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  • Detective

    This question is for those who are, have been, about to become a detective.

    How was the transition for you and what did you have to do to prepare for your new position? Was it easier or more difficult than you expected? What are your positives and negatives RE: the position?

    I work for a very small dept. Are det. position is a 3 year rotation. I was highly encouraged to apply for the position, from a person whom I truly respect and has wealth of knowledge in L.E. With that being said, I never thought about the det. position at all. I am very dedicated patrol officer and always try to be a positive example, get to work early and fininsh my work in a timely manner.

    I like to investigate crimes. I get excited when my work of investigation pays off and an arrest is made. When you've done your follow-up, witness interviews, and the puzzle comes together.

    Thanks for your time and thoughts.

  • #2
    Originally posted by YELLOWLAB View Post
    I like to investigate crimes. I get excited when my work of investigation pays off and an arrest is made. When you've done your follow-up, witness interviews, and the puzzle comes together.
    The transition for me was tough at first, not because investigations is terribly difficult, but because I liked the adrenaline of being in patrol and getting the hot calls. I've been an investigator for over 2 years now, so I'm confident that I've found my niche.

    I will say, I do myself a favor by trying not to have the mindset of working my case and it "paying off" in prosecution. I do my part and work the case as thoroughly and completely as I can, but I rarely see an offender get sentenced accordingly. Not always the fault of the prosecutor (though sometimes plea agreements are made), but the court systems I've seen (local, federal and military) tend to be fairly lenient on some pretty serious crimes. I try to have the mindset of "I do my part as best I can, and anything after that is out of my hands."

    I will say that the "big" arrests or sentences, where very bad people go away for a long time are very worthwhile. Most recent one was a pedophile who molested his own son, and got over 20 years in prison.
    sigpic

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    • #3
      Kimble, TY for the info. I understand your point and well said. I don't know if I will apply or not....and i'm not saying I will even get the position...however it is nice to be considered.

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      • #4
        Kinda got it involuntarily....walked in with my nice suit n tie, the sergeant shows me the desk, says "here's your pager, here's your tape recorder, and here's a detective starter kit...." BOOM!!! Drops a 2" stack of reports on my desk.

        Did 10 years..learned a lot, the time off was a pain, getting $50.00 a month clothing allowance doesn't cut it (no pay raise, it's a lateral). I called it a demotion..twice as much work, no pay raise. NO emergency equipment in the cars, only a blue kojak light (I bellyached about that for 10 years). The bennys were Christmas shopping while working, nice long lunch breaks, and being able to study for the sergeants test on duty.

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        • #5
          I miss the road. However, my sarge and I have a compromise so to speak. I was originally promoted to patrol investigator three years ago. At my agency, a patrol investigator was there to handle all the "serious" calls. If it needed photographing, interviewing, a search warrant, etc then I handled it or oversaw the road officer IF the road officer wanted to run with it. In the cases that required CID callout, I automatically took the case and handled the scene until a Major Case detective arrived, then I was pretty much at their beck and call.

          Chief then announced that he was doing away with Patrol Investigators and making two new CID Detective positions. The rest of CID works M-F 8-5 with call outs. The two new positions were going to be a modified schedule to cut back on the money spent (double time) to cover CID callouts. I can't work M-F 8-5 in plain clothes. Not only is that NOT something I'm interested in, it doesnt' work with all the therapies, meetings and stuff I have to do with my son. So, this new Detective position sounded great. I ended up being one of the two picked.

          It took me.....six or eight months to get used to it. I do not like plain clothes. I do not stay in an Office and am constantly on the road. IMHO, its an Officer safety issue and I am very uncomfortable getting out of my car on someone wearing plain clothes. I work anything from a 12 to 12 to a 5 to 5, depending on what my case load looks like. I wear plain clothes in and have my uniform in the car. When I'm done with office work, I change clothes and out I go. I don't have to answer calls for service, though I back up the on duty shift all the time. I can self-initiate everything and it usually doesn't take long to end up knee-deep in something. If there is a call that would be CID, then I'm there. I still oversee patrol, covering all follow ups for two patrol teams.

          I like it. It took me, kicking and screaming, to learn to like it. I didn't want to give up being a Detective because I liked it, but I am not going to sit in an Office for 12 hours. As it is now, I have a compromise. Should that change, I'll turn it in and go back on the road. I truly miss patrol...I didn't know I was an adrenaline junkie. Yeah, its a bit of a rush arresting on the bigger cases, but...for ME it's not the greatest of trade offs.
          sigpic

          I don't agree with your opinion, but I respect its straightforwardness in terms of wrongness.

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          • #6
            Philly, Smurf, TY for your time and detailed info. It sure does not seem what its cut out to be. I like patrol and it would be strange not to get dressed and be proactive. We'll see.

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            • #7
              Gained 30 lbs.
              Today's Quote:

              "The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits."
              Albert Einstein

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              • #8
                I'll share my opinion because I was in your shoes not too long ago. I was "strongly" encouraged to apply for our detective trainee spot. I stressed out about it for a while, mainly because deep down I knew I didn't want to do it, but I didn't want to disappoint the individuals pushing me towards it. At the end of the day, I decided at this point in my career (which is early), the road is where its at for me. Part of it was the schedule, I love dog watch and I work 12's...investigations is days and 9's. To each his own I guess...just not something I'm interested in right now.
                It's better to be tried by twelve than carried by six...

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                • #9
                  Went to investigations this year, and I love it. I loved patrol, too, but always knew I'd want to try investigations. Couldn't tell you which one I like better. Loved the adrenaline on the street. As a detective, I like the thinking games and I love going out and catching my own bad guys. I'd rather hit the street than sit at a desk anyday...and I guess I'm lucky to have the option.
                  "You have never lived until you have almost died. For those who fight for it, life has a flavor the protected will never know." --Dave Grossman

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                  • #10
                    I worked investigations for twelve years: Six years in vehicle theft related assignments ("GTA Desk" and multi-agency taskforce) and six years in "Robbery-Homicide." I loved it because:
                    1) I had the ability to use investigative skills to follow-up on cases to their conclusion (arrests/filings/convictions).
                    2) I was able to resolve cases for victims or their family members (by arrest/conviction and/or recovery of property).
                    3) I had the freedom of working the cases with the best chance of resolution (vs handling "everything" with only moderate success).
                    4) I learned the science of interview and interrogation, the techniques needed for success, and I obtained the necessary skills to put that knowledge to use.
                    5) I was able to build on my successes by passing new found knowledge to co-workers in other details (investigative and patrol) so they could better do their jobs. This laid the groundwork for my next assignment, when I promoted to sergeant.

                    The toughest thing about working as a detective was learning proper "case management." You get a huge amount of cases assigned, but can only realistically handle so many of them. Some (by necessity) must be suspended or cleared in an expeditious manner, so the most important cases can be handled thoroughly to conclusion. Recognizing which cases to place emphasis on, for how long and with what resources is very tough for some investigators to get a handle on.

                    By nature, I hated to "dump" cases (even those with minimal chances of clearance). Learning how to handle those numbers was like juggling chainsaws and paperclips. You've got to get rid of the paperclips to keep from getting your arms cut off by the chainsaws. Once you can properly prioritize your responsibilities, it's amazing how successfully you can deal with serious issues. Without question (IMHO), this ability to prioritize is the toughest key to being a successful detective.
                    "I'm not fluent in the language of violence, but I know enough to get around in places where it's spoken."

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                    • #11
                      The toughest thing about working as a detective was learning proper "case management." You get a huge amount of cases assigned, but can only realistically handle so many of them. Some (by necessity) must be suspended or cleared in an expeditious manner, so the most important cases can be handled thoroughly to conclusion. Recognizing which cases to place emphasis on, for how long and with what resources is very tough for some investigators to get a handle on.

                      By nature, I hated to "dump" cases (even those with minimal chances of clearance). Learning how to handle those numbers was like juggling chainsaws and paperclips. You've got to get rid of the paperclips to keep from getting your arms cut off by the chainsaws. Once you can properly prioritize your responsibilities, it's amazing how successfully you can deal with serious issues. Without question (IMHO), this ability to prioritize is the toughest key to being a successful detective.
                      Pulicords is right on. I did ten years as well and the biggest issue was the case load. That was also the biggest reason I transferred out. If you are given the discretion to prioritize then you can manage, but in my case retirements, promotions, and transfers changed the entire landscape of CID management. The unwritten rule no longer applied regarding violent crimes, crimes against persons, children etc. worked to conclusion and the rest worked when you can. The last three years, I was assigned one case for every two work days. That coupled with a decrease in the number of detectives. More cases and more on-call time. The new bosses were of the attitude that a case number is as good as any other case number period. Cases were pulled at random for quality control and review. So, never mind that I had been working for two weeks running down leads on an armed robbery, I got gigged for not following up on a lead lets say on a forged check. I said all of that to say this; take a good look at your particular situation and the way your detective office is being run. I had some great years and for most of them, ours was run great and I really enjoyed it and it was very rewarding work. But, like anything else, if it is not being managed properly, it can be a nightmare. A couple of things I remember about first going back to CID. It took a while to get used to sitting at a desk. I just needed to drive somewhere. I was so used to driving all day, I couldn't sit still. And I looked like a Goodwill detective until I got my first uniform allowance check, which was nearly a year. Luckily, my Lt. and I were the same size and he took pity on me. He cleaned out his closet of things he no longer wore and gifted me. Man, did that help. I guess as I look back on it, I had about five good years and about five pretty crappy years. The first two, was learning and earning respect as a worthy detective. The next five were great. The last three were spent trying to survive and trying to make up my mind if I really wanted to transfer out. I did and now life is great again. The experience left me a better officer, with a better understanding of the whole picture, and a better attitude in general.
                      Hope all of that incoherent rambling helps.
                      Last edited by Loose Cannon; 10-22-2009, 03:30 PM.
                      Proudly generated over a hundred thousand dollars in attorney's fees and counting

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                      • #12
                        Thanks to all, who took the time to respond to my question. I know all of us/you have busy liives and you took the time to respond. All your info. is well received and its great to have such help from those who only know of me by a screen name.

                        Thank you.

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                        • #13
                          I'm a little late in chiming in and think you already received some great info. The only thing I would add is you have to be really self motivated to work as a detective. I loved it, but I've seen some officers who were very good on the street fail miserably as detectives, because they couldn't get organized and manage their cases as has been stated. When you take on the job of detective even though it isn't necessarily a promotion in some agencies you are given alot more responsibility. Your supervisors will expect that you got there for a reason and from my experience you won't have near as much actual supervision. The only other advice I would give you is on call sucks. I hated it. I'm in charge of our negotiations unit now and get called out occasionally, but as a detective I couldn't sleep at all the weeks I was on call.
                          Last edited by GVBD59; 10-22-2009, 04:37 PM.

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                          • #14
                            Don't get me wrong, I had a good time as a detective, but like Pulicords said, managing the caseload wears on you. I was mostly a property crimes detective, but did my share of CAP offenses. The trouble with burglaries and larcenies is there is little to go on, so clearances suffer. If you have the time, you can clear them, but the caseload gets backed up, so you have to clear and move on.

                            Going back to uniform is hard, since everyone thinks you got $hitcanned. The only ways out of detectives is retire or promote...so I got promoted.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by phillyrube View Post
                              The trouble with burglaries and larcenies is there is little to go on, so clearances suffer. If you have the time, you can clear them, but the caseload gets backed up, so you have to clear and move on.
                              On the other hand, the nice thing about burglaries and larcenies is: Suspects usually don't limit themselves to one incident. If you can pin a suspect down on one crime, often he/she can be connected to other open or suspended cases. Proper interrogation techniques and/or use of search warrants can go a long way towards reducing future crimes as well as recovering stolen property and clearing other offenses.
                              "I'm not fluent in the language of violence, but I know enough to get around in places where it's spoken."

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