6 Reasons Why a Detective’s Job Isn’t As Glamorous as You Might Believe

So you want to be a detective?

Many people secretly long to clip a badge to their belts and then set out on the never-ending quest to save, well, everyone. But, there are a few things you should think about before giving up your day job to begin the hunt for your first serial killer. I’m betting you just might change your mind once you know that …

Don’t Shake Their Hands!

1. Bad guys and gals are rarely as attractive and well-groomed as those you see on TV. Instead, they often have poor hygiene and smell like really old gym socks.

Some love to flirt with detectives, batting their eyelashes and blowing kisses through breath laced with last night’s vodka and onion dip. Many do really disgusting things when you’re not looking. Like the guy who, when left alone in the interview room, inserted an index finger into a nostril and began working it around like an anteater uses its long, wiggly tongue to forage for termites. When finished with that ghastly task he stuck his hands down the front of his pants, rummaging around down there for a few seconds. Then, when the detective came back inside to continue the questioning, the little darling wanted to shake hands and be all “touchy-feely.” Thank goodness for video cameras. And you wonder why cops don’t shake hands with suspects? Well, now you know.

Roaches and Mice

2. Detectives spend a great deal of their time inside the homes of criminals and victims of various crimes. It’s not unusual, while questioning someone, to see insects suddenly and almost magically appear on your clothing. You then look around to see if you can locate the source of the unexpected attack of creepy-crawlers, and to your horror the walls, ceilings, countertops, and furniture seem to be undulating with a huge sea of brown, antenna-twitching roaches.

When using a flashlight while conducting a search of a closet, for example, it’s not unusual to see and hear hundreds of startled roaches falling from the ceiling to the floor and onto the head and shoulders of the searcher. The sound is much like raindrops hitting a cardboard box, or similar material, during a sudden springtime downpour.

Mice, not wanting to be excluded from the party, peek out from behind a greasy, grime-caked stove topped with a mound of dirty pots and pans. Dozens of tiny rodent footprints crisscross throughout the congealed lard at the bottom of a cast iron frying pan.

Lucky you, the mother of the little darling you think just killed someone offers you a nice, cold glass of iced tea, straight from the refrigerator that’s speckled and spattered with tons of roach feces. The spooky part of the tea offering is that, for a moment you actually considered accepting it because the house has no air-conditioning and it is nearly 100 degrees inside that sweet little abode. But the heat doesn’t stop eight bony, underfed cats from running, playing, puking up hairballs, and spraying and defecating on the furniture and well-worn linoleum floors. Oh, and the icing on the cake is the vast number of fleas that find their way onto your legs to begin gnawing away at your flesh.

Stray Body Parts

3. Investigators are the lucky folks who have the pleasure of enjoying a nice dinner at home with the spouse and kids, and minutes later find themselves standing in a room where some poor soul’s brains drip from his bedroom ceiling. This, because the victim didn’t have the decency to sleep with a man’s wife somewhere other than the married couple’s bed. And the wife, well, she’s blubbering “I’m sorrys” all over the place while her husband is escorted, in handcuffs, to a waiting patrol car.

Meanwhile, detectives have the pleasure of bagging and tagging evidence in the bloody bedroom, taking care not to step on bits of the victim’s skull, teeth, and a left ear. After all, even for you, an experienced homicide detective, it’s still a bit disgusting to get home at 4 a.m. and find a murder victim’s blood on your shirt sleeve, or a piece of the guy’s head stuck to your shoe. Even worse, your spouse makes the gruesome discovery the next day while tidying up.


4. One of the perks of becoming a detective is that you no longer have to deal with drunks, the little darlings who can be a real pain in the keister, right?

A number of criminals who commit the crime du jour are indeed intoxicated on cheap wine, liquor, or beer, or a combination of the three, or they’re high on something that promotes the undeniable urge to eat a human face.

Unfortunately, they’re often in the same condition when detectives pick them up for questioning. So, combine a lot of drinking and drug use with fear and nervousness and what do you get? Yep, last night’s chili dogs, fries, pickled pigs feet, and chocolate ice cream all over your brand new suit. Not to mention the overflow that spatters your desktop and case files.

Fighting in a Suit

5. Ever try fighting while wearing a suit and shiny shoes? How about wrestling with a 300 lb. angry mom while attempting to get a pair of handcuffs on her wrists, all while rolling around in a muddy driveway? Then, as always, junior and his three sisters jump on the pile, trying to stop you from taking the dear family matriarch into custody. After all, all she did was use a dull meat cleaver to hack grandpa to death.

I’ll be the first to say this … never underestimate the strength of women. They will slap you three ways into Sunday, if you’re not careful.

My jaw still aches today from the times when …

Cars Without Guts

6. Detectives drive really cool cars, like my old dark blue Chevrolet Caprice, the one that would reach  its top speed—80 mph—when I held the accelerator to the floor on a three-mile downhill grade. It’s not cool to be in pursuit of a wanted suspect, a guy running from you, and have every patrol car in the area, and a news reporters and cameraperson driving an old VW, pass you as if you were sitting still.

Investigators often get hand-me-down cars, like old patrol cars minus the markings—the cars that are no longer good enough for the streets. Knobs, buttons, and dials are often missing. Radios don’t work. The carpets and seats are stained with urine and puke, so much so that the cloth now feels like dirty canvas. Glamorous, wouldn’t you say?

So, there’s six reasons why it’s really cool to be a detective. And you thought all they did was sit around all day shining those pretty gold badges. Sure, they wipe them down, regularly, but not for the reasons you thought. Nope, they’re actually cleaning off vomit, roach dung, and blood.

Nice day at the office, huh?




3 replies
  1. Lita Brooker
    Lita Brooker says:

    I’m glad I wasn’t eating as I read this. Thank you for sharing your experiences so I didn’t have to do the job myself 😀

  2. Jean Lamb
    Jean Lamb says:

    Working in a tax office is fun, too! Especially when the guy who works at the local pot farm wafts in, his calling announced as he opens the door.

    And the guy who comes there directly from a muddy irrigation ditch. He did wipe the bottoms of his feet, but the fresh mud falls off the rest of the boot halfway up to his knee.

    Oh, and the small child belonging to a client who pukes used milk and a few soggy, multi-colored cereal bits all over your desk. And chair…and well, you get it.

    Although inwardly smirking at the angst of the day trader who really should have been filing quarterly is kind of fun, especially if he produces a few tears over the check he has to write to the IRS. We enjoy the good times when we can.

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