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A detective is an investigator, usually a member of a law enforcement agency. They often collect information to solve crimes by talking to witnesses and informants, collecting physical evidence, or searching records in databases. This leads them to arrest criminals and enable them to be convicted in court.A detective may work for the police or privately.
Informally, and primarily in fiction, a detective is a licensed or unlicensed person who solves crimes, including historical crimes, by examining and evaluating clues and personal records in order to uncover the identity and/or whereabouts of criminals.
In some police departments, a detective position is achieved by passing a written test after a person completes the requirements for being a police officer. In many other police systems, detectives are college graduates who join directly from civilian life without first serving as uniformed officers. Some people[ who? ] argue that detectives do a completely different job and therefore require completely different training, qualifications, qualities and abilities than uniformed officers. The opposing argument is that without previous service as a uniformed patrol officer, a detective cannot have a great enough command of standard police procedures and problems and will find it difficult to work with uniformed colleagues.
Some are private persons, and may be known as private investigators, or as "The Eye That Never Sleeps" – the motto of the Pinkerton Detective Agency or shortened to simply "private eyes".
The detective branch in most large police agencies is organized into several squads or departments, each of which specializes in investigation into a particular type of crime or a particular type of undercover operation, which may include: homicide, robbery, burglary, auto theft, organized crimes, missing persons, juvenile crime, fraud, narcotics, vice, criminal intelligence, aggravated assault/battery, sexual assault, computer crime, domestic violence, surveillance, and arson, among others.
In police departments of the United States, a regular detective typically holds the rank of "Detective". The rank structure of the officers who supervise them (who may or may not be detectives themselves) varies considerably by department. In Commonwealth police forces, detectives have equivalent ranks to uniformed officers but with the word "Detective" prepended to it (e.g. "Detective Constable").
In some countries[ which? ], courts and judicial processes have yet to recognize the practice of private detectives. In Portugal, presented proof loses significance when private detectives collect it.[ clarification needed ] Even under this circumstance, the practice is in demand and ruled by a code of conduct.
Before the 19th century, there were few municipal police departments, though the first had been created in Paris in 1667. As police activities moved from appointees helped by volunteers to professionals, the idea of dedicated detectives did not immediately arise. The first private detective agency was founded in Paris in 1833 by Eugène François Vidocq, who had also headed a police agency in addition to being a criminal himself. Police detective activities were pioneered in England by the Bow Street Runners and later the Metropolitan Police Service in Greater London.The first police detective unit in the United States was formed in 1846 in Boston.
Detectives have a wide variety of techniques available in conducting investigations. However, the majority of cases are solved by the interrogation of suspects and the interviewing of witnesses[ citation needed ], which takes time. Besides interrogations, detectives may rely on a network of informants they have cultivated over the years. Informants often have connections with persons a detective would not be able to approach formally. Evidence collection and preservation can also help in identifying a potential suspect(s).
Criminal investigation: the investigation of criminal activity is conducted by the police. Criminal activity can relate to road use such as speeding, drunk driving, or to matters such as theft, drug distribution, assault, fraud, etc. When the police have concluded their investigation, a decision on whether to charge somebody with a criminal offense will often be made by prosecuting counsel having considered the evidence produced by the police.
In criminal investigations, once a detective has suspects in mind, the next step is to produce evidence that will stand up in a court of law. The best way is to obtain a confession from the suspect; usually, this is done by developing rapport and at times by seeking information in exchange for potential perks available through the attorney's office, such as entering for a lesser sentence in exchange for usable information. In some countries, detectives may lie, mislead and psychologically pressure a suspect into an admission or confession as long as they do this within procedural boundaries and without the threat of violence or promises outside their control. This is not permitted in England and Wales, where the interview of suspects and witnesses is governed by the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984.
Physical forensic evidence in an investigation may provide leads to closing a case. Forensic science (often shortened to forensics) is the application of a broad spectrum of sciences to answer questions of interest to the legal system. This may be in relation to a crime or to a civil action. Many major police stations in a city, county, or state, maintain their own forensic laboratories while others contract out the services.
Detectives may use public and private records to provide background information on a subject. Police detectives can search through files of fingerprint records. Police maintain records of people who have committed felonies and some misdemeanors. Detectives may search through records of criminal arrests and convictions, photographs or mug shots, of persons arrested, ands, hotel registration information, credit reports, answering machine messages, phone conversations, surveillance camera footage, and technology used for communication.
Before 2017, prospective British police detectives must have completed at least two years as a uniformed officer before applying to join the Criminal Investigation Department. Since 2017, applicants from outside the police force may join directly as trainee detectives.UK Police must also pass the National Investigators' Examination in order to progress to subsequent stages of the Initial Crime Investigators Development Programme in order to qualify as a Detective.
Before becoming a police detective, one must attend a law enforcement academy, providing the officer with a foundation of education with 16 to 24 college units in criminal justice or administration of criminal justice. After graduation from the law enforcement academy, the officer undergoes job training with a field training officer for a period specified by the law enforcement agency and continues to work while on a probationary period, ranging from one to two years.
During the probationary period, the officer is assigned to look for evidence. During this time, the officer is supervised and mentored by a sergeant with years of experience. Some officers further their college education by attending a two- or four-year college or university, attaining a degree in criminal justice or administration of criminal justice. Colleges have options for a concentration or certificate in a specialized field of criminal investigation.
Through years of on-the-job training or college education, officers may participate in a competitive examination, testing their knowledge, skills and abilities regarding criminal investigation, criminal procedure, interview and interrogation, search and seizure, collection and preservation of evidence, investigative report writing, criminal law, court procedure and providing testimony in court. Competitive examinations are conducted by selected senior law enforcement officials. Following testing, a list of results is provided by the department. At the department's discretion, some or all of the officers on the list are promoted to the rank of detective. Some departments have classes of detectives which increase the detective's rank after successful experience.
Private investigators are licensed by the state in which they work (some states do not require licensing, but most do). In addition to the state examination, applicants testing for a private investigation license must also meet stringent requirements, which include college education, a range of two to four years of full-time investigation experience and the successful adjudication of a criminal and civil background check conducted by state investigators. Private investigators are licensed to conduct civil and criminal investigations in the state in which they are licensed, and are protected by statutes of that state. In states requiring licensure, statutes make it unlawful for any person to conduct a criminal investigation without a license, unless exempted by the statute (i.e., law enforcement officers or agents, attorneys, paralegals, claims adjusters).
The police are a constituted body of persons empowered by a state, with the aim to enforce the law, to ensure the safety, health and possessions of citizens, and to prevent crime and civil disorder. Their lawful powers include arrest and the use of force legitimized by the state via the monopoly on violence. The term is most commonly associated with the police forces of a sovereign state that are authorized to exercise the police power of that state within a defined legal or territorial area of responsibility. Police forces are often defined as being separate from the military and other organizations involved in the defense of the state against foreign aggressors; however, gendarmerie are military units charged with civil policing. Police forces are usually public sector services, funded through taxes.
A private investigator, a private detective, or inquiry agent, is a person who can be hired by individuals, groups or NGOs to undertake investigatory law services. Private investigators often work for attorneys in civil and criminal cases.
A Special Agent is an investigator or detective for a governmental or independent agency, who primarily serves in criminal investigatory positions. Additionally, many federal and state "Special Agents" operate in "criminal intelligence" based roles as well. Within the U.S. federal law enforcement system, dozens of federal agencies employ federal law enforcement officers, each with different criteria pertaining to the use of the titles Special Agent and Agent.
In the United Kingdom and many former British colonies, Criminal Investigation Department (CID) is the generic name for the branch of a police force to which most plainclothes detectives belong. A force's CID is distinct from its Special Branch.
Kriminalpolizei is the standard term for the criminal investigation agency within the police forces of Germany, Austria and the German-speaking cantons of Switzerland. In Nazi Germany, the Kripo was the criminal police department for the entire Reich. Today, in the Federal Republic of Germany, the state police (Landespolizei) perform the majority of investigations. Its Criminal Investigation Department is known as the Kriminalpolizei or more colloquially, the Kripo.
Inspector is both a police rank and an administrative position, both used in a number of contexts. However, it is not an equivalent rank in each police force.
A crime scene is any location that may be associated with a committed crime. Crime scenes contain physical evidence that is pertinent to a criminal investigation. This evidence is collected by crime scene investigators (CSIs) and law enforcement. The location of a crime scene can be the place where the crime took place or can be any area that contains evidence from the crime itself. Scenes are not only limited to a location, but can be any person, place, or object associated with the criminal behaviours that occurred.
An informant is a person who provides privileged information about a person or organization to an agency. The term is usually used within the law enforcement world, where they are officially known as confidential human source (CHS), or criminal informants (CI). It can also refer pejoratively to someone who supplies information without the consent of the involved parties. The term is commonly used in politics, industry, entertainment, and academia.
The Federal Criminal Police Office of Germany is the federal investigative police agency of Germany, directly subordinated to the Federal Ministry of the Interior. It is headquartered in Wiesbaden, Hesse, and maintains major branch offices in Berlin and Meckenheim near Bonn. It has been headed by Holger Münch since December 2014.
The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office (JSO) is a joint city-county law enforcement agency, which has primary responsibility for law enforcement, investigation, and corrections within the consolidated City of Jacksonville and Duval County, Florida, United States. Duval County includes the incorporated cities of Jacksonville, Atlantic Beach, Baldwin, Jacksonville Beach, and Neptune Beach; the beach cities have their own police departments as well.
The Idaho State Police (ISP) is the statewide law enforcement agency for the State of Idaho. It began as the Bureau of Constabulary, created on May 18, 1919, under the new Department of Law Enforcement, to detect and investigate crime, "order abatement of public nuisances and to enforce such orders by appropriate court action, to suppress riots, prevent wrongs to children and animals that are inhibited by law." The state constabulary was also charged with the organization of various state, county and municipal peace officers. The bureau was dissolved by the state legislature in 1923.
The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) is an independent state law enforcement agency of the government of Oklahoma. The OSBI assists the county sheriff offices and city police departments of the state, and is the primary investigative agency of the state government. OSBI works independent of the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety to investigate criminal law violations within the state at the request of statutory authorized requesters. The OSBI was created in 1925 during the term of Governor Martin E. Trapp.
The Maine State Police is the state police agency for Maine, which has jurisdiction across the state. It was created in 1921 to protect the lives, property, and constitutional rights of the citizens of the state of Maine.
The Westchester County Department of Public Safety was created in 1979 by merging the Westchester County Sheriff's Office with the Westchester County Parkway Police.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and introduction to law enforcement:
The New York City Police Department (NYPD) is structured into numerous bureaus and units. As a whole, the NYPD is headed by the Police Commissioner, a civilian administrator appointed by the Mayor, with the senior sworn uniformed officer of the service titled "Chief of Department". The Police Commissioner appoints a number of Deputy and Assistant Commissioners. The Department is divided into twenty bureaus, six of which are enforcement bureaus. Each enforcement bureau is further sub-divided into sections, divisions, and units, and into patrol boroughs, precincts, and detective squads. Each Bureau is commanded by a Bureau Chief. There are also a number of specialized units that are not part of any of the Bureaus and report to the Chief of the Department.
The Columbia Police Department (CPD) is the principal law enforcement agency serving the city of Columbia, Missouri in the United States. It protects a metropolitan population of nearly 122,000 with 174 sworn police officers.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs Police, Office of Justice Services, also known as BIA Police, is the law enforcement arm of the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs. The BIA's official mission is to "uphold the constitutional sovereignty of the Federally recognized Tribes and preserve peace within Indian country". It provides police, investigative, corrections, technical assistance, and court services across the over 567 registered Indian tribes and reservations, especially those lacking their own police force; additionally, it oversees tribal police organizations. BIA services are provided through the Office of Justice Services Division of Law Enforcement.
Immigration Enforcement (IE) is a law-enforcement command within the Home Office, responsible for enforcing immigration law across United Kingdom. The force was part of the now defunct UK Border Agency from its establishment in 2008 until Home Secretary Theresa May demerged it in March 2012 after severe criticism of the senior management. Immigration Enforcement was formed on 1 March 2012, becoming accountable directly to ministers.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) is a statewide criminal investigative bureau under the Minnesota Department of Public Safety that provides expert forensic science and criminal investigation services throughout the state of Minnesota. The BCA assists local, state, tribal, and federal agencies in major criminal investigations. It is headquartered in St. Paul.
Detective work is highly specialized, usually encompassing the examination and evaluation of evidence to apprehend suspects and to build solid cases against them.
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