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Do you need to be a police officer before becoming a detective?

I'm interested in detective work, but I don't want to be a street cop first. I am more analytical than physical. Would a criminology degree allow you to become a detective without being a cop first? #criminal-justice #law-enforcement #criminology #detective

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Robert’s Answer

Hi Emma,


I guess it would depend on what type of investigative work that you want to do. Here in California, there are agencies that are not involved in street patrol such as the Department of Justice, Bureau of Alcoholic Beverage Control, Probation, Parole, etc. There are Federal choices as well such as the FBI, ATF and Secret Service. I'm sure there are equivalents up in Canada. If you want to be a Police Officer, though, you will have to work patrol before becoming a detective (you have to learn how to walk before you run). As far as your degree choice, criminology is a good one, but it would also depend on where you want to work. I always tell prospective candidates to get their degrees in something other than criminal justice, but I'm a street cop who hires street cops.
I would suggest you look at agencies in your area that are not primarily involved in street enforcement and talk to the men and women who work there. I would also suggest looking into an internship with one of those agencies to see how they work and get yourself some exposure to that career field.
Hopefully this helps.
Good luck with your career!


-Robert

Thank you comment icon thats nicei would want to be cop or a device Landen
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Zhan’s Answer

Hi Emma, this is great question. While you may become detective without being in the street patrol, being in the street is exceptional opportunity to see first hand police work and to learn from real life cases. Being in local police station is like being at the University. Being exposed for various cases, challenging yourself, learning new skills or practice law on the ground is something unique that you will not get in the classroom or seating in the office. Facing issues and learning on the field will strengthen your skills and you will develop your talents. Good luck!
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Kevin’s Answer

To piggy back on what Robert said , If you are choosing to peruse a career with a police department, or sheriffs office them as he stated you have to crawl before you can walk. In other words how can solve a crime without first learning the streets and area you are dealing with first . For example, how can you solve a homicide case if you never been to a scene of a homicde. Check with your local police department and talk to someone who is a detective, and try to ride with a officer on a shift to experience what they deal with. Good luck to you !!!
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