6 Different Types of Detectives (and What They Do)

Detectives, also known as investigators, are plainclothes law enforcement officers who collect facts and collect evidence for criminal cases.

Primarily, detectives are looking to solve particular types of crime, such as: robberies, car thefts, cyber crime, fraud and homicides.

On the other hand, several detectives are asked to inter-agency task forces to contest the crime. They perform interviews, inspect records, monitor the activities of the suspects, and play a part in raids or arrests.

Detectives are assigned cases on a rotating basis and work on them until an arrest and conviction is completed or until the case is dropped. The detectives in State and in the Federal levels frequently focus in investigating one type of violation, which is homicide or fraud.

In general, detectives must have experience working as law enforcement officers in some other capability, before being promoted to detective. Once promoted, detectives may work in a number of capacities; it usually depends on the requirements of the particular police force.

For example, if a police department has a large number unsolved lost persons cases, a detective may begin out on a cold case group. Almost all detectives have to successfully complete the educational and training requirements of a police officer first.

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Types of Detectives

1. Cyber Crimes Detectives

Cyber crimes detectives investigate crimes dedicated using the Internet, or computer-based crimes. A cyber crimes detective may observe the chat rooms to avoid crimes against children, or carry out investigations based on information obtained about identity theft, Internet-based scams, and intellectual property infringement.

Cyber crimes detectives may be necessary to take courses in computer investigation and computer processes. Local police departments and the Federal Bureau of Investigations employ cyber crimes detectives.

Cybercrime training offer investigators with a fully understanding of the complicated situations facing law enforcement and provides them with the new information about tools presented to police and forensic investigators.

Training programs therefore often include the topics such as: Basic evidence recovery, Cybercrime response, Storage forensics, E-commerce crimes, Basic forensic analysis of computers involved in investigations, and lastly Hacker behavior

2. Homicide Detectives

Homicide detectives perform investigations on the cases where someone has died and foul play is alleged. These detectives may possibly work in pairs, or with the some other homicide detectives, but it’s frequent for one detective to be given crucial responsibility for managing a particular investigation.

Homicide detectives normally investigate crime scenes and perform interviews with the witnesses, friends and family members. Job tasks also include in working with the local prosecutors and proffering court testimony.

3. Narcotics Detectives

Narcotics detectives work in the local, state and lastly, in the federal level. These detectives perform the undercover operations and investigate the sale and purchase of the illegal narcotics.

Narcotics detectives may also look into the cases concerning drug-related offenses to verify for connections to suspected drug dealers. Other job tasks consist of infiltrating drug trafficking groups and providing testimony regarding undercover investigations and witnessed drug purchases.

Several agencies join the narcotics and criminal investigation into one division. Narcotics officers might prefer to work in smaller communities, or they might pursue a broader federal job, for example a position with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).


Narcotics officers require having physical stamina to perform investigations. They also must be flexible regarding their work hours, and shift work may be needed. Furthermore, all police officers must show integrity and determination to complete their work acceptably.

4. Cold Case Detectives

Cold case detectives may be new detectives or former homicide detectives who work cold cases on a volunteer or part-time basis. These detectives may work in the local, state and lastly, in the federal level investigating the cases that involves lost or missing children and adults, or unsolved homicides.

Cold case detectives may work alone, or with numerous other detectives if the case is considered high-profile. Cold case detectives must review the original case files, including the initial statements.

They also task to interview any detectives who were first assigned the case, along with friends, associates, co-workers and family members of the missing or deceased individual.

Cold case detectives study varying elements from crime scenes to build up theories relating to how and why definite crimes were committed. New and rising forensic technologies, for example DNA analysis, have improved the effectiveness of cold case detectives in solving serious crimes, several of which remained unsolved for 20 years or more.

Becoming a cold case detective requires a minimum of a high school diploma; though, a lot of police departments and government agencies choose a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and other related to it.

5. Private Detectives

Private Detective are also called private investigators (PIs) once they finish working for their respective agencies. Private investigators are typically contracted to solve the personal matters, such as, unsolved murder or missing person cases, infidelity, insurance fraud, and other.

Private investigation is different in extent from typical detective job, and therefore, shouldn’t be assumed to mean the similar thing. They are also known as a person who can be hired by individuals or groups to take on investigatory law services.

They often work for attorneys in civil cases. Here are the services that you can expect to get from them: wrongful death, child support, missing persons, cheating spouse infidelity, forensics, faking death, corporate, identity theft, fraud and lastly bounty hunter.

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6. Missing Person Detectives

Missing person detectives are licensed private investigators or sworn law enforcement officers who utilize standard police methods and expert training to look for and locate people who have disappeared.

Investigators may deal with a variety of cases, such as runaway children, child abduction, unidentified persons, potential or actual victims of kidnapping or other violent crimes, and persons with mental disabilities who have become missing.

Missing person detectives use the digital and physical surveillance system, specialized database software, and their interpersonal skills to solve cases.

These are the detectives that strive to find people who have been gone or lost. A lot of times, people who have only been missing for a short period of time have a higher rate of being found than those who have been missing for a long time.


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