Detectives and Criminal Investigator Career

Job Description: Conduct investigations related to suspected violations of federal, state, or local laws to prevent or solve crimes.


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Detectives and Criminal Investigator Career

What Detectives and Criminal Investigators do:

  • Determine scope, timing, and direction of investigations.
  • Identify case issues and evidence needed, based on analysis of charges, complaints, or allegations of law violations.
  • Record progress of investigation, maintain informational files on suspects, and submit reports to commanding officer or magistrate to authorize warrants.
  • Prepare charges or responses to charges, or information for court cases, according to formalized procedures.
  • Obtain and verify evidence by interviewing and observing suspects and witnesses or by analyzing records.
  • Obtain facts or statements from complainants, witnesses, and accused persons and record interviews, using recording device.
  • Testify before grand juries concerning criminal activity investigations.
  • Collaborate with other offices and agencies to exchange information and coordinate activities.
  • Prepare reports that detail investigation findings.
  • Question individuals or observe persons and establishments to confirm information given to patrol officers.
  • Notify, or request notification of, medical examiner or district attorney representative.
  • Obtain summary of incident from officer in charge at crime scene, taking care to avoid disturbing evidence.
  • Participate or assist in raids and arrests.
  • Prepare and serve search and arrest warrants.
  • Examine records and governmental agency files to find identifying data about suspects.
  • Analyze completed police reports to determine what additional information and investigative work is needed.
  • Notify command of situation and request assistance.
  • Examine records to locate links in chains of evidence or information.
  • Provide information to lab personnel concerning the source of an item of evidence and tests to be performed.
  • Block or rope off scene and check perimeter to ensure that entire scene is secured.
  • Search for and collect evidence, such as fingerprints, using investigative equipment.
  • Secure deceased body and obtain evidence from it, preventing bystanders from tampering with it prior to medical examiner's arrival.
  • Maintain surveillance of establishments to obtain identifying information on suspects.
  • Preserve, process, and analyze items of evidence obtained from crime scenes and suspects, placing them in proper containers and destroying evidence no longer needed.
  • Note, mark, and photograph location of objects found, such as footprints, tire tracks, bullets and bloodstains, and take measurements of the scene.
  • Organize scene search, assigning specific tasks and areas of search to individual officers and obtaining adequate lighting as necessary.
  • Summon medical help for injured individuals and alert medical personnel to take statements from them.
  • Secure persons at scene, keeping witnesses from conversing or leaving the scene before investigators arrive.
  • Check victims for signs of life, such as breathing and pulse.
  • Perform undercover assignments and maintain surveillance, including monitoring authorized wiretaps.

What work activities are most important?

Importance Activities

Getting Information - Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

Making Decisions and Solving Problems - Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

Performing for or Working Directly with the Public - Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.

Documenting/Recording Information - Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates - Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events - Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

Communicating with Persons Outside Organization - Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.

Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge - Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.

Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships - Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.

Processing Information - Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.

Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards - Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.

Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others - Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.

Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work - Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.

Analyzing Data or Information - Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.

Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment - Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.

Interacting With Computers - Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.

Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings - Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.

Thinking Creatively - Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.

Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others - Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.

Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People - Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.

Performing General Physical Activities - Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.

Assisting and Caring for Others - Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.

Training and Teaching Others - Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.

Developing and Building Teams - Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.

Developing Objectives and Strategies - Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.

Scheduling Work and Activities - Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.

Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material - Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.

Performing Administrative Activities - Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.

Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others - Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.

Provide Consultation and Advice to Others - Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.

Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates - Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.

Coaching and Developing Others - Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.

Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information - Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.

Selling or Influencing Others - Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.

Handling and Moving Objects - Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.

Holland Code Chart for a Detectives and Criminal Investigator