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Tell Me About Being an Investigator

Discussion in 'Cop Talk' started by Line Rider, Apr 7, 2010.

  1. Line Rider

    Line Rider

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    For the last 12 years I've been in patrol. I've also thought of myself as a "Road Toad". Wrecks, domestics, complaints and taking BS reports has never bothered me. It's all part of the job. But in the last 2 years I've felt like I want to do more than work patrol.

    My department is going to have a new investigator's position opening some time this year. It will be dealing with mostly misdemeanors, non violent felonies, DV and juvenile cases. But it was involve working with the other investigators on violent and major felonies.

    The hours are good. Most days being 0730 - 1630. Weekend off. :rofl: 2 weeks a month on call.

    I would greatly appreciate any opinions and insights from you guy who've been there done that.
     
  2. blueiron

    blueiron

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    After 12 years, you should be ready for a change and going to detectives is a big change.

    It can drive some patrol oreinted guys nuts. Lack of case progress, huge case loads, reorienting yourself to a more measured pace and a lack of the adrenaline rush.

    Give it a shot and see what you think. You can always go back to the road.
     

  3. Dukeboy01

    Dukeboy01 Pretty Ladies!

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    Being a detective is awesome as long as you are self- motivated enough to stay ahead of the case load. The thing that most patrol officers who want to sit and complain about detectives don't get is that once you get a case it's yours until it's adjudicated. There's no more taking a report and forgetting about it by the end of a shift.

    And an arrest is not the end of a case. It's just the beginning of the end when you're making Felony arrests based off of long- term investigations. If you'll be dealing with stuff that the defendants will be facing long jail sentences over, then you'll get to know the prosecutors a lot better because more of your cases will be going to trial.

    There are a lot of perks. You've usually got a lot less direct supervision, so you can take time to relax a lot easier than you can you're a slave to the radio like you are on patrol. As long as your cases are being cleared, you're usually left alone and not hassled about stuff like when you come in and when you leave. You'll definitely be treated more like an adult than patrol officers are. However, if you're not careful and slack off too much, you'll get behind.

    Losing the uniform is sweet. Getting an unmarked car is even sweeter, especially if your department gives detectives something besides Crown Vics to drive like mine does. Instead of being some jerk cop who thinks he's above the law doing 60 in a 55, I'm just some civilian jackhole in a Nissan or Honda doing 70 in a 55. They don't call IA on you if they don't know you're the popo.

    There's usually more overtime available than there is on patrol and most of it is overtime that you work when you want to. You want to stay late and work on a case? Go ahead. You need to go home on time that night and work on the case later in the week, you can usually do that too. Just don't get behind.

    Being on call can suck, depending on how often you have to take it and how busy your jurisdiction is. Being on call for two weeks straight in my town would not work. My unit used to do it for a week at a time and it was terrible. The rule was (and still is) that if you caught a case while on call, you kept it. If you got a big case on Monday, you still had the rest of the week to go on- call while you were trying to work the new case. (We do 24 hour on- call rotations now. Works much better) The silver lining is that if you get called, you're getting paid.

    If you're self- motivated enough to keep your caseload under control it can be the best gig in the department. Go for it. If you decide that it's not for you, then you can always go back to patrol.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2010
  4. rgregoryb

    rgregoryb Amerikaner

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    Try it, you will know shortly if it is for you. I preferred investigations over patrol. The biggest drawback was being on call when working homicide/robbery......never went to bed, just waited for the call. I hope you like paperwork and court.
     
  5. ateamer

    ateamer NRA4EVR

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    -Huge caseload. Maybe 20-30 or more open cases, with more coming in every day.
    -Being stuck indoors for most of your day.
    -Having to have Saturdays and Sundays off. Everywhere you go is crowded.
    -Not having the excitement and action of getting to a scene when the dust is still settling, or even still flying.

    I would be miserable in investigations. After 21 years, all I want is to work patrol.
     
  6. mmbeller191

    mmbeller191

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    I switched to investigations after 12 years on the road six months ago. I wasn't sure I would like it but now that I am here I am enjoying it. I have a few tips for case management.
    1. Since you will be juggling cases, it is important that from the beginning you are well organized. Put assigned cases in color coordinated folders and keep your desk neat.
    2. Every case you are assigned, take some action and turn in a supplemental report promptly. If all you can write is "On x date at x time I called the victim and left a message providing my contact information" then at least you have done something. If a victim complains that you haven't solved their case, at least you will have something in the file.
    3. At the end of each day, I like to jot a "to do" list for the next day if there are things I haven't finished. That way I get off to a fast start the next morning.
    I think organization is a major key to success in CID. Procrastination will get you back on the road fast.
     
  7. cowboywannabe

    cowboywannabe you savvy?

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    you can always for for a small town with a lousy department structure where the patrol unit (two if your lucky) has to answer service calls and investigate the cases that derive from them.
     
  8. ateamer

    ateamer NRA4EVR

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    Heck, I work for a medium-sized (165 sworn if we ever get to full staffing again) where patrol is supposed to investigate as much as possible, and only leave major cases or extensive followup that just can't be done by patrol for investigations. The bureau pretty much won't touch misdemeanors.
     
  9. lawman800

    lawman800 Juris Glocktor

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    It just keeps getting better, don't it?
    Don't forget, you will have homework now. One thing I love about patrol is when you are done with your shift, you are done for the day. Start the next day anew. I never liked homework.

    You will also wear your own clothes and run around in dress shoes not really designed for constant walking or running. You will get in situations where you might tear or dirty your own clothes instead of an uniform that you have a few sets of. It's part of the job but just remember that the next time you wear a new dress shirt and you end up sweating it up in a fight and it gets pulled and torn up.

    There are advantages such as you said, better schedule and weekends off for the most part. I see you listed 9 hours a day, you guys don't get your meal periods included in your shift?
     
  10. Patchman

    Patchman Florist

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    Business attire every day. Keep extra ironed dress shirts and slacks in your locker.

    Absolutely stay on top of your case progress. Different ball game from patrol. Don't hand out your business cards.
     
  11. merlynusn

    merlynusn

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    Heck, I'm in a large department and our bureau pretty much won't touch misdemeanors either. Patrol gets just about everything back except for rapes, robberies, shootings, homicides, auto theft, solvable burglaries and some fraud.
     
  12. FM12

    FM12 I need AMMO!

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    Investigations suck for me, I'm not much of a self starter. Paperwork is ungodly!!

    Lots of time cooling your jets waiting to ee the DA, grandjury, trial,etc. When you're the lead,its YOUR case, win lose or draw. If it gets done, YOU have to do it.

    Maybe I can get back into patrol, I'd go tomorrow if I could keep my current pay!!
     
  13. volsbear

    volsbear IWannaBeSedated Lifetime Member

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    Does anybody have a problem keeping their attention on a single case for a long time? I talked to one of the Drew Peterson prosecutors a month or so ago. They've got over a terabyte of data on a computer - tens of thousands of pages - and this person is absolutely miserable having to think about this case for this long. Apparently the cops assigned are equally miserable.

    I think I'd hate it.
     
  14. txleapd

    txleapd Hook 'Em Up

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    I love working investigations. After 8 years I was ready to leave patrol, so I took the plunge. I've got my share of gripes, but I wouldn't trade it for the world. I'm in a great unit, and all we work is violent crimes. No potted plant thefts for me!
     
  15. DaBigBR

    DaBigBR No Infidels!

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    Give it a shot. Two of the most proactive patrol cops that I know at one agency in our area went to investigations a couple of years back for a change of pace. Both love it. Both told me that they did not think they would like it.
     
  16. GunFighter45ACP

    GunFighter45ACP

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    Lots of good advice in here. My 2 cents is to go for it. Here are a few thing's I've learned in addition to what else has been posted: You really do have to pace yourself on cases. Don't expect to make alot of arrests. Do expect alot of paperwork. You'll learn how to walk & talk like a civilian again. Stay in shape. Have a game plan for each case you work. Once you start handling multiple open cases, you need to be able to prioritize any down time you have. Alot more is 'caught then taught' in CID. Watch the guys who have been in the unit the longest. You'll learn alot about what works, so you don't have to find out the hard way, what doesn't. Oh, and traffic sucks when your in an unmarked car...
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2010
  17. CAcop

    CAcop

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    I did once on a short term basis once. It was okay but it did kind of suck to sit an office most of the time with a phone to my ear. Of course I was little different than most of my cowowrkers. I wasn't checking stock quotes, calling mistresses, buying xboxes at the local Costco, taking 2 hour lunches, 45 minute coffee breaks, banging non sworn employees in vacant rooms, etc.
     
  18. FM12

    FM12 I need AMMO!

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    "CA cop" so,you dont work and play well with others in your group? LOL

    Yeah, a lot use their time for not necesarily for LEO activity.

    An instructor in a seminar on challenged us thusly: Never say Never until you try:!!
     
  19. CAcop

    CAcop

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    I work well, I just don't play well. I tended to want to get my crap done (patrol mentality) when I could rather than bowl in the aisle between the cubicles. I would probably wear earplugs if I went up there again.

    Okay so maybe I am Mr. Crankypants these days.
     
  20. i8547

    i8547 Without Equal

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    Two words: CASE MANAGEMENT. Learn it, love it, live it. It is what will break or make a good investigator/detective. If you are in a slow paced agency, you are more apt toward developing bad case management habits due to the light case work. So as soon as you catch your first caper, be sure to treat it as if it is one of many and prioritize appropriately in terms of what needs to be done by when. Set milestones toward case closure.

    Also I saw it mentioned already, but I'll reiterate... be very selective of who you give your business card to. I have seen many weird outcomes from people who hand theirs out like candy to kids. My rule of thumb is that they only go to other law enforcement officers, EMS personnel, attorneys handling my cases, etc.

    I don't hand them to CIs because to them they are like licenses to be jackoff's and then expect to "cardge" their way out of situations. I don't hand them out to chicks I want to bang just so they see "Federal Agent" and go googoo-for-gaga. I don't hand them out to friends and family because of reason #1.

    May sound trivial, but it's one of my quirks...