about the police, most of them deal with the investigators, those police officers who track down murderers, thieves, drug and prostitution rings and other offenders. They usually work in a detective department, like the sexual assault squad or the cold case squad, interviewing witnesses and suspects. Some police detectives, called forensic identification specialists, work behind the scenes in laboratories, using chemicals and dyes and tests to try and figure out how and a crime was committed using evidence found at the scene.

Investigators can provide information to other officers and prosecutors regarding firearms dealing, immigration enforcement, Internet abuse, fraud, missing persons investigations, as well as do undercover work to track information, evidence, and criminals.

Quite a lot of time is spent in the police precinct, completing paperwork. Police officers need to document each action they take in a criminal investigation, or any routine outreach they are involved in. This is important because other officers may deal with the same situation later, and want to know what action was taken previously. In a criminal investigation, detectives, lawyers, and judges will need to know details for court proceedings, and a police officer may be required to testify months or even years later - therefore, accurate notes are crucial.

Usually, investigators work in two-person investigative teams. Depending on their unit or division, they will travel the communities, answering calls from regular officers who have come across mysterious crime scenes, or following up tips and complaints made by citizens. Investigators work with other police, lawyers, and the government in order to protect all citizens and get justice for others.
 
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Grand Canyon University
Does Criminal Justice or Justice Studies interest you? GCU has the degrees for you. Explore our Master's and Bachelor's degree offerings today!
Programs Offered:
  • M.S. in Criminal Justice: Law Enforcement
  • M.S. in Criminal Justice: Legal Studies

 

 



  Average Earnings  
Lowest 10% of Earners:
$31,010
 
Median Salary:
$51,410
 
Highest 10% of Earners:
$80,380

  Interests and Skills  
Interested in a job in law enforcement? These individuals must be keen observers who notice details, good communicators who are able to speak with and listen to children, panicked victims, and suspects. They must be calm, and able to ask questions without frightening or alienating the person they are interviewing. A good understanding of the law and a desire to see justice done properly are important qualities. They should be interested in problem-solving, conflict resolution, and negotiation and have an interest in working with the community to stop criminal cycles. Honesty, maturity, integrity, and a non-sexist, culturally open attitude are tremendous assets to a successful police officer. Computer skills are also required.
 

  Typical Tasks  
  • Lead, conduct, or support investigations
  • Look into mysterious deaths and disappearances
  • Investigate organizations involved in the trafficking and importation of drugs
  • Monitor the activities of high-risk parolees and career criminals
  • Investigate illegal gambling, theft and other illegal activities
  • Analyze evidence
  • Support other law enforcement agencies in planning and conducting specialized investigations
  • Keep reports of all activities
  • An investigator will not spend every day looking at dead bodies and tracking organized crime bosses. More likely, the day will be spent in the police department, researching past cases, documenting recent events, and meeting with other investigators. When crimes and suspects are under investigation investigators will be traveling throughout the city, following up tips or ideas, tracking down witnesses and informants.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Police investigators are employed by police forces. Those working in smaller towns may act as both a regular officer and as an investigator.

  Long Term Career Potential  
As a trained police officer, a police investigator can always stay with the force, moving up the ranks to supervisory roles within the department. There is also the possibility or joining another type of police or investigation unit, like forensics or highway police. And then there is always the possibility of leaving the field altogether and becoming a consultant for movies and TV, a private investigator, or a security consultant.
 

  Educational Paths  
Police investigators must first become regular officers. To do this, one must apply to a police force. While it is not required, some level of postsecondary education may enhance an applicant's chances of gaining employment with a police force. Aspiring police investigators may choose to attend a community college to obtain diploma in law enforcement or police foundations, or may decide to obtain university degree.

The length of the training program to become an officer will vary depending according to the type of police force.

Once employed with a police force, officers can be promoted to an investigative position after gaining experience.
 

Sources:
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

Featured Schools

Matching School Ads
Grand Canyon University
Does Criminal Justice or Justice Studies interest you? GCU has the degrees for you. Explore our Master's and Bachelor's degree offerings today!
Programs Offered:
  • M.S. in Criminal Justice: Law Enforcement
  • M.S. in Criminal Justice: Legal Studies

 
Ashford University
You've found Ashford University, where school comes to you. Earn your bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree online.
Programs Offered:
  • BA/Law Enforcement Administration
  • MS/Criminal Justice - Homeland Security
  • MS/Criminal Justice - Law Enforcement and Corrections Administration
  • And more...

 
Liberty University

100% Online & No Standardized Testing

Programs Offered:
  • Master of Law: International Legal Studies
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice – Forensic Psychology
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice – Homeland Security
  • And more...

 
Grand Canyon University
Earn your degree online with Grand Canyon University. We offer approximately 100 bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree programs in a variety of fields that can be completed 100% online.
Programs Offered:
  • M.S, in Criminal Justice: Law Enforcement
  • M.S. in Criminal Justice: Legal Studies

 
Walden University
Earn a respected bachelor's degree, master's degree, or Ph.D. online at Walden University.
Programs Offered:
  • PhD in Criminal Justice - Law and Public Policy
  • PhD in Criminal Justice - General
  • PhD in Criminal Justice - Online Teaching in Higher Education
  • And more...

 
UEI College

At UEI College, we want you to succeed. We’re like a family and we want you to be a part of it.

Programs Offered:
  • Criminal Justice (11-Month Diploma Program)

 
Saint Joseph's University

Saint Joseph’s University is a comprehensive, regionally accredited university. Our national rankings and AACSB accreditation in the Haub School indicate the high quality of our undergraduate, graduate, and executive programs both online and on campus. Guided by a faculty committed to both teaching and scholarship, students develop intellectually, spiritually and emotionally through a unique curriculum, and advanced study in a chosen discipline.

Programs Offered:
  • MS in Criminal Justice - Federal Law Enforcement Track
  • MS in Criminal Justice - General Track
  • MS in Criminal Justice - Behavior Management Track
  • And more...

 
New England College

Discover the Difference a Community of Support Makes in Your Educational Journey. From Application to Graduation, the Guidance You Need to Achieve Your Goals. 100% Online.

Programs Offered:
  • BA in Criminal Justice/Law Enforcement
  • BA in Criminal Justice
  • AA in Criminal Justice
  • And more...

 
Utica College

Utica College, founded in 1946, is a comprehensive private institution located in upstate central New York.  The College offers regionally accredited online certificates, bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees in healthcare, cybersecurity, financial crime, nursing, physical therapy, business, criminal justice, and data science.  All courses are taught by credentialed, highly experienced faculty with significant and ongoing accomplishments in their respective fields.

Programs Offered:
  • BS in Criminal Justice - Cyber Criminology and Policy
  • BS in Criminal Justice – General

 
Lewis University

Lewis University is a regionally accredited, not-for-profit university committed to student success. Lewis offers 5 in-demand, online Master's degrees (Organizational Leadership, Criminal Justice, Computer Science, Data Science and Public Safety Admin.) as well as 5 online Graduate Certificates (Higher Edu. Leadership, Org. Leadership, Prof. Coaching, Data Science and Bioinformatics). Take your career to the next level with an advanced education to fit your lifestyle and achieve your goals.

Programs Offered:
  • MS in Criminal Justice

 
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