Duties and responsibilities
A fugitive detective is responsible for proactively investigating and identify fugitives, in particular violent fugitives, who have an active and verified warrant for their arrest. Their ultimate goal is to incarcerate these dangerous offenders. It is a risky, but incredibly rewarding, role. Their typical duties and responsibilities include:
- Developing a coordinated plan that utilizes all necessary departmental assets to determine the most effective investigative avenues
- Gathering, verifying and assessing all appropriate and available information
- Documenting and recording any new information received
- Following leads on where a fugitive might be
- Instructing a team of other detectives or police officers
- Making decisions based on balancing risks, costs and benefits
- Analysing and interpreting data
- Preparing case papers and evidential files
- Dealing with forensic material and its submissions
- Participating in and conducting raids, searches or arrests
To become a fugitive detective, you will first need to serve as a police officer and then progress up the ranks. All detectives will need a high school diploma or equivalent. Typically, federal agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation require prospective detectives to have a bachelor’s degree in a related field (e.g., criminal justice or law enforcement). Furthermore, it will be very beneficial, but not essential, to speak another language – Spanish is the most preferred.
Skills and relevant work experience
As well as experience in the police force, fugitive detectives will need skills such as:
- Physical stamina, as they will be on their feet all day, walking around crime scenes and gathering data. They may also have to chase fugitives, which requires physical fitness
- Written communication skills, as fugitive detectives will need to maintain written documents
- Verbal communication skills, as fugitive detects will need to communicate with other police officers, witnesses and the criminal
- Attention to detail, as fugitive detectives must carefully examine all information to paint a complete picture and successfully track down the criminal
- Leadership skills, as fugitive detectives will have to instruct a team of police officers
- Ability to remain calm in stressful situations, as fugitive detectives will have to work in unpredictable environments. They will also need to be able to effectively lead teams under these circumstances too
Fugitive detectives tend to work full time. They may often work overtime and may be on call to attend crime scenes or when new information is received. Therefore, they may have to work evenings, weekends and holidays.
According to comparably.com, the average annual salary for a fugitive detective in the United States is $73,013 per year. The lowest 10% earned less than $41,200 and the highest 10% earned more than $128,690.
Fugitive detectives tend to progress from lower roles, such as police officers or detectives with less responsibility. They can progress to have more leadership responsibility and will be in charge of a large team of detectives and investigative professionals.