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Steps to Becoming a Police Detective

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This topic contains 1 reply, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  joe_r82 7 years, 3 months ago.

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  • #1342 Reply

    Maru Quevedo

    My cousin wants more than anything else in the whole world right now to become a police detective in a few years. I do not really know much about the process, but am extremely curious.

    I guess I understand that you first must become a regular police officer, however I am not even sure how one goes about doing that. And even after you are an officer, what happens next? I mean do you need to pass a test, or is there a nomination process? Maybe it is something such that when a new position as a detective becomes available you need to apply and then interview for the job, with each officer competing on their own career record and merits. If there are any current police detectives out there, or even uniformed officers, it would be great if you could respond to this question.

    I just want a bit of insight so that together my cousin and I can have a clearer picture about how to go about all of this and he can decide if he really has the desire and commitment to go through it all once he understands all of the steps involved. Any help received will be most appreciated. Thanks to all who reply.

  • #1343 Reply


    You are basically right about the steps to becoming a police detective. To my knowledge, there is no department in the country that hires detectives directly from civilians. In other words, you must first become a police officer. Sometimes, departments will look to other police units in different cities or states to fill detective positions (but usually only if they are specialized detective positions), but generally this is a promotion from within type of situation.

    So, the first step is becoming a uniformed officer. Your son will need to be at least 21 in order for this. College degrees are not necessary, although it is highly recommended that he have one. Studying criminology or a related discipline in college would be the best thing to do to secure a future detective position. After college, simply apply to the department of his choice. There will be an intensive hiring process, involving a thorough background check and psychological testing and physical testing. So, make sure that during the teenage and college years he keeps his nose clean and generally stays out of trouble.

    Once accepted into the force, he will likely be assigned a patrol. The major key now is for him to excel at his job. It would even be very helpful if he developed a specialty or area of interest. Perhaps this could be something like accidents or narcotics. Spending time around current detectives will also help.

    Eventually, if he has developed enough of a good reputation within the department, he may be asked to apply for an opening in as a detective. If not, after a few years, he can ask for a transfer to the detective unit and obtain a letter of recommendation from his commanding officer.

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