Career Story: Town Police Detective

Town Police Detective

Job Title: Police Officer

Type of Company: I work for the police force in a suburb of Boston.

Education: BA, Criminal Justice, Westfield State College

Previous Experience: I worked for the Bolton Police Department and a couple a security companies.

Job Tasks: I work as a detective for the local police department in a town of 22,000. As a detective, I am involved in a variety of investigations. Some of the investigations consist of follow up work that the patrol division does not have time to handle. Other investigations are much more complex and time-consuming.

Most of my focus is on crimes involving identity theft and other money-related and computer-related crimes. All involve computer forensics, subpoenas, and tedious paper trails.

Recently, I have started to focus more on sexual crimes. These investigations require for extreme discretion, even within the police department, in order to protect the victims. Investigation of this nature involve the need take action against the perpetrator and a responsibility to care for and aid the victims

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: As a detective you get to spend much more time with the victims of crimes, thus establishing a relationship with people that is not common to the patrol division. The best part of the job is having an investigation that has a favorable solution to the victim. Pleasing the victim can mean many different things for each individual. For some, their only goal is seeing the perpetrator go to court and others merely want the return of there lost property and do not care about criminal prosecution.

The worst part of the job is learning to deal with the fact that the majority of investigations will not lead to a successful conclusion. For a variety of reasons, many of the crimes reports have a low solvability rate. It is difficult for people to understand that while their incident is the most important incident in their lives, it is just one of the many investigations that I may be working on at a time. If an investigation looks like its dead-end, I can not dedicate as much time to that crime as I would to others.

The other worst part of the job is dealing with a computer and credit card investigation because the courts and laws have not caught up to the times that we live in. Many of the laws and requirements to advance investigations are simply not available because the laws do not adequately address the crimes involved.

Job Tips:
1.) Keep your nose clean. Crimes or indiscretions you committed when your "young" can come back to haunt you later on when you're the focus of a background investigation. The competition for criminal justice jobs is high, and an indiscretion in the past may disqualify you.

2.) Build a reputation. Be an upstanding member of the community. People around town take an interest in who is applying for the local police department. Members of the community don't necessarily have an opinion on who's applying for a local accounting job, but rest assured that everybody has an opinion of the latest police hire.

3.) Go to college. At this point, you'd have next to no chance of getting into a police department without a solid college education. Even with a good education, civilians will be "behind" any veteran on a civil service list. Every year, the number of veterans attempting to get police jobs increases.

Additional Thoughts: Working for a police department is a good job but not for a everyone. The job has long and odd hours. It can be difficult on a social life and married life. The salary for your job will always remain fairly steady: you will not feel the benefits of a great economy but you will not feel the pinch of the recession either.

The job can be very exciting for moments at a time. Other times it can be extremely tedious. Your presence in uniform will always evoke an emotional response, some good and some not so good. Most people will always have preconceived opinions of the police department.

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