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Becoming A Police Detective

I am very interested in becoming a Police detective, what are the specific details to becoming a Police Detective and what are the step by step actions I have to take to succeed in this occupation? I am currently 17 and I am in Job Corps.

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James’s Answer

Carolyn,
It's an admirable choice and one I never regretted. I attended college before joining the PD and it set me up well for the training that starts any police career. Lots of study hours , going thru any academy which is usually anywhere from 12 weeks to 6 months depending on the department and state requirements. Graduation from the academy just starts your journey. Most graduates then are assigned to patrol duties where you are mentored by a Training officer for up to a year , again depending on the department. You'll learn more from this period than you ever did in the academy! Most departments require two years on the "street" before you are eligible to take exams ( more studying) for promotion to detective . There are lot of good books available to read and learn regarding basic investigative techniques , psychology , law and basic police principle . If you're lucky enough to score high and put on the promotion list sometimes you might wait 6-12 months before yogurt promoted , if there are openings available in your department. It's one reason I tell new recruits asking me how to get started to look to the bigger departments for your start. More money for training , usually better equipment and opportunities. Once you get that "letter" advising your to be promoted.then the real challenge. Everyone usually wants to go to Homicide. After all , where else should a "Detective" work. The bigger departments will have openings in Homicide , Robbery , Auto Theft , Burglary & Theft and maybe a special crimes unit like Sex Crimes or Juvenile . That's the advantage of bigger departments. The next step is just getting down to work and trying to remember all those things you read and heard. This is where an experienced partner , which they will assign to you, can make all the difference in the world . Listen close and watch everyone around you to see how to be the best . It's never boring.
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Carolyn’s Answer

Hi Isaiah! I would take some time looking up NYC-specific requirements and the process! I found this webpage on how to become a police officer, which is traditionally how one has to start before becoming a detective: https://www1.nyc.gov/site/nypd/careers/police-officers/po-hiring.page

Looks like they require you to be 21 y.o.; however, that's good because it give you time to work on the education requirement, "You must have earned 60 college credits with a minimum 2.0 GPA from an accredited institution or 2 years of active military service in the U.S. Armed Forces in order to be appointed to the title of Police Officer."

Best of luck!
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David’s Answer

I don't know the New York specifics, but in North Carolina there can be a lot of steps to the process. Police Officers are hired and must complete a significant amount of "on the road" training, specifically functioning as a patrol officer. Most agencies require at least two years of patrol service before you are eligible for a special position. This on the road time is very important as you learn how to talk to a wide range of people and function in environments that most untrained people would be unable or unwilling to.

You can become a police officer in North Carolina at 20 years old or a deputy sheriff at 21 years old. Police Departments and Sheriff Offices work very differently in NC than in many other states. One option for going into investigations immediately is to apply for a state agency like the NC License and Theft Bureau, where you investigate certain motor vehicle offenses (chop shops, creating fake plates, etc). These are very specialized though and are often highly sought after.
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