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Patrol vs. Investigations

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  • Patrol vs. Investigations

    I was wondering, with the talk of police reform, and the fact that a lot of crimes nowadays is "nontraditional" (cyber, white-collar, environmental, etc); what will be the relationship between patrol and investigations going forward?

    Will it be like today, where there is a progression from patrol officer to investigator? Or will investigations have their own career path and entry point separate from patrol?

    And before anyone asks, this is not for any kind of educational project or assignment

  • #2
    Patrol will always be the pathway to investigations....in patrol you learn how to talk to people, witnesses, victims, suspects, exposed to daily crime, gain experience, learn how to make probable cause arrests and searches, and prove those PC arrests and searches in court. It's the basics of investigations.

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    • #3
      In my department, you still need to be a sworn officer to get into investigations, but I could foresee a day coming when that may not be 100% necessary.

      We've hired detectives straight into the role from outside the agency. They typically had specialized skills the department needed, like computer/tech investigations. 99% of their work is sitting in an office in front of a computer screen and, if we ever filled all the open slots in our investigations division, there would be almost no need for them to interact with the public at all. So I could see non-sworn investigators for very specific functions.

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      • scotty_appleton814
        scotty_appleton814 commented
        Editing a comment
        What type of agency do you work for? Full service local department?

      • orangebottle
        orangebottle commented
        Editing a comment
        Yes, full-service local PD

    • #4
      The Feds have been hiring investigators off the street for decades
      My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

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      • #5
        I'll remind you that 80+% of law enforcement officers in the US work for what are statistically considered "small departments" (statistically, that is usually defined as a department with 50 or fewer officers, but 25 or less is more common). In such departments, most (if not all) officers are best described as "jacks of all trades"...they work anything from a civil dispute or unruly juvenile to a burglary or homicide. Such departments MAY have a few detectives, but even they work a wide variety of offenses and their investigations are usually dictated by the amount of time necessary to bring the case to fruition.

        So, considering the above, your average department in the US simply doesn't have the manpower or resources to dedicate to specialized investigators for specific types of crimes. That may be something they can do in the NYPD, but not in Everytown, USA. Average LEO's who end up in investigations work their way up from patrol because they need to be well-rounded jacks-of-all-trades, not a specialized investigator in computer forensics dedicated to Middle Eastern financial crimes committed on Linux systems. Large Federal agencies like the FBI may hire investigators with very specific backgrounds to fill niche positions, but you're unlikely to ever see that in the trenches where your average LE work happens.
        "He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."
        -Friedrich Nietzsche

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        • #6
          +1 to Iowa and Bing.

          I started out in rural law enforcement. The largest municipality in the county -- the county seat -- ran 3 cars per shift. Everyone else ran 1 car per shift. Depending on staffing, the sheriff would run 1 or 2 cars. The departments with thousands or tens of thousands of officers are outliers. A sergeant and a couple of officers (or less) are more the norm across most of the US. So, yes, there is a career path straight into investigations at the state and federal level. For the typical PD, not going to happen.

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          • #7
            ALL patrol officers are investigators...

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            • #8
              Originally posted by Aidokea View Post
              ALL patrol officers are investigators...
              In theory. In reality, some are just report takers.

              Comment


              • scotty_appleton814
                scotty_appleton814 commented
                Editing a comment
                I agree with that. I've seen it both ways

            • #9
              Originally posted by Aidokea View Post
              ALL patrol officers are investigators...
              ... but not every investigator is a patrol officer.

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            • #10
              Originally posted by just joe View Post

              In theory. In reality, some are just report takers.
              And some of them aren't even good report takers! I've seen some one sentence burglary reports before from veteran officers.

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              • #11
                Originally posted by westside popo View Post

                And some of them aren't even good report takers! I've seen some one sentence burglary reports before from veteran officers.
                "victim states stuff gone"

                Comment


                • ChiTownDet
                  ChiTownDet commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Or as a battery follow up I got once, "Offender hang out 79-Carpenter, 51-Union."

              • #12
                Originally posted by Iowa #1603 View Post
                The Feds have been hiring investigators off the street for decades
                And we see the result of these incompetent “Investigators” DAILY...

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                • #13
                  If I was king, all investigators would start off in patrol before they go off and hide in an office somewhere. Also, if have no problem with a department hiring civilian contractors to investigate or assist in an investigation, but to have someone running around with no patrol experience carrying a gun and the authority to take someone's liberty away...I so heck no!

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                  • Aidokea
                    Aidokea commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Our detectives didn't hide in an office- they hid at the Starbucks next to Victoria's Secret at the mall...

                • #14
                  Originally posted by westside popo View Post

                  And some of them aren't even good report takers! I've seen some one sentence burglary reports before from veteran officers.
                  A 'Buck Savage' classic:


                  FF to 1:30 for the pertinent nugget.

                  Comment


                  • Aidokea
                    Aidokea commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I've always loved that bit...

                  • westside popo
                    westside popo commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Yep! The first time I saw that report I thought of Buck Savage.

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