Police Detective Salary
The majority of Police Detectives in the United States — a little more than half — boast more than 10 years of experience in their profession. Salaries stretch from $39K to $101K per year, and the median is $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. Almost all report receiving medical coverage from their employers and a fair number collect dental insurance. The vast majority of Police Detectives (83 percent) who took the survey are men. This snapshot results from replies to PayScale's 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.
Police Detective Job Listings
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Pay by Experience Level for Police Detective
Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
Folks with fewer than five years of experience take home $53K on average. Interestingly, those who have worked for five to 10 years report receiving a smaller median salary of $51K. People with 10 to 20 years of experience make an average of about $67K in this role. Survey participants who have worked for more than two decades report bringing in $71K on average.