A detective is a police officer, whose duty is to detect criminals, by in-depth investigation of cases. When attempting to solve a crime, detectives conduct a criminal investigation that seeks all the facts about a crime to help determine the truth: what happened and who is responsible. This involves making a preliminary and final investigation. A detective’s task is to gather, organize, and use information about social behavior. To effectively complete that task a detective should possess certain characteristics: intellectual, psychological, and physical. Studies were conducted on the importance and efficiency of the criminal investigation system, and on the need to integrate written policies, and rules.
Detectives have many different functions. All help them attain the ultimate purpose of detective work, which is to recognize, gather, and organize information for case disposition. Detectives provide emergency assistance, conduct raids, surveillance works, stakeouts, conduct undercover assignments, as well as testify in court. In order to more effectively investigate a case, a detective must possess certain personal characteristics. Detectives should have intellectual qualities, but great intelligence is not needed. Effective investigators obtain and retain information, apply technical knowledge, remain open-minded and objective, and use logic when attempting to solve a case. All decisions pertaining to a case should be based on facts and not be opinion based, but the results of an investigation should not be based on only one fact. Detectives rely on skills acquired by experience, study, and observation. The job requires highly-developed skills, perhaps innate abilities to collect and evaluate case facts.
The decision making required by investigations can be very stressful. Thus, it is important to also possess certain psychological characteristics. It is important that detectives not become personally involved in the cases they investigate. Personal involvement hinders an investigation, and poses a threat to the emotional well-being of the investigator, causing him or her undue stress. A detective must therefore be emotionally well balanced, and have the ability to remain detached, and discerning. In addition, a detective must possess other psychological characteristics such as inquisitiveness, suspicion, humbleness, self discipline, and perseverance. Detectives must not accept anything at face value, but question everything they hear and see. People may lie or tell half-truths, but this does not mean that they are necessarily criminals. Detectives must stick with a case for as long as they think reasonable, so self discipline is linked with the willingness to persevere.
Detectives must also have strong physical characteristics. They do not have to be a certain height, or weight, or age, but it is important to be a healthy, physically fit individual with adequate vision, and hearing abilities. Good health, and a high energy level are important and beneficial because detective work involves long and demanding hours.
The responsibility to solve crimes belongs to the entire police force. An investigation is a coordinated departmental effort. An investigation relies on the assistance of other individuals and agencies, as well as major assistance coming from the public in obtaining information. A patrol officer is first on the scene of a crime, so detectives become dependent on the prior work of the patrol officer in their preliminary investigation. Patrol officers make an initial decision concerning whether an incident has sufficient grounds to report it.
An investigation of a case can be divided into five parts or steps, and has certain goals to be accomplished. A detective must first establish a case. This entails determining whether a crime has been committed. The detective then has to identify a suspect or suspects. The investigator must legally obtain information and...
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