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Career Story: City Police Detective

City Police Detective

Job Title: Police Detective

Type of Company: The city of Boston police force.

Education: MA, Criminal Justice, Curry College (Milton, MA)

Previous Experience: I have been employed by the Police Department since graduating from high school.

Job Tasks: My primary responsibility as a detective is to attempt to solve the crimes that are assigned to me. I work in a busy police station with twelve other detectives and two supervisors. When a crime is committed and no one is arrested by the patrol force, the cases are forwarded to the Detective Division. I take a case and investigate it to the best of my ability. In some instances, I have visited the crime scenes and already have a little bit of a head start in the investigation. In other instances, I was either off or handling other duties and need to start from scratch.

I investigate all crimes ranging from simple larceny to stabbings and shootings. The most delicate part of my job is my duties at a crime scene. With today's technology, you must be extremely careful not to disturb something that could be instrumental in solving the case. Crime scenes have to be secured so they're not contaminated. The collection of evidence -- hair, blood and clothing fibers especially -- is critically important and they then have to be forwarded to the proper agency or crime lab for processing. With all of the investigative tools available to me, there are lots of ways to attempt to identify a suspect.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best parts of my job far outweigh the worst parts. My job is extremely interesting and, at times, dangerous and this causes me to always be aware of my surroundings. You always have to be on the lookout and never let yourself get complacent. The job of a police officer keeps your mind and body young and it is really a lot of fun. Every day is different when you are a police officer and the hum-drum that other job holders experience is rare.

Job Tips: Take advantage of any forensics courses that are available in school and try to become proficient in a foreign language. A constant radio broadcast on police radio channels trumpets the availability of police interpreters for all different types of languages. The presence of police officers who understand and speak other languages besides English is so beneficial to the daily operation of a police department that it is hard to tout it too highly. The forensic courses will teach you how a crime scene is processed and how the evidence gathered can contribute to solving crimes.

Another tip that I would give is to treat others as you would want to be treated. Try to imagine yourself in the shoes of the victim or in the shoes of a person stopping to ask directions; always be courteous and helpful.

Additional Thoughts: The thing that has surprised me the most about being a police officer is the amount of satisfaction that can be gained by simply helping someone while in uniform. A misconception that many people have about the job is that police officers eat a lot of bad food, i.e: doughnuts. When I first became a police officer twenty-two years ago, this may have been true, but now most officers are like everyone else in society today and are trying to get and stay in the best shape possible.

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