Detectives are plainclothes police officers who gather facts and collect evidence to investigate criminal cases. Their mission is to solve or prevent violations of federal, state, or local laws. They conduct interviews, examine records, observe the activities of suspects, and participate in raids or arrests.
Detectives are assigned cases on a rotating basis and work on them until an arrest and conviction is made or until the case is dropped. Most detectives work for local government offices.
Private detectives, unlike their plainclothes brethern, work for individuals, businesses and attorneys to find clues and solve mysteries or uncover facts. They usually have experience in law enforcement or the military, but are often self-employed and are usually licensed by the state where they work.