How Do You Become a Homicide Detective?

A homicide detective’s job is to investigate murders and bring the responsible party to justice. To do this, they have to gather evidence through methodical procedures. It involves interviewing witnesses to the crime as well as gathering reports from other departments like the medical examiner and crime scene investigators. The detective has to understand the laws and procedures in place for interviewing witnesses and gathering evidence.

Skills of a Detective

A detective has to have innate skills and abilities like problem solving, critical thinking skills and control of their emotions. They’ll have to outsmart the criminals to catch them for their crimes. The investigator has to be honest and ethical too. The job can be incredibly frustrating because criminals don’t have to follow the law, but detectives do. The detective has to be willing to endanger their own life in the pursuit of a criminal and to protect the city’s citizens.

Education for the Detective

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the detective must hold a high school diploma or GED. Some cities will require their police detectives to have a college degree. Without a degree or courses in legal procedures and criminal law, the police officer might be passed over for promotion. This is a position that requires a prior career in law enforcement. Detectives are not hired straight out of school either.

Becoming a Police Officer

To become a police officer, candidates must have their high school education, a clean criminal record and a driver’s license. The future detective has to enter the police academy to train to be a police officer. This involves learning police procedures, how to apprehend suspects, prepare reports and perform certain life saving procedures like CPR.

Promotion for the Officer

While the officer’s arrest record or stats are evaluated during the promotion process, their whole demeanor is put under a microscope as well. The officer who wants to be promoted should always be looking for a chance to advance his or her skills in the field. Personal advancement through seminars or coursework is essential for promotion. There’s a test to be promoted that the officer will have to take. The officer should be practicing the test long before he or she is ready to take the exam.

Detectives and Ranks

The homicide detective isn’t the only rank within the police department. The detective might even be a supervisor over others in their unit. The officer or detective who wants to advance should be considering their job performance and how they handle responsibility too. Seniority is not often the reason that a detective is promoted. He or she has to be the best candidate for the position.

Related Resource: What is a Forensic Anthropologist?

A homicide detective will start out in the police academy, so he or she will need to be physically fit and able to complete the academy and graduate to the role of police officer. The detective will never come from a college directly into the position. It’s one that advances through the ranks of the police department. In fact, some cities don’t allow their detectives to work in homicide until they work in other departments first.