Five Categories of Investigators

If you enjoy applying your analytical thinking and problem-solving skills, you might want to think about a career as a detective. When you enter this section, you have access to various specialties. Knowing exactly what is expected of you in each specialism can help you decide on your next course of action.

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This article answers frequently asked questions about salary, job prospects, and qualifications for this field of work. It also defines what a detective performs and lists 10 various types of detectives.

What is the job of a detective?

A detective, sometimes known as an investigator, is usually employed by a law enforcement agency, where they gather information and evidence to handle a variety of criminal cases. Using this evidence, they attempt to determine the chronology of events leading up to, during, and following a crime as well as to identify the perpetrator. Until the court removes charges, the police make an arrest, or the trial is complete, detectives frequently concentrate on a single case. They usually focus on a certain type of crime.

Even though the specific duties assigned to a detective vary depending on their field of expertise and the organization they work for, they may have certain similar requirements. A detective’s primary duties may include:

gathering data and concrete evidence at a crime scene to help solve a case

creating and examining formal reports

monitoring the activities of alleged offenders

carrying out inquiries and capturing suspects

using departmental assets to a criminal probe

interrogating witnesses, informants, and suspects in order to get timeframes, alibis, leads, potential suspects, and missing information

interrogating suspects to get additional details for a case or to identify the perpetrator

presenting testimony in court by acting as a witness or by explaining the evidence

Five types of detectives

While gathering evidence to support a criminal investigation is the goal of most detectives, each expert will have distinct duties. Understanding the differences between these detectives might help you choose a career path that fits your goals, interests, and talents. Think about the 10 types of detectives listed below:

1. Homicide detective

Homicide detectives investigate deaths and apprehend persons who are believed to be at fault. They might investigate crime scenes, talk to witnesses, chat with victims, do walkthroughs, take images and videos of the location, and gather evidence to help solve a case. Homicide investigators may also collaborate with other detectives and their criminal science investigation units to exchange information, put together the case’s events, and identify a suspect.

2. An investigator for the police

Police detectives, sometimes known as criminal investigators, investigate murders, robberies, arson, and property crimes. A police investigator may choose to specialize in one of these specific types of crimes. Typical duties for a police detective include the following:

putting together evidence

following up on leads

interviewing witnesses and victims

Making reports

Interrogating potential suspects

Making arrests

carrying out warrants

testifying in court

3. A detective with forensic training

Forensic detectives, also known as forensic investigators, use their knowledge of biology, physics, and chemistry to analyze and assess evidence from crime scenes. By determining the time and manner of the incident, they aid in the investigation of crimes. Using a variety of scientific methods, forensic investigators collect physical evidence from crime scenes and assess samples and evidence. They might also offer in-depth studies and reference actual facts to support the specifics of the crime. Forensic investigators may testify before a court and jury, and they may also submit their findings.

4. A computer crime investigator

An investigator of computer crimes uses computers and computer networks to dig into crimes. They are frequently called “computer crime investigators” or “computer forensic investigators.” They support the resolution of cybercrime-related problems, such as copyright violations and computer hacking. Certain investigators of computer crimes are not only trained to assist in the retrieval of computer data for use as evidence, but they may also provide testimony in court. A computer crime investigator’s other duties include checking software for bugs, evaluating computers, obtaining information about computers, decrypting encrypted files, and optimizing system efficiency.

5. Investigators of narcotics

Drugs detectives delve into the illegal sale and purchase of drugs by working on investigations concerning drug-related offenses at the local, state, and federal levels. Their mission is to track down, destroy, and capture the operators of illicit drug businesses. Sometimes, in an attempt to apprehend suspects, drug investigators may go undercover to get insight into the inner workings of these organizations and gather information without revealing their true identities as law enforcement officers.