By Ed Meckle, Retired LAPD
If only it were that easy and glamorous.
Your average detective drowns in paper/computer reports. He/she is assigned a specialty such as homicide or robbery. Crimes are usually broken down by type, burglary (either residential or business), auto theft, theft from vehicle or forgery.
First thing in the morning:
You must check for arrestees assigned to your team. They are either questioned and released, held for further investigation with strict time constraints or submitted to the D.A. for charges to be filed.
You also may have to transport your own prisoner to a different lock-up.
You must read the overnight reports to see if anything requires immediate attention.
If you have a heavy case load you are probably in court several days a week.
You must find time to re-interview all victims and witnesses and serve all subpoenas for your court cases.
You must keep abreast of all deadlines for required reporting.
You must be prepared to respond to any and all calls for service.
Telling the lieutenant, “That’s not my field/specialty/responsibility/job,” earns the response, “There is nobody else available, handle it. Like it or not, you are a good soldier. You do what you must.”
Not only does the fictional detective get the bad guy, he does it with time out for commercials. In real life, our clearance rates vary by crime but are never as good as the T.V. cop’s.