Police Detectives
SOC: 33-3021.01


Conduct investigations to prevent crimes or solve criminal cases.

National Salary Information:

Hourly Statistics:

Annual Statistics:

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 wage data.

Employment Projections:

Employment (2014):
116,700 employed

Projected (2024):
115,300 employed

Projected growth (2014-2024)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 2014-2024 employment projections external site. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2014-2024). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.

Alternate Titles:

  • Agent
  • Alcohol Law Enforcement Agent
  • Burglary Investigator
  • City Detective
  • Crime Scene Investigator
  • Criminal Investigations Division Investigator
  • Criminal Investigator
  • Deputy Sheriff
  • Detective
  • Detective Sergeant
  • Detective Supervisor
  • District Sergeant
  • Drug Enforcement Agent
  • Forgery/Fraud Investigator
  • Fugitive Detective
  • Fugitive Investigator
  • Homicide Detective
  • Homicide Investigator
  • Internal Affairs Investigator
  • Investigator
  • Law Enforcement Officer
  • Narcotics and/or Vice Detective
  • Narcotics Detective
  • Narcotics Investigator
  • Police Captain
  • Police Detective
  • Police Investigator
  • Police Officer
  • Sex Crimes Detective
  • Sheriff's Detective
  • Special Agent
  • Station Detective
  • Vice Investigator
  • Vice/Narcotics Detective
  • Victim Witness Administrator

  • Job Zone Three: Medium Preparation Needed


    Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.


    Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.

    Job Training:

    Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.

    Required Skills:

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Active Listening
  • Writing
  • Speaking
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Critical Thinking
  • Active Learning
  • Learning Strategies
  • Monitoring
  • Social Perceptiveness
  • Coordination
  • Persuasion
  • Negotiation
  • Instructing
  • Service Orientation
  • Complex Problem Solving
  • Operations Analysis
  • Technology Design
  • Programming
  • Operation Monitoring
  • Operation and Control
  • Troubleshooting
  • Quality Control Analysis
  • Judgment and Decision Making
  • Systems Analysis
  • Systems Evaluation
  • Time Management
  • Management of Financial Resources
  • Management of Material Resources
  • Management of Personnel Resources

  • Knowledge Used:

  • Administration and Management
  • Clerical
  • Economics and Accounting
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Personnel and Human Resources
  • Production and Processing
  • Computers and Electronics
  • Engineering and Technology
  • Design
  • Building and Construction
  • Mechanical
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Psychology
  • Sociology and Anthropology
  • Geography
  • Medicine and Dentistry
  • Therapy and Counseling
  • Education and Training
  • English Language
  • Foreign Language
  • History and Archeology
  • Philosophy and Theology
  • Public Safety and Security
  • Law and Government
  • Telecommunications
  • Communications and Media
  • Transportation

  • Tasks:

  • Examine crime scenes to obtain clues and evidence, such as loose hairs, fibers, clothing, or weapons.
  • Secure deceased body and obtain evidence from it, preventing bystanders from tampering with it prior to medical examiner's arrival.
  • Obtain evidence from suspects.
  • Provide testimony as a witness in court.
  • Analyze completed police reports to determine what additional information and investigative work is needed.
  • Prepare charges or responses to charges, or information for court cases, according to formalized procedures.
  • Note, mark, and photograph location of objects found, such as footprints, tire tracks, bullets and bloodstains, and take measurements of the scene.
  • Obtain facts or statements from complainants, witnesses, and accused persons and record interviews, using recording device.
  • Obtain summary of incident from officer in charge at crime scene, taking care to avoid disturbing evidence.
  • Examine records and governmental agency files to find identifying data about suspects.
  • Prepare and serve search and arrest warrants.
  • Block or rope off scene and check perimeter to ensure that entire scene is secured.
  • Summon medical help for injured individuals and alert medical personnel to take statements from them.
  • Provide information to lab personnel concerning the source of an item of evidence and tests to be performed.
  • Monitor conditions of victims who are unconscious so that arrangements can be made to take statements if consciousness is regained.
  • Secure persons at scene, keeping witnesses from conversing or leaving the scene before investigators arrive.
  • Preserve, process, and analyze items of evidence obtained from crime scenes and suspects, placing them in proper containers and destroying evidence no longer needed.
  • Record progress of investigation, maintain informational files on suspects, and submit reports to commanding officer or magistrate to authorize warrants.
  • Take photographs from all angles of relevant parts of a crime scene, including entrance and exit routes and streets and intersections.
  • Organize scene search, assigning specific tasks and areas of search to individual officers and obtaining adequate lighting as necessary.
  • 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.
  • Note relevant details upon arrival at scene, such as time of day and weather conditions.
  • Participate or assist in raids and arrests.
  • Videotape scenes where possible, including collection of evidence, examination of victim at scene, and defendants and witnesses.
  • Coordinate with outside agencies and serve on interagency task forces to combat specific types of crime.
  • Maintain surveillance of establishments to obtain identifying information on suspects.
  • Notify command of situation and request assistance.
  • Schedule polygraph tests for consenting parties and record results of test interpretations for presentation with findings.
  • Check victims for signs of life, such as breathing and pulse.
  • Observe and photograph narcotic purchase transactions to compile evidence and protect undercover investigators.

  • Tools & Technology:

  • 35 millimeter cameras
  • Audio recording equipment
  • Automated external defibrillators AED
  • Biohazard suits
  • Blood collection kits
  • Breathalyzers
  • Bulletproof vests
  • Compound light microscopes
  • Crime scene rulers
  • Deoxyribonucleic acid DNA collection kits
  • Desktop computers
  • Digital cameras
  • Digital tape recorders
  • Digital video cameras
  • Distance measuring wheels
  • Drug testing kits
  • Electrostatic dust lifters
  • Filter masks
  • Fingerprint evidence kits
  • First aid kits
  • Footwear protectors
  • Impression casting kits
  • Infrared light sources
  • Laptop computers
  • Laser light sources
  • Metal detectors
  • Metal handcuffs
  • Mobile data computers
  • Pepper spray
  • Personal computers
  • Plastic handcuffs
  • Police patrol cars
  • Police rifles
  • Polygraphs
  • Power generators
  • Protective gloves
  • Radar speed readers
  • Riot helmets
  • Riot shields
  • Road flares
  • Safety goggles
  • Semiautomatic pistols
  • Service revolvers
  • Side-handle batons
  • Suspect fingerprinting equipment
  • Two way radios
  • Ultraviolet UV lights
  • Voice dictation equipment
  • Voice stress analyzers
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop software
  • Computer aided composite drawing software
  • Corel WordPerfect software
  • Crime mapping software
  • DataWorks Plus Digital CrimeScene
  • DeChant Consulting Services iWitness
  • DesignWare 3D EyeWitness
  • Digital Image Management Solutions Crime Scene
  • Eos Systems PhotoModeler
  • Geographic information system GIS software
  • Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System IAFIS
  • Law enforcement information databases
  • Microsoft Access
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Office software
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Publisher
  • Microsoft Visio
  • Microsoft Word
  • National Crime Information Center NCIC database
  • National Integrated Ballistics Information Network NIBIN
  • SmartDraw.com SmartDraw Legal
  • Spreadsheet software
  • The CAD Zone The Crime Zone
  • Trancite Logic Systems ScenePD
  • Visual Statement Vista FX3 CSI
  • Web browser software

  • protective service

    industry stats

    SOC: 33-0000

    Total Employed: 3,351,620

    Average Annual Salary: $44,610