How To Become A Homicide Detective
Homicide detectives fulfill some of the most critical roles in law enforcement. Tasked with investigating the circumstances that lead to and result in the loss of life, these highly skilled, well-trained professionals understand human behavior. Homicide detectives attempt to solve the worst crimes with logic, reason, organization, efficiency, and high ethical standards.
Police officers who aspire to become homicide detectives can work toward their goal by following a few key steps. These include pursuing a bachelors degree in criminal justice, completing required police training, and gaining an understanding of the job through actual casework experience, such as in an officer role that works for the homicide division in a different capacity. The promotion from police officer to detective may also bring opportunities to earn a higher salary and set out on a path to further advancement.
Municipal Police Force Salaries & Benefits
In comparison to the federal police force, the municipal police agencies offer slightly higher salaries.
The Calgary Police Service offers a starting salary of approximately $66,000/year.
The Vancouver Police Department offers new hires $70,154/year with an incremental increase to $90,198 after 3 years. Benefits include paid vacation, medical and dental benefits and a BC Municipal Pension Plan membership.
The Toronto Police Service has a starting salary of $63,564.98 for their cadets. After year 3, police officers receive an annual salary of $90,836. Benefits include paid vacation, family medical and dental benefits, life insurance, pension plan, parental/maternity leave and more.
Considering that the median income for individual Canadians was $36,400 in 2018, according to Statistics Canada, the starting salary for a Canadian police officer is an attractive one.
When deciding between the federal or municipal level, keep in mind that while the RCMP might have a lower salary, the role involves police duties at the international, federal, provincial and municipal levels with a much wider variety in operational and administrative opportunities.Some specializations that are unique to the RCMP are: Integrated Border Enforcement Team, National Security, Marine Services, International Peace Operations and many, many more.
Ready To Start Working Your Way To A Police Detective Badge
Your dream police detective career wont happen overnight, but you likely didnt expect it to. Detectives do some seriously crucial work in society. They need to be well trained and good at solving crimes. Now that you know how to become a police detective, youre a little closer to cracking some of those cases yourself!
You know whatll be expected of you, you understand youll need extra training and youre ready to wait until a department needs your skills as a detective. If youre ready to tackle the first step toward becoming a police detectiveeducation, then learn more about Rasmussen Colleges Criminal Justice degree programs and how they can help make you a more well-rounded candidate for law enforcement positions.
*Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, . EDITORS NOTE: This article was originally published in 2015. It has since been updated. Insights from Carlin remain from the original article.
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Detective Skills & Competencies
To be successful in this role, youll generally need the following skills and qualities:
- Analytical skills: Detectives piece together individual bits of physical and testimonial evidence to recreate how and why crimes happened.
- Communication skills: Detectives must draw information out of interviewees when many times the interviewees do not want to be cooperative.
- Interpersonal skills: Detectives need to gather as much information as possible from witnesses, victims, and suspects.
- Physical and mental stamina: Detectives need to be alert and ready to take action whenever they’re workingeven through long shifts on their feet.
What Is The Workplace Of A Detective Like
Detectives that specialize in background checks spend most of their time at a desk, cross referencing information, and using computer databases. Surveillance specialists spend most of their days in a vehicle observing a subject and writing reports. The work schedule is rarely traditional, though there are corporate positions offering a mostly 9-5 workday.
Detectives may be called out for emergency cases, security issues or surveillance projects at any time of the day or night. Even investigators employed by the local or federal police force are on call for emergencies. Federally employed investigators also may be asked to travel on very limited notice.
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Making A Name For Yourself
If, after becoming a police officer, your goal is to make detective, you want to spend your time on patrol making a name for yourself. Just like any other job, your work history matters here. While on patrol, you can develop a reputation as a hard worker, an independent problem solver, and a good investigator by properly, promptly and accurately handling those cases you’ll have the ability and resources to take care of on your own.
Your work product, and specifically your report writing skills, will become very important. Investigative reports are lengthy and extensive, and writing reports is a major part of a police detective’s job. If you don’t write well, take some report writing classes or a college-level English course to hone your skills.
Use the time you spend as a patrol officer to learn the ins and outs of police work, and take the opportunity to spend time with detectives to learn more about what they do and what kind of officers they’re looking for to add to their ranks. It will help better prepare you for the next step in your career.
Do You Have To Be A Police Officer Before You Become A Detective
The only way to become a police detective is to work as a police officer, pass a test, and earn promotion to detective through the department. If you want to pursue a career as a detective without going through the police academy and working as an officer first, you can become a private investigator, or PI.
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Become A Police Officer
This is no small stepbecoming a police officer means youll need to meet several requirements for employment, such as being at least 21 years old, having a drivers license and being physically fit, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.* Many states will require that you complete some form of police training academy.
Typical Steps To Becoming A Homicide Detective
The following steps outline the typical academic and professional path to becoming a homicide detective. Before entering the force, police academy training has to be completed, then officers apply what theyve learned to valuable on-the-job training. After gaining several years of related experience as a police officer, a candidate may apply to be promoted to the role of a homicide detective. In addition, a bachelors degree in criminal justice can be helpful when officers want to advance to higher positions, such as a homicide detective.
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Should I Become A Police Officer
A career in law enforcement can seem exciting, rewarding and fun. It’s true that there are many good reasons to become a police officer, but before you take the leap and decide on this as a career, there are a few things you probably should know.
The Hiring Process– Long gone are the days of getting hired on the spot. You’re not going to walk into your local police station, hand in a job application, and be patrolling the streets the next day. The hiring process is now often quite long, taking four to twelve months or even longer.
Background Checks– Background checks for police employment are very detailed and thorough. Typically, they include a criminal history check, a credit check, and a look at your previous employment. Questions will also be asked about any past drug use. There may also be a polygraph exam, a medical physical exam, and a fitness test. All of this is just to see if the department should consider giving you an interview.
Academy Training– Training to be a police officer is hard. Some will succeed academically, but find the physical fitness gruelling. Some will be physically strong but have trouble passing the academic qualifications. Candidates will have to qualify with a firearm, or demonstrate proficiency in defensive tactics, first aid, and driving. Many recruits and cadets wash out of their academy classes due to injuries sustained during training.
Can You Earn A Degree In Criminal Justice Online
Yes, you can. You dont have to study in person to earn a degree in criminal justice or a related degree. In fact, many of the best bachelors programs in criminal justice offer flexible online schedules and even part-time enrollment. This allows you to earn your degree while you work, raise a family, or tackle other important endeavors.
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What Education Certification Or License Is Required To Be A Police Officer
You will need a minimum of a high school diploma, or an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in criminal justice depending on local requirements and successful completion of a police academy program. Police officers must have CPR and first aid certification and be skilled in the use and care of firearms. A driver’s license is required, and in some cases, a special motorcycle license will be required.
How Many Years Does It Take To Be A Detective
The term detective and investigator have been used interchangeably. The detectors are usually employed by federal, state or local law enforcement agencies. The job of a detective is very different in nature as compared to other jobs of criminal justice. The detectives are often called on the crime scenes to examine the crime scene and collect useful evidence from it.
Apart from this, a detective has to keep an eye on the suspects and monitor their activities in order to collect information about them. In other terms, surveillance of a person is the duty of a detective. Being a detective, you would also be called for interviewing the suspects, conducting raids and examine records involved in a particular case.
Although this profession has higher risks of injury and encounter with the criminals, the reward for serving the society for serving to eliminate the crime from it is higher. The detectives are expected to work in full shift with paid overtimes. The weekends of the detectives are also sometimes occupied, especially if you are on lower ranks or you have just joined a law enforcement agency.
Have you ever been in a situation where you are thinking very differently from your friends by being more suspicious about any incident? Or have you fantasized of becoming those detective characters that you had seen in the serials? If that is the case, the job of a detective is ideal for you as you have to the ability to think out of the box in most of the situations.
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Develop Skills And Fitness
The most useful skill for a detective is the ability to pay attention to every single detail. Being a detective, you will come across many occasions where you will be required to analyze a crime scene with minor details. This demands the detective to have keen observational skills and the ability to pay attention to every single detail.
Secondly, physical health is a must for every detective because of the unpredictability of the nature of the job. For example, while doing surveillance, you might come across a situation where you will have to use force for your survival. Therefore, sound physical health is a must for every detective. If you are planning to become a detective, you are advised to start working on your physical health.
How Do You Become A Police Officer In Toronto
To join the Toronto Police Service as a police constable, they outline the following steps:
Please be advised that the process for becoming a Police Constable is competitive and as such, an applicant may be declined at any stage of the process. If you have any questions regarding the above information, please contact a member of the TPS Recruiting Section.
For those interested in the hiring requirements for other local police services within Ontario, as well as for the Ontario Provincial Police , hiring requirements may be different than those outlined above. See the hiring requirements for the OPP here.
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What Does A Detective Do
There are two basic types of detectives public and private. Solving puzzles is an important part of the job, regardless of the application.
Private detectives – are often former police officers, spies, military personnel, bodyguards, and security guards. While many private detectives investigate criminal matters, they are limited to the powers of citizen’s arrest and detention, as they do not have police authority.
Public Detectives – investigate activities related to criminal acts and suspected criminal activity. They fall under the category of public because their salaries come from taxes and government funding.
The applications for investigative skills span all industries. Corporations use detectives to perform background checks, while consumers hire detectives to follow a suspected cheater or look up references on a nanny. Law enforcement detectives solve crimes after the fact, and work to prevent the commission of crimes.
Many private detective firms also offer security solutions. Assessing the security measures in place to protect a building or adding technical security for a network can fall under a contract with the right detective agency.
Detectives sometimes fill in a gap that is outside of the mandate of the the public police force. Some of the most common tasks performed by private investigators include:
What Do You Need To Become A Police Constable In Toronto
Officer candidates follow a detailed application and training process to become police constables with TPS. Once hired, new recruits attend the Ontario Police College for Basic Constable Training. You need to meet the following minimum requirements to become a Police Constable in Toronto:
- Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada,
- Be at least 18 years of age,
- Be physically and mentally able to perform the duties of the position, having regard to your own safety and the safety of members of the public,
- Have successfully completed at least four years of secondary school education or its equivalent. . Where education has been completed outside Ontario, official proof of equivalency must be obtained,
- Be of good moral character and habits, meaning that you are an individual other people would look upon as being trustworthy and having integrity.
In addition, you must:
- Have no criminal convictions for which a pardon has not been granted,
- Possess a valid driver’s license with no more than six accumulated demerit points, permitting you to drive an automobile in Ontario with full driving privileges,
- Have current certification in CPR and first aid by the time the offer of employment is given,
- Possess a valid O.A.C.P. certificate,
- Have a minimum of 20/40 vision, with normal colour acuity,
- Successfully pass the hearing standards as outlined by the O.A.C.P.,
- Be able to pass a security clearance as well as a background investigation, credit and reference checks.
What Do Police Look For In A Background Check
The background exam is a very thorough investigation of the applicants past. It is common for the hiring parties to speak to colleagues, family members, neighbours, landlords, as well as present and past employers. This helps to determine whether you have a track record of high ethical standards in all areas of your life. You will be required to provide your criminal record, driving record, credit history, and history of alcohol and drug use. Additionally, you will need to pass a polygraph exam that shows whether you have been dishonest or deceitful in answering any of the questions throughout the application process.
When applying to police agencies, you will be disqualified if*:
- You have matters pending at a criminal court
- You participated in any indictable offenses. These offenses are the mostserious of criminal activities, which include murder, sexual assault, and terrorist activities.
- You have a criminal conviction that has not been pardone.
- You participated in less serious criminal behaviour or activity within one year of applying. These activities are referred to as summary conviction offenses under the Criminal Code. They include illicit drug use, theft, and impaired driving.
- You have been dishonourably discharged or dismissed from any other law enforcement organization
- You have a pending or current personal bankruptcy
Get A Bachelor’s Degree In Criminal Justice
The educational requirements for a detective vary state by state, but in most cases, some college is required. If you want to position yourself as a prime candidate for a detective position within the police force, you should start by studying criminal justice in college and learning the ins and outs of the legal system. This way, when it comes time to seek promotion you don’t need to seek additional certification or education. However, departmental certification could be a requirement later down the line.
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Successfully Pass A Background Check
You can expect any law enforcement agency youre applying for to conduct a number of checks into your background, including criminal history and even credit history. While this isnt literally the first step to becoming a police officer, it is the first one youll need to consider before you get too invested in the process. If you have concerns about how your background might impact your candidacy, you may want to consult a police academy admissions representative about it.
Your credit history may be analyzed because it gives potential employers an idea of your level of responsibility and potential problems like gambling-related debts. Police departments look into applicants history of criminal activity, employment, residency and academic records as well.
Basically, the police department is going to get deep into your business, says Adam Plantinga, and 17-year veteran sergeant with the San Francisco Police Department. Dont leave anything out on your background packet. If you omit something, even inadvertently, and it comes to light, you will likely be eliminated as a candidate. Departments are looking for responsible people who play by the rules.
Things like felonies and gross misdemeanors could disqualify you from becoming a police officer, but less serious offenses could also be problematicit really depends on the department and its policies.