An SVU detective investigates crimes to assist law enforcement agencies apprehend offenders. SVU refers to special victims unit, which is a specialized task force within a law enforcement agency that investigates crimes related to victims of assaults and homicide. In May 2010, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated the salary for SVU detectives under the broad occupational title of detectives and criminal investigators.
Detectives are often promoted into this role after years of service as a police officer. Many police officers interested in becoming a detective pursue a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or a related discipline to increase employment opportunities. The average salary was $73,010 per year in 2010.
The salary can vary for detectives based on their experience and other factors such as size of the area the law enforcement agency serves. The salary ranged from $38,850 to $119,320 per year, including the 10th through 90th percentiles. The 25th percentile earned $50,020 per year and the 75th percentile earned $90,750 per year.
Detectives can work in a variety of industries including local, state and federal government agencies, the postal service and in colleges, universities and professional schools. The highest salaries were with federal government agencies, where these professionals earned an average salary of $93,210 per year. Local law enforcement agencies paid an average salary of $61,930 per year and state law enforcement agencies paid an average salary of $54,240 per year. The U.S. postal service paid an average salary of $90,770 per year. Colleges and universities paid an average salary of $62,300 per year.
The highest levels of employment and highest wages were in the Washington, D.C. area, where the average salary was $105,930 per year for detectives. In the Atlanta, Georgia area, the average salary was $56,670 per year and in the Chicago, Illinois area, the average salary was $90,120 per year. In the Santa Ana, California area, the average salary was $94,640 per year. States with the highest levels of employment of detectives include Texas, California, New York, Florida and Arizona.