– Discuss In Detail Your Future Career Goal . Indicate What You Plan To Do With Your Criminal Justice Degree . What Are The Requirements For The Position You Desire ? Will You Need Additional Degrees or Certifications ? What Is The Pay Scale Position ? Refer To The US Department Of Labor for Employment Information , If You Are Able Find Someone Who Has The Position You Desire And Interveiw Them .You Must Have A Minimum Of Fifteen Interview Questions . Your Questions Should Be About The Persons Job Duties Only . Avoid Asking Personal Questions Include The Name And Contact Information For The Person You Interview In Your Paper .
|Subject||Law and governance||Pages||6||Style||APA|
A Future in Criminal Justice; The case of a Homicide Detective
In every aspect of life, murder is the ultimate crime. When a person dies, a lot is usually at stake, and many people are involved who demand and deserve answers about the deaths of their loved ones. Seeing victims come to terms with the reality of the deaths that face their loved one would be one of the most satisfying duties for me as an agent within the criminal justice system. It is for this reason that I would cherish to use my criminal justice degree to be of help in this regard as a homicide detective. In this regard too, I did meet with Shane Long, a seasoned homicide detective and interviewed him to get the basic feel of what it means to be a homicide detective, the joys of the job, if any, the challenges he has faced as a detective and the overall trajectory of his career within the criminal justice system.
Requirements for the position
Besides having qualifications within the criminal justice jurisdiction, becoming a homicide detective has other requirements usually as well. The first one is that a homicide detective is like a step-up, promotion role that one gets when they are well within the police force. Basically then, one has to begin as a police officer, work for a while and learn a few things within criminal justice before they can be promoted as homicide detectives. The homicide detective has to have excellent report writing so that their reports are clear and accurate. They then have to pass the competitive promotion exam and demonstrate the ability to collaborate with other professionals like medical examiners, forensic scientists, entomologists, anthropologists, psychologists among others (Donnelly & West, 2019). Payment scale for a homicide detective varies by State, but the average annual salary for detectives and criminal investigators according to the U.S Bureau of Labour Statistics is $86,030.
Shane Long*, not his real name, cuts the figure of an extremely thoughtful man. When we meet for the interview, he is contemplative in a nonchalant kind of way. I rise and greet him. He smiles and takes off his glasses, then we sit down and begin to talk. I begin by asking him why he chose a career as a homicide detective. The choice, he says, was both personal and professional. When he was just out of the university with a degree in criminal justice, his brother got murdered. He had wanted a career in private investigations before, but the desire to find out what really led to his brother’s death fuelled his ambition. He wanted to help others too resolve such cases.
I then ask Mr Long how different the career has been between the time he joined and now. He begins by saying that he has been a homicide detective for twenty years. When they began, it was not easy. It was much more difficult to process crime scenes and prove evidence because of the lack of scientific tools. As Donnelly (2020) also agrees, the discovery of DNA profiling had changed the game. But still, one needed to be alert. Asked what he considers most important in the career, Mr Long says without battling a eyelid that it is convicting the right person beyond reasonable doubt. He explains that because such crimes lead to very stiff penalties, it was important that only the right criminals were convicted.
I ask him how this career fulfils him as a person. Mr Long explains that seeing the victims’ families weep for joy because they finally found justice makes him weep too. Besides, speaking for the dead who can no longer defend themselves gives him great pleasure. I further want to know whether or not he apologizes to the families. He answers by saying that his greatest apology is the justice he ensures is delivered.
Asked about the job as a collaborative process, Mr Long admits that the success of any homicide investigation principally rests with how one is able to collaborate with other professionals like medical personnel, forensic teams and others to process evidence. I press on about the process of crime scene processing, to which Mr Long says that it begins by defining and demarcating the scene, collection of evidence and securing of the scene.
Asked about whether evidence collection was enough to solve homicides, Mr Long admits that even while evidence collection was important, it was more important to store the evidence safely and interpret it correctly as well. Only then would the culpability of criminals be proved beyond doubt. I then ask him how he determines that a piece of evidence would be important to solving the crime, to which he answers that often, crimes are solved from surprising pieces of evidence. Any small piece of cloth, cigarette butt, strand of hair or weapon can be the key that unlocks the murder case.
I then ask Mr Long about how he separates emotions from the job. He admits that it is often very difficult to do so because often, he is called to very traumatizing murder scenes. He however has to suppress the urge to get emotional and focus on solving the crime. Asked about how wrongful convictions can affect homicide investigations, Mr Long says that the damage done can be permanent. He says for instance that once time has been served, one cannot get their lives back, even if they are compensated. Sometimes, they are dead by the time the truth comes out.
I turn to the crimes themselves and any trends he has noticed. Mr Long says that almost all of the murders he has solved involve victims who were either related to their killers in the family or well-known to them. That is where he starts his investigation. I want to know if this is not a biased way of investigating, but Long insists that this is the most reliable way of solving the crimes. By starting from the inside looking out, one begins to eliminate potential suspects one by one until the main suspect emerges (Dabney, 2019).
Asked about how the law may function to protect criminals, Mr Long says that it is often frustrating for a homicide detective that there has to be a big threshold for anyone to be held over a murder. This often gives criminals the edge when it comes to covering their tracks up. I finish the interview by asking him about any challenges unique to a homicide detective. In his reflective manner, Mr Long says that the emotional toll that solving murders can have on investigators may cloud one’s judgement often. Proving cases beyond reasonable doubt sometimes mean that the investigator has to take gambles, cut deals in exchange for testimonies that may leave the investigator wondering if real justice was done. In the long run though, Mr Long concludes, what matters is that a murder does not slide into another unsolvable cold case. The families deserve answers.
In conclusion, I would love to become a homicide detective and help bring justice to the many families who cry out for it. The interview opened my eyes on many aspects of being a homicide detective and the professional issues that surround this career. In many ways, it was a step in the right direction.
Dabney, D. (2019). Doing death work: a typology of how homicide detectives orient to their work. Policing and society.
Donnelly, D. (2020). An examination of explicit and tacit knowledge in the decision making of Senior Investigating Officers in stranger homicide (Doctoral dissertation, Anglia Ruskin University).
Donnelly, D., & West, A. (2019). The task is greater than the title: professionalising the role of the senior investigating officer in homicide investigations. In Decision Making in Police Enquiries and Critical Incidents (pp. 107-128). Palgrave Pivot, London.
U.S Bureau of Labour Statistics, https://www.bls.gov/