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Making the jump to Investigator/Detective

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  • Making the jump to Investigator/Detective

    I just hit 7 years, and have been kicking around the idea of making the move. I've been approached by several guys in our investigations unit, as well as patrol supervisors, about applying, so the opportunity is there. My biggest inhibitor is me. I'm not sure if it's what I want to do.

    So for you guys that made the jump into a suit and tie, what are your thoughts? Do you miss patrol? Would you go back? What don't you like about investigations?
    2
    Less than 5 years
    25.71%
    9
    5-10 years
    57.14%
    20
    10-15 years
    8.57%
    3
    15+ years
    8.57%
    3
    I make my living on Irish welfare.

  • #2
    Making The Jump To Investigator/Detective

    Originally posted by reils49 View Post
    .....So for you guys that made the jump into a suit and tie, what are your thoughts? Do you miss patrol? Would you go back? What don't you like about investigations?
    That depends. What sort of investigations unit is it? Is it General Investigations? Is it Narcotics? Is it Fugitive/Warrant work?

    It definitely is different. In some respects, I think investigations differs more, from agency to agency, than patrol does. Think about it. Not to down play it, but most patrol units are guys and gals working some traffic and/or chasing radio calls. I felt burnt out while in patrol from all of the report calls after a while. Fortunately, the PD I worked at allowed us, on patrol, to take the case as far as we could, within reason, before turning it over to the investigators. Other places take a report and turn it over.

    I never worked the drug task force, so what I know about that is second hand. Obviously it is different from patrol and general investigations.

    I really enjoyed fugitive/warrant work. It certainly isn't for everybody. In some respects, working fugitives seemed sort of like a cross between patrol and investigations to me., because I worked with both sides of the house at the SO and the PDs in my county.

    Is investigations a permanent deal at your shop? Or is it a quick stint of a year or two? I have seen it go both ways at places around me. In agencies that don't have permanent investigators, some return to patrol and are better cops having had the experience "inside". Others, return to patrol, and are bored stiff. Some become bitter. Others get jobs at agencies where they can be full-time, permanent investigators.

    Is there any opportunity to spend even just a day with investigators to get a better feel for what they do? Sometimes seeing it first hand can help you make a more informed decision. As for me, once I left patrol, I never really wanted to return to patrol. I got it out of my system. The adrenaline rush is fun. Going to hot calls, running and gunning, it is good, but I wanted the variety of trying other things. If I wanted to be in uniform, I would work an off duty gig once in a while for extra cash.

    The thing that I liked the least about investigations at the time was being stuck inside all day, everyday. I hadn't gotten that out of my system yet t that point in my life. I "cut my teeth" in welfare fraud investigations. At the time, I wasn't sure if I hated the public assistance system more or being stuck inside a building more. Now that I am a bit older, I would be better with it, but I still like being "out and about".

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    • #3
      Thanks Jim, this is what we call "a back room" investigator. That is an investigator assigned to a station and responsible for handling the serious cases there. While we have special units, Special Investigations, Major Crimes, Narco, etc. when you get promoted, you start in a "back room". So it's general detective work. You are going to get swamped with the burglaries and property crimes, serious assaults, sex offenses and homicides. We don't have a "homicide" squad, so the Investigator handling the case runs with it, and Major Crimes and the rest will assist, but it is still your bag.
      I make my living on Irish welfare.

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      • #4
        It's a permanent assignment for the most part. When you get promoted you are taken out of the uniform force, meaning you literally thrn in your uniform. There are no off duty jobs or OT in the bag. Now, you may go back to uniform as a Sgt or LT if you pass those tests and wish to take that position. But generally speaking you dont leave and go back to patrol.
        I make my living on Irish welfare.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by reils49 View Post
          Thanks Jim, this is what we call "a back room" investigator. That is an investigator assigned to a station and responsible for handling the serious cases there. While we have special units, Special Investigations, Major Crimes, Narco, etc. when you get promoted, you start in a "back room". So it's general detective work. You are going to get swamped with the burglaries and property crimes, serious assaults, sex offenses and homicides. We don't have a "homicide" squad, so the Investigator handling the case runs with it, and Major Crimes and the rest will assist, but it is still your bag.
          Just curious as the "back room" investigator it sounds as if you would be handling a wide variety of cases. What does the special investigations and major crimes do at your department? Everyone around me considers murders and sexual assaults as major crimes.

          If you make the move and decide you hate it can you come out? If so sounds like you have nothing to lose by taking a shot.
          Last edited by Mrpulo; 12-23-2015, 01:36 PM.

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          • #6
            Lost the uniform after about five years and never looked back.

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            • #7
              In my assignment in the courts, I had dealings with a NYSP homicide investigation unit working out of the Manhattan DA's office. They were a good bunch of guys, hard working and successful. There are a number of Troopers assigned to various task forces in the city. I'd say make the jump, put your time in and look for a special assignment in the future.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Mrpulo View Post
                Just curious as the "back room" investigator it sounds as if you would be handling a wide variety of cases. What does the special investigations and major crimes do at your department? Everyone around me considers murders and sexual assaults as major crimes.

                If you make the move and decide you hate it can you come out? If so sounds like you have nothing to lose by taking a shot.
                Yes, the back room guys are basically "the grunts" of our BCI, and they handle everything. Not only cases generated by your stations uniform squad, but also taking serious crimes from other agencies that may not have the resources to handle them, or assisting agencies outside this state when the crimes or suspect crosses into NY. They also handle a ton of the welfare fraud cases investigated by the state department of labor or workers comp board, which investigates those crimes but does not have authority to effect the arrest.

                As far as the other stuff, the violent felonies are are handled by the station BCI, however the Major Crimes Unit offers investigative support and additional resources for those crimes. Having said that, they generally do not take that case over, per se, unless it is deemed appropriate for one reason or another.

                As far as the Major Crimes Unit, they handle "major crimes" as deemed by the job, and from what I can tell are generally not tied down to a case, but more or less given the freedom to work without the headache of managing cases. Special Investigations Unit is pretty cool as well, but handles cases primarily with organized crime, money laundering, assisting the feds, etc. along with Forensics, Narco, Violent Felony Warrants, JTTF, DETF there is a lot to get into but you gotta pay your dues first.
                I make my living on Irish welfare.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Dinosaur32 View Post
                  In my assignment in the courts, I had dealings with a NYSP homicide investigation unit working out of the Manhattan DA's office. They were a good bunch of guys, hard working and successful. There are a number of Troopers assigned to various task forces in the city. I'd say make the jump, put your time in and look for a special assignment in the future.
                  Yea the DAs in all 5 boroughs have a few guys, the task forces as well. The gov wants a small uniform presence in Freedom Tower and around the train stations also.
                  I make my living on Irish welfare.

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                  • #10
                    Never liked doing investigations..............................


                    When I was forced I did them but really never liked it. Of course most of my investigations were of the Internal type which made them worse.

                    Relis--------------try to figure out how to PM I think it is SRT 963........................he was in investigtions, went out on the road as a Sgt and is now back in Investigations

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                    • #11
                      I enjoyed my first 4 years of investigations then I got tired of having a caseload that never went away. Constant nagging about "What are you doing about this?" Watching the news and seeing some bag of **** crime happening in you area and dreading going in to the mess it caused the next day. Dreaming of the simple days of patrol where you left all the days problems at the station house for someone else to figure out. Working a skeleton crew on Sundays the ball busting got so bad it made me start volunteering for uniform parade details. Working investigations with the right boss and crew you cant beat it but the bosses change frequently in the NYPD so change is constant and satisfaction temporary.

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                      • #12
                        Get yourself a comfortable chair and improve your typing skills if you need to. I never worked in the back room but it looked plenty boring to me.

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                        • #13
                          Even though my post was negative it was a positive move for me. I did a lot of great things I would have never had the chance to do if I stayed on patrol. It is a great opportunity that can open some doors for you.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by BNWS View Post
                            Even though my post was negative it was a positive move for me. I did a lot of great things I would have never had the chance to do if I stayed on patrol. It is a great opportunity that can open some doors for you.
                            Much like my posts where I state the worst mistake I made during my career was the promotion to Lieutenant.

                            While true personally, it gave me some opportunities that I would have never had as an officer

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                            • #15
                              I did some temporary work in a plain clothes unit investigating vehicle related crime. Within a short period of time I was climbing the walls and desperate to get back into uniform.

                              I think the career tracks depend on your preferences. I like autonomy, being out on the road, first on scene and at the sharp end. I like dealing with the public on the front line so I prefer patrol and traffic roles.

                              If you like the idea of being inside, following up leads, piecing things together and all that stuff then investigations might be your thing.

                              Does being a detective help you with promotion? Our detectives also get an automatic $10 000 per year in overtime and tend to have an easier time in applying for promotion because our internal culture tends to revere detectives.

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