A private investigator, also known as a detective, is a professional that deals with crimes in a systematic manner. The source and bulk of the crime’s story are found and assessed by the detective. This person does not decide the resulting punishment–as this is the court’s responsibility–but presents evidence (either human, object or idea) pertaining to the case. To become successful in this field, one must be very observant, analytical, detail-oriented and accurate.
Types of Detectives
Police Detective & Private Investigator
There are two types of detectives: Police detectives and private investigators (PI) or private detectives. The former usually starts off by being a police officer. Through this work, future detectives learn more about the criminal justice system and other background knowledge. Becoming a police officer does not require a college degree but it is recommended for better pay and more job opportunities. After years of patrols or surveillance, one can become a detective by supervisor reference and/or by completing a college degree.
On the same note, private investigators differ in that they do not need to become an officer of the law as a prerequisite. They do, however, need a college degree and some formal training to become licensed. While police detectives tend to work in police departments, PIs are often hired by private firms such as insurance companies, banks and members of the public. For example, some may hire PIs to look into cheating spouses. They have the flexibility of being hired full time or working on contract. Unlike police detectives, private investigators cannot press charges. One of the advantages of being a PI is that they are not subject to some of the rules and limitations established by the government for workers in the police force.
In the end, the type of detective one should be is a matter of personal interest and desire for job security and/or stability. It may be more stable for employees in governmental positions. Some police detectives eventually decide to become private detectives later in their careers. This path may be easier than the opposite, because there is no need for more years of working patrol.