Police Detective Salary
More than half of Police Detectives in the United States have been in the field for more than 10 years. Pay can fall anywhere from $37K to $100K per year, but median earnings come to around $59K per year. Career length and the particular city each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Job satisfaction is high and work is enjoyable for most Police Detectives. Men account for the majority of Police Detectives who responded to the questionnaire — 85 percent to be exact. Medical benefits are awarded to almost all, and a fair number earn dental coverage. This report is based on responses to the PayScale salary survey.
Job Description for Police Detective
A police detective is a law enforcement official who is tasked with proceeding with investigations of particularly serious crimes, which may include serious property crimes or crimes involving the injury or murder of a citizen. The detective helps gather and analyze evidence, interviews witnesses and potential suspects, and attempts to create a case that can be prosecuted by a district attorney's office.Read More...
Television and movies have created plenty of misconception around police detectives' actual job duties. Much of their typical work involves writing extensive reports and cataloging and analyzing potential evidence; because of the precise work required for criminal cases, police detectives must carefully document all parts of their investigations while also filling out extensive paperwork regarding items such as chain of custody forms for evidence. Additionally, if a police detective wants to conduct a search or interview certain individuals, a warrant or judgment from the court may be required, and these requests are more forms for the detective to fill out.
Still, police detectives do engage in field work, which is vital to helping to preserve a crime scene. In major crimes cases in large departments, the detective's job at a crime scene may mostly involve holding the situation while forensic investigators gather evidence that the detective can refer to at a later time. From the point of initially arriving at a scene, the detective will typically work a case through a routine series of steps to attempt to find suspects and motives.
Police detectives are typically promoted from the ranks of officers, though most detectives distinguish themselves by supplementing their experience and academy training with university or community college coursework in criminal justice disciplines. Most police detectives work in shifts that can require daytime, evening, or overnight schedules. Detectives spend much of their time in an office environment, but field work is a regular part of the job, as well.
Police Detective Tasks
- Compile, examine, and secure case evidence.
- May testify in court.
- Interview suspects, witnesses and victims.
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Pay by Experience Level for Police Detective
Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
The average inexperienced worker earns $52K. It's worth noting that someone who has worked for five to 10 years can expect a smaller median salary of $51K. Police Detectives who work for 10 to 20 years in their occupation tend to earn about $66K. Average wages for folks with more than 20 years of experience come out to around $69K.
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Key Stats for Police Detective
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