How to Become a Homicide Detective

A homicide detective is the person right in the thick of a murder investigation. He or she works in tandem with police officers, coroners and forensic specialists. In most cases, detectives begin as patrol officers and work their way up through the police force. For anyone considering how to become a homicide detective, there are a number of things to consider.

Steps

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    Complete the necessary basic homicide detective education requirements. In most police departments, homicide detectives are required to have at least a bachelor's degree. Fields of study that lend themselves well to this field are criminal justice, police science and administration of justice. Perhaps the most important element of academy training is coursework focused on teaching the prospective detective how to question and subdue suspects.
    • Before you can work as a homicide detective or any other type of police officer, you must complete training at a police academy or other similar institution. Here, you will learn such basic skills as traffic control, use of firearms, self-defense, first aid and emergency response. You will also likely be trained in such disciplines as constitutional law and civil rights.
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    Take an honest self-inventory and decide if this is the right field for you.
    • Those who do well in this field possess characteristics such as honesty, good judgment, integrity and a sense of responsibility. These characteristics are crucial considering a homicide detective analyzes crime scenes, examines forensic evidence, interviews witnesses and suspects and conducts interrogations. They carry weapons because they frequently encounter violent criminals.
    • Additionally, you must remember that the best a homicide detective can hope for is seeing justice served. Homicide detectives are subjected to gory crime scenes. This is not a field for everyone. Before you put the time and effort into training, you need to be sure you will be able to handle the job emotionally, mentally and physically.
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    Become computer savvy if you are not already.
    • Information pertinent to cases can be found in a multitude of places online. Become familiar with databases that contain details about crimes and criminals. Know where to look for archived newspaper and magazine articles. Become well-versed in how to navigate social networking sites; more than one arrest has been made because a criminal posted clues online without realizing he or she was doing so.

Tips

  • Competition for jobs in any field is fierce in a tight job market, and police work is no exception. If you're just starting out, consider going for a bachelor's degree right away instead of stopping at an associate's degree. If you're already working in the field, consider taking online classes to reinforce your resume and qualifications.

Warnings

  • Don't expect a career in homicide investigation to resemble what you see on television. Some investigations take months or years; some are never solved at all. In any case, the work on homicide investigations can be painstaking and even tedious. There are many regulations that must adhered to as well.

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Categories: Careers in Government