A homicide detective is the person who is responsible for the investigation of murders. They work with forensic analysts, police officers and coroners solve a murder case. They play a significant role in the police work force as they oversee and solve murders, and at the same time, give justice and comfort to the families left behind by the victim by tracking the murderer responsible for the crime.
Important Factors To Consider
Here are a few things you have to know if you want to become a homicide detective:
1. Complete the required homicide detective educational requirements
An individual interested to be a homicide detective must complete a bachelor’s degree in a related field before working in police departments. Aspiring homicide detectives can take up college courses like police science, criminal justice, forensic science or administration of justice.
2. Become a police officer
Prior to working as a homicide detective, you must first start as a police officer and complete the training at the police academy. You will undergo training on fundamental skills like self defense, traffic control, firearms usage, first aid, and emergency response techniques. There is also training on civil rights and state and federal laws.
Usually homicide detectives spend some years patrolling the streets as a police officer to learn more about crime scenes before being promoted to a detective position.
3. Get promoted as a detective
Once you gain the necessary amount of experience and training, you can get promoted as a detective. Some police departments may require police officers to pass an exam to get promoted while some based the promotion on the job performance and seniority.
4. Continuous Training
Homicide detectives need to improve continuously to get better on their careers. Ongoing trainings will sharpen law enforcement skills. They may have to attend seminars, workshops and classes offered by law enforcement agencies or from third party companies. Homicide detectives may need to pass more certifications to get a better salary or promotion on the job.
5. Characteristics of a homicide detective
Excellent homicide detectives are known for their good judgment, honesty, sense of responsibility and integrity. These traits are very important for as they work on analyzing murder scenes, interviewing suspects and witnesses and examining forensic evidences. They must be critical thinkers and open minded to accept all sorts of possibilities in a crime scenario.
For sure, this job is not for everybody. Someone needs to have a tremendous tolerance in seeing gore and blood at the crime scene. Before someone commits to this job, they need to be able to do the job physically, mentally and emotionally.
They are also expected to be able to handle a lot of stress on this job. A job in this field can be very stressful mentally and physically. Some homicide detectives don’t have a fixed schedule and may have to work on odd shifting schedules. Some are always on call depending on the severity of the case being investigated.
- Probing and Investigative skills
Homicide detectives must have a curious mind and see the case from all sides. They must not have a preconceived notion on any investigation and must probe thoroughly to solve the case. They must ask all sorts of questions to everyone possibly involved and ask questions from different points of views.
- Critical thinking skills
Detectives must be quick to think on their feet and come up with different methods to handle a case. Quick critical thinking is valuable in this job to be able to track the suspect as soon as possible.
- Research skills
These days, homicide detectives are expected to be computer savvy as technology now helps a lot in solving cases. The detective must be good in finding clues from different sources which can be archived articles from magazines and newspapers. Sometimes they may now find clues from social networking sites.
Employment opportunities continue to grow for homicide detectives, according to data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The employment rate is expected to rise by 8% from 2010 to 2020. There are approximately 794,400 jobs available for homicide detectives back in 2010.
The average annual salary for homicide detectives is around $56,030 based on data from BLS on May 2010. This translates to roughly $26.50 per hour.
If you are passionate about solving problems and would like to live as a real life CSI agent, then becoming a homicide detective will be the best career for you to take.