What is a Homicide Detective?

Homicide detectives might also be called homicide investigators. They are called into a crime scene when there’s been a death that can’t be explained. Detectives use the skills they’ve learned to investigate the scene, figure out if there’s been a homicide and find the person responsible, according to the FBI.

Duties of a Homicide Detective

The investigator of a homicide usually works with a partner to fulfill their duties. While crime scene technicians will gather evidence like blood for DNA analysis, fingerprints and evidence of the weapon used, investigators will take that information and use it to find witnesses or suspects to interview. They’ll prepare reports and gather all the data together for a case against their suspect.

Along with the duties at the crime scene, the homicide detective will work with the district attorney once a suspect has been charged. The detective will prepare court documents and testify in court regarding the case.

Experience Needed

Inexperience investigators do not take the position of homicide detective without being on the police force for years in a uniform. They’ll patrol the streets and protect the city’s citizens before they can become a detective. While a patrol officer might only need a high school diploma in some areas, others might need a two-year degree in criminal justice. Detectives need to have advanced education to perform their duties.

Salary and Career Information

The number of homicide detective positions will increase across the U.S. by 33,000 jobs into 2024. The average income of the police detective is $61,600 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This might be higher or lower depending on the area of the country as well as the experience of the detective. The homicide detective might work for a city, state or government agency, which can impact the salary he or she receives.

State of the Detective

The homicide detective has an incredibly stressful job, which can be physically as well as emotionally demanding. The detective might work around the clock after receiving a case because there’s common knowledge that most homicides have only forty-eight hours in which they can be solved successfully. The constant exposure to murder, death and criminal behavior can have a huge impact on the detective over time.

Statistically, most homicides happen at night, according to The Guardian. This means that there will be detectives on call during the night to arrive at the crime scene after it’s called into the precinct. Usually, a body will be found by another citizen who will make a call to the emergency police number. In other scenarios, there will be a crime and a witness will call the crime into the police who will find a person dead at the scene.

Related Resource: What is a Postal Inspector?

A homicide detective has a fascinating job that requires a certain amount of emotional and physical fortitude. There’s years of training on the job that has to happen during the patrol stage for the officer to be promoted to detective, and some of that training has to come from education in the form of a degree. The type and length of time in school will depend on the city in which the detective wants to work.