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What do Police Detectives do?

Conduct investigations to prevent crimes or solve criminal cases.

What are the Main Tasks of Police Detectives?

  • Provide testimony as a witness in court.
  • Secure deceased body and obtain evidence from it, preventing bystanders from tampering with it prior to medical examiner's arrival.
  • Examine crime scenes to obtain clues and evidence, such as loose hairs, fibers, clothing, or weapons.
  • Obtain evidence from suspects.
  • Record progress of investigation, maintain informational files on suspects, and submit reports to commanding officer or magistrate to authorize warrants.
  • Check victims for signs of life, such as breathing and pulse.
  • Prepare charges or responses to charges, or information for court cases, according to formalized procedures.
  • Obtain facts or statements from complainants, witnesses, and accused persons and record interviews, using recording device.
  • Prepare and serve search and arrest warrants.
  • Note, mark, and photograph location of objects found, such as footprints, tire tracks, bullets and bloodstains, and take measurements of the scene.
  • Preserve, process, and analyze items of evidence obtained from crime scenes and suspects, placing them in proper containers and destroying evidence no longer needed.
  • Question individuals or observe persons and establishments to confirm information given to patrol officers.
  • Secure persons at scene, keeping witnesses from conversing or leaving the scene before investigators arrive.
  • Take photographs from all angles of relevant parts of a crime scene, including entrance and exit routes and streets and intersections.
  • Analyze completed police reports to determine what additional information and investigative work is needed.
  • Obtain summary of incident from officer in charge at crime scene, taking care to avoid disturbing evidence.
  • Provide information to lab personnel concerning the source of an item of evidence and tests to be performed.
  • Examine records and governmental agency files to find identifying data about suspects.
  • Block or rope off scene and check perimeter to ensure that entire scene is secured.
  • Summon medical help for injured individuals and alert medical personnel to take statements from them.
  • Observe and photograph narcotic purchase transactions to compile evidence and protect undercover investigators.
  • Organize scene search, assigning specific tasks and areas of search to individual officers and obtaining adequate lighting as necessary.
  • Participate or assist in raids and arrests.
  • Coordinate with outside agencies and serve on interagency task forces to combat specific types of crime.
  • Note relevant details upon arrival at scene, such as time of day and weather conditions.
  • Maintain surveillance of establishments to obtain identifying information on suspects.
  • Notify command of situation and request assistance.
  • Videotape scenes where possible, including collection of evidence, examination of victim at scene, and defendants and witnesses.
  • Notify, or request notification of, medical examiner or district attorney representative.
  • Monitor conditions of victims who are unconscious so that arrangements can be made to take statements if consciousness is regained.
  • Schedule polygraph tests for consenting parties and record results of test interpretations for presentation with findings.
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