The Right Tools for Your Fictional Detective


Your detective arrives at the scene of the crime and surveys the area. He reaches into his jacket pocket and pulls out…what?

Police officers must have the proper tools to perform their jobs, and your fictional detective is no exception. It is time to take a look at physical tools needed to get the job done. Most of these are self-explanatory.

Items Carried

When a detective gets dressed in the morning there are things he will carry to help him though his day’s work. While this is not a complete list, it is some basic items your fictional detective can use to be more realistic.

Notebook and Pen/Pencil: Detectives use these for writing down details, victim information, witness information and anything else he needs to remember.

Handcuffs: Used when arresting or detaining a suspect.

Pepper Spray: Used for repelling an attacker or to aid in an arrest.

Service Weapon: The kind of gun your officer would use would depend on his department’s regulations as well as personal preference.

Badge: Do not forget your detective’s identification.

I am sure there are more things, but this is a good start. Your detective will evolve as all of your characters do, as you learn more about him. Now, what he would keep inside his vehicle while working.

Vehicle Items

Depending on the size of your detective’s department, these are some of the things he would have in his car for investigating a crime scene.

General Evidence Collection Kit: This would have items used to collect evidence, such as: envelopes, plastic bags, measuring tape, scissors, and flashlights.

Cast and Mold Kit: This holds the things necessary to make a plaster cast of footprints, tire tracks, etc. it would have casting frames, plaster casting material, and various hardeners and oils.

Field Drug Test Kit: Used to make an on the scene determination of unknown substances found.

Photographic Kit: In smaller departments there might not be a detective who handles taking pictures of the scene. The detectives would carry a 35mm camera as well as an instamatic camera. They would also have extra film, batteries and accessories.

Fingerprint Kit: Used for lifting prints as well as taking prints on the scene from cadavers.

Clothing and Safety Items: Because they encounter so many different situations, a detective needs to carry a variety of things to keep themselves safe. Safety goggles, coveralls, gloves, and rubber boots are kept along with a hard hat and flashlight.

These are only some of the items your detective might keep inside his vehicle and on his person. He would probably carry a shotgun or riot gun and a bullet-proof vest.

Your detective’s personality and appearance are important to move your story along. But adding some of the tools of the trade will really make real for your readers.


Source by Dawn Arkin

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