What does a Criminal Investigator and Special Agent do?

Investigate alleged or suspected criminal violations of Federal, state, or local laws to determine if evidence is sufficient to recommend prosecution.

Jobs Roles

  • Obtain and verify evidence by interviewing and observing suspects and witnesses or by analyzing records.
  • Record evidence and documents, using equipment such as cameras and photocopy machines.
  • Examine records to locate links in chains of evidence or information.
  • Prepare reports that detail investigation findings.
  • Collaborate with other offices and agencies to exchange information and coordinate activities.
  • Determine scope, timing, and direction of investigations.
  • Testify before grand juries concerning criminal activity investigations.
  • Analyze evidence in laboratories or in the field.
  • Investigate organized crime, public corruption, financial crime, copyright infringement, civil rights violations, bank robbery, extortion, kidnapping, and other violations of federal or state statutes.
  • Identify case issues and evidence needed, based on analysis of charges, complaints, or allegations of law violations.
  • Obtain and use search and arrest warrants.
  • Serve subpoenas or other official papers.
  • Collaborate with other authorities on activities such as surveillance, transcription, and research.
  • Develop relationships with informants to obtain information related to cases.
  • Search for and collect evidence, such as fingerprints, using investigative equipment.
  • Collect and record physical information about arrested suspects, including fingerprints, height and weight measurements, and photographs.
  • Compare crime scene fingerprints with those from suspects or fingerprint files to identify perpetrators, using computers.
  • Administer counterterrorism and counternarcotics reward programs.
  • Provide protection for individuals, such as government leaders, political candidates, and visiting foreign dignitaries.
  • Perform undercover assignments and maintain surveillance, including monitoring authorized wiretaps.
  • Manage security programs designed to protect personnel, facilities, and information.
  • Issue security clearances.
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