In Pennsylvania, County Detectives are considered “general police officers” by the courts and as defined by statute. As such, County Detectives are empowered to enforce all of the criminal and traffic laws of Pennsylvania.
County Detectives are authorized by 16 P.S § 1440 (The County Code) and provide District Attorneys in Pennsylvania the resources with which to conduct independent criminal investigations and to provide other law enforcement agencies with investigative assistance. County Detectives have full police powers and must meet the same training requirements as municipal police officers in Pennsylvania including certification by the Pennsylvania Municipal Police Officers’ Education and Training Commission (MPOETC). Most County Detectives come to their positions with extensive experience in law enforcement usually having served with other law enforcement agencies where they specialized in criminal investigations.
County Detectives conduct independent investigations at the direction of the District Attorney, provide investigative assistance to other law enforcement agencies when requested, investigate allegations made by citizens who wish to file Private Criminal Complaints under Rule 506 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure.
They also conduct background investigations of persons seeking licensing as Private Detectives under 22 P.S and have enforcement oversight of various regulatory statutes such as Bingo and Local Option Small Games of Chance. In addition, County Detectives supervise the activities of the Wayne County Drug Task Force.
In conjunction with enforcing the laws of the state, County Detectives also perform other duties as dictated by the District Attorney. These duties often include assisting the District Attorney and Assistant District Attorneys with the preparation of cases for trial, assisting municipal police departments with the investigation of serious crimes, and acting as the primary investigator for specific types of crime as outlined by the District Attorney.