A narcotic investigator is a law enforcement worker performing investigation procedures and arrests persons of interest who are suspected of the illegal sale or use of narcotics. The investigator must perform skilled investigation work to apprehend and start the procedure of getting a conviction for the unlawful use of narcotics.
Many narcotic investigators work undercover or as plainclothes officers to compile evidence for a narcotic investigation. They interview persons of interest and witnesses---examining records and evidence presented. Monitoring the suspects' movements and activities, the narcotic investigator can determine the appropriate time to raid and arrest suspects. This includes setting up voice and video surveillance. At times, the investigator uses funds from the law enforcement agency to purchase narcotics that will be later submitted into evidence as well. The officer is trained in dismantling methamphetamine labs or other drug labs. He must secure the crime scene and protect all evidence. If the investigator gets a tip on drug activity, he and his team must respond promptly and follow all protocol. His testimony is vital in procuring a conviction once an investigation has ended and captured offenders are to appear in court. As a public service, the narcotic investigator promotes drug-free programs and presents information in the form of public speaking to schools and other groups of interest.
Completion of high school diploma or its equivalent is required for persons interested in a law enforcement career. Graduation from a general police academy is also a requirement. Specialized training in criminal investigation is provided by the law enforcement agency or can be taken on the community college level.
The working environment of the narcotic investigator can be extreme at times. This person must be willing to sit and type reports and submit items into evidence, but he also must be able to work with exposure to the different elements of weather. He has to deal with chemicals and fumes from the process of mixing and making narcotics. He might have to deal with heights and other safety hazards of work. A large amount of hours go into investigating and the officer works many hours of overtime. There is also exposure to dust, loud noise, darkness and cramped spaces.
The investigator is physically agile. He can maneuver his body into small places and has the strength to handle equipment and gear. In general, he is able to lift and carry 150 pounds. Good hand-eye coordination is also required. He maintains balance and control well. As an investigator, he is a critical thinker and possesses a working memory. He is able to concentrate and stay focused. This means looking at things with a conceptual view and making quick and accurate decisions.
Salary and Job Outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, as of May 2008, narcotic investigators make annual salaries ranging from $45,930 to $81,490 with an average salary of $60,910. The job outlook for investigator positions was expected to grow about 10 percent from 2008 to 2018. The reason for an increase of job opportunities was due to the increase in population.
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