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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2014

    General Timeline from Basic Patrolmen to Detective

    I've done some research on this forum and I cannot seem to find any general timeline for the progression of a basic patrolmen to a detective. I'm curious to know about how many years does it usually take one to become a detective. I know there are different factors (who you have connections with, available detective slots, etc.) that can determine this, I'm just curious to know if anyone has a general timeline.

    I'll be graduating with my Masters next Spring and will be applying to Charleston, SC PD if I do not get picked up by any Federal Agencies by then.

    Thank you in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Atlanta, GA
    There probably isn't one given variables such as the size of the agency and the number of investigator slots that may be open and how selections are made. As a rule of thumb think something like 3 to 5 years before you might be eligible for consideration but you are best served by asking the question of agencies to which you are planning to apply.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    ...a bar in far Bombay.
    This is really an impossible question to answer. It will be completely dependent upon the agency. I know Detectives who spent a single year on patrol before becoming a fulltime invetigator. This has mostly been in small, rural departments or small town agencies. Larger agencies tend to have a more rigid and established system for competing for investigator slots. The fact is, unless you are asking about a specific agency, nobody can answer your question.

    "You're about as useful as a poopy flavored lollipop!" - Patches O'Houlihan

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Moreover, if I'm not mistaken there are some small to medium sized agencies (0~300 or so sworn) that rotate their officers into investigative positions and then back to a uniformed position so that everyone gets the chance to work the different assignments. In other words you can't permanently be a detective/investigator. If becoming a permanent investigator is your goal you should look into that as well. Here in SoCal I can only think of a handful of departments (SDPD, LAPD, etc.) where there is an actual rank of "Detective" and they issue badges with detective printed on them.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2011

    General Timeline From Basic Patrolmen To Detective

    You have received some excellent responses so far. I certainly agree with all of them. There are some agencies in which they practically have to beg somebody or actually force somebody to do investigations. Or even actually hire from the outside for it. For example, one PD near me had a job announcement out to the general public for police investigator. That is quite rare around here from my perspective. So, I asked a couple people in that area and they told me that the folks on patrol loved their schedule and did NOT want to go back to 8 hour days Monday through Friday. They also said that investigations there was not a lucrative slot, so nobody wanted it and they advertised to the outside.

    Several others PDs near me rotate people through. Someone get a one year stint that can be renewed up to a total of three years and then you rotate out, regardless of how well you performed in that slot.

    Still other places you do actually test for it and are promoted to detective or investigator. From my perspective, there has been a general trend around here for sheriffs and chiefs to make as many positions as possible "at pleasure" appointments, for both special assignments and ranking positions. For example, the investigator slots that once were a promotion are now just an assignment and if the boss decides you will be busted back to midnight patrol, you are gone. Similarly, slots that were lieutenants, captains, etc., now seem to be replaced by the title inspector, commander, or something similar. Again, if the sheriff or chief wants someone out, they suddenly find themselves back in their previous slot.

    I know a number of people around here that are great investigators. If they had stayed at their PD or SO, they would be out in a patrol car right now. Instead, they took that experience and found a job with the state. Not everyone wants to make that move, but just know what you are getting into at whatever agency you pursue. Also know that however it is when you apply, it will change. It may change for the better or it may change for the worse, from your perspective. Chiefs and sheriffs come and go. Each one will likely bring change. Whether it is good change or bad change will be a matter of opinion.



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