HOW TO BE A DETECTIVE: Simple Ways To Become a Detective

How to be a detective
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It’s been your dream to be a detective, yeah, probably because you like doing underground investigations or some other reason. But here’s the challenge, you don’t want to be a cop, or even have anything to do with the police force. Here’s the big question. Is it possible then, to be a detective without being a cop? And what does it take to become a detective, especially in Texas? Read on to learn more.

If you’re drawn to detective work, you’re probably thinking what you need to do to make your goal become a reality. The first thing to understand is that becoming a police officer is the first step toward becoming a police detective. But if you want to advance your profession or are just intrigued about being a detective, here’s where to start.

How to Become a Police Detective

As you will discover during your job search, each police department operates differently due to size, jurisdiction, and regulatory environment. When it comes to becoming a police detective, there is no one-size-fits-all approach, but these are the most common.

#1. Educate yourself.

While education requirements for police officers vary based on their function, Carlin reports that most departments prefer detectives to have at least some college degree.

In addition to a long list of essential abilities, law enforcement officers must be familiar with a plethora of rules and regulations in order to conduct their work correctly and safely. That comes as no surprise. But did you realize that written communication skills are just as crucial as spoken communication abilities?

While typing away at a keyboard isn’t the most exciting aspect of an officer’s job, aspiring detectives should keep in mind that reports written by police detectives are critical to cases and are used by higher-level officials, attorneys, and judges—so accuracy and the ability to clearly communicate what happened are essential. Acquiring these writing skills is one of the main reasons agencies recruit college-educated detectives.

#2. Join the police force.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, being a police officer entails a number of qualifications, including being at least 21 years old, possessing a driver’s license, and being physically healthy. Many states will need you to attend a police training academy.

#3. Pay attention to seasoned detectives.

As a police officer, you’ll frequently work closely with police detectives, and if you want to be one of them, you should pay attention to what they do. Experience frequently teaches detectives how to convey bad news tastefully, communicate with firmness and sensitivity in tragic-but-timely investigations, and analyze body language to successfully question suspects.

All of the above abilities are taught to police officers, but police detectives have years of experience to master them. Keep a close eye on how they act when the occasion arises.

#4. Acquire experience

When you become a police officer, your training does not end. You’ll always need to learn new skills, techniques, policies, and regulations. This is especially true if you want to advance in your work.

Two abilities are essential necessary for excellent detective work: interviewing and interrogation. They both involve obtaining information, yet there is a significant distinction between them. To obtain information from those who are not suspects in a crime, exceptional people skills are required; to obtain information from those who are, expert negotiation skills and a comprehension of human psychology are required.

They’re both difficult because they need you to persuade people to give you something they can’t recall, don’t believe is relevant, or don’t want to tell you—and you must know how to do so lawfully. 

#5. Think about pursuing additional education or certification.

You’ll learn everything you need to know about interviewing and interrogating people in school and on the job, but attending classes via your department demonstrates initiative that others will notice when a new detective is needed. According to Carlin, such programs typically take approximately a week and result in a certificate upon completion.

Being a detective involves attempting to advance your career as a police officer. It is critical to look around your department and consider what qualifies you for the position.

#6. Have patience.

After you’ve finished all of the prerequisites, you’ll undoubtedly want to pursue a job as a police detective. Yes, you are aware that you must initially serve as a police officer, but only for a few years, correct? It all relies on the department and its specific requirements.

How To Be A Detective Without Being A Cop

You really cannot distinguish between a cop and a detective. In other words, you have to be cop to be a detective. Working as a cop, passing an exam, and earning promotion to detective within the department is the only method to become a police detective. If you wish to work as a detective without first going through the police academy and becoming a cop, you can become a private investigator, or PI. While you may not work as a PI to solve significant crimes, you will have the option to apply your investigative abilities to assist private clients.

Private Investigators

These are detectives who work for their own clients rather than for law enforcement authorities. Private detective work does not normally include solving major crimes such as homicide, as law enforcement is in charge of that. Private investigators can assist in the recovery of missing persons, the gathering of evidence of spousal infidelity in divorce disputes, and the detection of insurance fraud. They may conduct interviews with witnesses to a crime in order to acquire information for the prosecution or defense in a case. Other investigators serve as bodyguards and conduct background checks.

Becoming a Private Investigator

Most states require all private investigators to be licensed, and others need further licensing for those who want to carry a firearm or provide bodyguard services. Each state has its own requirements for obtaining a PI license. Private detectives in New York, for example, must be at least 25 years old, pass a test, pay licensing fees, and have three years or more of job experience.

Working Knowledge

Although you can become a private detective without first working as a police cop, many PIs are former cops, and several jurisdictions give priority to cops in their licensing standards. For example, New York state will award a PI license to a police officer with 20 years of employment or more, even if the candidate has no investigative expertise. Before applying for a license, all other applicants must have at least three years of experience as an investigator. Working for a qualified investigator will provide you with this experience.

How To Become A Detective in Texas

Texas has about 6,500 First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives as of 2019. If you wish to join them in the coming years, this chapter is for you. 

Should I Become a Texas Detective?

The day-to-day work of a detective, like all law enforcement positions, includes tremendous risk. Because they have to deal with criminals on a regular basis, there is always the risk of harm or even death. Furthermore, the working hours are demanding, with numerous night and weekend shifts. However, most detectives are likely to get compensated for overtime.

Career Prospects

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment possibilities for Police and Detectives will increase by 5% between 2018 and 2028. Continued public safety concerns will drive this growth. However, the availability of positions will be influenced by crime rates as well as local police department budgets. Texas is now the fourth-highest paying state for First-Line Supervisors of Police Detectives.

How to Become a Texas Detective

Detectives typically begin their careers as police officers. They must serve in this capacity for a set number of years before being promoted. The steps outlined here will assist you in becoming a Texas detective.

#1. Get The Required Education

To be qualified for employment, you will just need a High School Diploma or a GED (General Educational Development) Certificate, unless otherwise stipulated by a specific police agency in the state. Higher education, on the other hand, will give you an advantage both at initial recruitment and later in your career. If at all possible, aspiring detectives should pursue an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree in Criminology, Criminal Justice, Forensic Science, Criminal Law and Judicial Function, or a related field.

#2. Finish the first phase of recruitment

There are a variety of exams that must be passed after applying for a job with a Texas police force. A written admission examination, physical test, background check, medical evaluation, polygraph exam, and drugs test are all common.

#3. Complete Police academy training

Completing police academy training takes roughly 6 months. You will be qualified to join the police department as an officer at the end of this phase.

#4. Extend your experience as a police officer

To be eligible for the post of Detective, you must first work as an officer for a few years in your preferred police unit.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Texas Detective?

The early rounds of recruitment and training last about 1.5 to 2 years. After that, you must work as a police officer for a few years. So you’re looking at a 5 to 6 year time frame.

What Are the Requirements for Becoming a Texas Detective?

To become a detective in Texas, one must meet the following prerequisites.

  • You must be at least 20 years old. Some police departments in the state may have a minimum age restriction of 19 or 21.
  • You must be a legitimate American citizen (through birth or naturalization).
  • You must have a high school diploma or a GED certificate. Some police departments may require further training.
  • Possess a valid Texas driver’s license.
  • You must not have a criminal record.
  • In the case of military service, there must be no dishonorable discharges.
  • Acquire the necessary professional experience as a police officer.

What Can I Expect to Earn as a Detective in Texas?

According to the most recent US Bureau of Labor Statistics data, First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives in Texas earned an annual mean income of $88,600 in 2019.

Obtaining Employment

Most states need you to work for a certified detective before you can become one. Private investigators will occasionally recruit assistants to help them with some of their obligations while they learn the profession. Although most private detective organizations will teach you how to do the job, having a college degree with some coursework in criminology, law, or police science may be advantageous. Depending on your state’s legislation, other sorts of investigative work, such as insurance fraud investigation, may also count as relevant work experience when seeking for a PI license.

In Conclusion,

Your ideal cop detective job will not materialize immediately, but you probably did not expect it to. Detectives have an extremely important role in society. They must be well-trained and capable of solving crimes. You’re a little closer to solving some of those crimes now that you know how to become a detective cop or police officer.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the role of the detective?

A detective conducts interviews, examines records, keeps track of suspects, and assists with raids and arrests. Detectives usually look into serious crimes like assaults, robberies, and homicides.

How many years does it take to be a detective?

As a trainee detective constable, you will be on probation for two years and will receive 20 weeks of training. You will be equipped with information and expertise relevant to the detective position as well as that of a police constable.

What subjects are needed to become a detective?

Criminal justice, criminal law, criminology, human relations, and judicial tasks are all possible topics. Other disciplines include forensic science, political science, and criminal process.

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