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  • Detective schedules

    What's a "typical" schedule for a first-grade homicide detective in a very large city? (I realize there are no "typical" schedules, so just looking for a few examples.

  • #2
    Not a city or designated homicide unit. Just a regular station investigator.

    I work mostly a Monday-Friday, 9-5 kind of schedule; but with a weekend rotation, an afternoon (3-11) shift weekly, and being on call, which coincides with your afternoon. We also work holidays. Although it sounds fairly straight forward, it’s erratic. My schedule changes usually once or twice a week, for one reason or another.

    Your weekend rotation is dependent on how many people are in it, so I work a weekend every 6th, and then work Friday- Tuesday, and catch everything Friday afternoon through Monday morning.
    I make my living on Irish welfare.

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    • #3
      Why does it matter to your story? Seriously. In my experience, detectives work day shift and are subject to call outs whenever they are needed after hours. Someplace like Chicago may have detectives scheduled 24/7, but I don't know.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by just joe View Post
        Why does it matter to your story? Seriously. In my experience, detectives work day shift and are subject to call outs whenever they are needed after hours. Someplace like Chicago may have detectives scheduled 24/7, but I don't know.
        I like details. Even if they never make it into the final draft, the more knowledge, the better.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by ancilla89 View Post

          I like details. Even if they never make it into the final draft, the more knowledge, the better.
          The thing is......................................a REALISTIC police drama is boring. Nobody would buy the true story of what a cop does on a daily basis.
          Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

          My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

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          • Aidokea
            Aidokea commented
            Editing a comment
            Yup. I don't think anyone would want to watch an incident that took 30 seconds to transpire, followed by hours of getting witness statements, photographing, bagging, weighing, testing, labeling, packaging, creating evidence vouchers for the chain of custody, lodging the evidence, doing the scene sketches...and then FINALLY sitting down at a computer terminal to type well into the next day, until all of the words on the screen look the same, with nothing but cold delivery pizza and tepid coffee to keep you going.

        • #6
          Originally posted by ancilla89 View Post
          What's a "typical" schedule for a first-grade homicide detective in a very large city? (I realize there are no "typical" schedules, so just looking for a few examples.
          Would you believe it if I told you they mosey in at 0900, go hang out at Starbucks for a couple of hours, come back to the office to discuss fantasy football, walk over to the dispatch center to check out the smokin' hot new 21 year old dispatcher, chat her up and try to get her phone number, get shooed away by the dispatch supervisor for being leg-humpers, go take a long lunch, run a few personal errands, come back to the office to hide while surfing the internet for a few hours, hang out at the gas pumps for a little while refueling their take-home car, and then get off work at 1700?

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          • ehbowen
            ehbowen commented
            Editing a comment
            Considering the homicide clearance rate percentage in a city like Chicago, your scenario does begin to sound plausible....

          • reils49
            reils49 commented
            Editing a comment
            Sign me up

        • #7
          I was never assigned to a homicide detail. Assisted on several homicide investigations, but I was not the lead. Worked juvenile, general assignment, and property crimes with a city PD, then several years as a fraud and forgery investigator for a state agency. We mostly worked business hours, Monday thru Friday 8am-5pm. Each day there was one detective assigned the "duty", which meant that he caught all the new cases coming in on that day to add to his active case load. Same for weekends and holidays, which rotated separately (usually as on-call status). Rest of the time we worked our active cases until resolved. New guys were usually paired off with an experienced guy until ready to take on the full load.

          Unlike the TV shows and movies, I never had the luxury of working a single case until it was cleared. My active case load was usually 30 to 50 open cases at any given time. I remember spending a lot of time rereading and reviewing case files to reset my brain before doing a follow-up (frequently weeks or months later).

          I only remember a few "all hands on deck" episodes, usually for a kidnapping or serious fugitive matter. On some of those cases we had everyone working 12-plus hours every day until it was possible to return to a normal schedule. I always kept at least one full set of clean clothes in my locker for times when I was tied up on something that prevented going home for a day or two.

          Overtime was either non-existent or strongly discouraged. We kept daily activity logs (just like patrolmen) and total hours were recorded. We were allowed compensatory time as the workload permitted. Most of the time I had two vacations per year (one of two weeks, one of one week) and I liked to link my comp time onto a vacation when possible. Vacations were the only time we were not on the rotation of "duty" days, but we were still expected to make required court appearances (or beg the DA to reschedule, especially during elk season).

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          • #8
            I was a regular Detective. I worked 0730-1530 M-F. We had assigned 'radio' days where if it were my day I'd answer if someone was looking for CID. If needed, the radio person would stay late. We took turns being assigned the radio on weekends. I could expect to have it every 5-6 wks. If a special event was going on in the city, off days would be cancelled and usually we'd work 12 hour shifts. 7-7p or 4p-4a. The schedule may change if a witness or victim could not be interviewed during the shift.

            Like retired1995, I usually had about 30 cases that were open.
            Don't underestimate the value of the police procedurals on Amazon. Good, usually accurate info.

            *edit* Oops, sorry, I wasn't homicide either. The above was for a General Detective. Didn't want to mislead.
            Last edited by Zeitgeist1; 08-01-2019, 02:18 PM.

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