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Learning Center Experience
By Dr. Kelly Boone, Kaplan University Faculty
After several years of working in patrol as a law enforcement officer and in multiple specialty units such as COPS and truancy, I gained enough experience to enter the Criminal Investigation Division, commonly referred to as CID. I began in the Burglary Unit, which was the perfect training ground for new investigators despite the intense caseload that averaged 40 to 60 cases per month. I was also exposed to the other CID units, where I first developed an interest in the Special Victims Unit (SVU).
After a year and a half in burglary, I was presented with an opportunity to transfer to the SVU and did not hesitate to make the transition. One of the appealing aspects of SVU is the caseload (especially when compared to the Burglary Unit). The caseload in SVU is typically 6 to 10 per month, which is reasonable because it allows detectives time to complete the necessary investigative processes associated with maltreatment cases. Unlike on television, where it seems detectives work on one case at a time and work all times of the day and night, in reality, investigators are assigned to work a shift, and your supervisor will distribute the cases to the detectives in the unit as they come in.
I spent just over 7 years in the SVU, acting as the Lead Detective for the last 3 years. The subject matter of the cases was difficult, particularly when it pertained to children, but that difficulty is what made the work so worthwhile. What struck me over and over again were the stark differences between the reality of working in SVU and the portrayal of SVU on television. While there are benefits of shedding light on these horrendous crimes, there are also dangers in creating misconceptions.
What is the point in highlighting these differences between fact and fiction? It is to emphasize the importance of the work done by law enforcement and the challenges faced by the profession. Detectives must sift through the extraneous distractions of the media and false perceptions in order to focus on the facts of the case. The evidence, investigative processes, and rule of law must always guide a detective's actions, along with proper training and an adherence to ethical performance.
Dr. Kelly Boone is a faculty member at Kaplan University. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not represent the view of Kaplan University.
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