District Attorney Detective Investigators are a unique set of police officers who work for the five District Attorneys in New York City (often called County Detectives outside of NYC) and assist prosecutors in investigating and preparing criminal cases. D.A. Investigators regularly work cold case homicides, organized crime, narcotics, sex crimes, complex frauds, and official corruption cases.
Alumna Zahraa Majeed (2011) is a Detective Investigator from the Bronx District Attorney.
What is your job?
I am a Detective Investigator for the Bronx County District Attorney’s Office
What is the broader field of industry in which this work exists?
What, in general, do you do as part of this job?
I Investigate criminal cases that are brought into the office by complainants or current cases that were investigated by NYPD or other agencies. Participate in Title III investigations ( Wiretaps- listen to calls and read text messages for an active investigation, use those calls to do surveillance and watch their every move.) Conduct interviews, surveillance leading to arrest, seizure and criminal prosecutions, responsible for conducting witness and warrant investigations to ensure that all relevant parties and possible evidence is sure for criminal prosecution. Execute arrests, bench and search warrants, facilitate the transportation of incarcerated individuals from various jurisdictions to ensure their presence in court proceedings. Investigate criminal investigations involving Financial Crimes: i.e., welfare fraud, insurance fraud, child and elderly abuse, sex crimes and attorney misconduct for the District Attorney.
What are the pros and cons of this kind of job?
PROS: I would definitely have to say having a case handed to me and building it from the ground up. From doing background checks, to surveillance, interviewing the defendant or witnesses to actually arresting the defendant and seeing the case progress.
CONS: Justice will not be served in every case. Sometimes, there are cases that are dismissed and the system fails. There are guys out there roaming the streets that were arrested for attempted murder, or in possession of a gun, and they get to walk free because the system fails. It’s frustrating to see that happen, but now you’re working ten times harder to make sure the next guy you put away doesn’t get to walk and civilians lives aren’t in danger.
What skills did you learn as an English major that you use in this job?
Throughout my college years I always struggled to get my points across. When I wrote any paper I had difficulty sticking to the topic. My professors would help improve my writing by reviewing my papers one on one and explaining to me what it is I was doing wrong and where it needed to be corrected. As a detective with the Bronx County District Attorney’s office I write a lot of reports of incidents that occurr while doing an investigation; from when the incident occurrs, location, time, to what the witnesses or defendant verbally say to me. Therefore, I have to have my reports flowing, so when a defense attorney or prosecutor reads my reports they can fully understand how the incident started and how we were able to close out the case. Being in the English major it prepared me for my career, a career that has a lot of writing involved.
How have you learned to do this job?
To be able to do this job to my best knowledge and ability, I needed a college education, which John Jay College provided me. I also spent six months at the Orange County Police Chiefs Association Police Academy.
How did you get this job?
It’s a funny story how I got this job. I was working at Verizon Wireless in Nanuet, NY as a sales rep. One night 10 minutes to close, this nice lady walked in and wanted help, but everyone wanted to go home. I stepped up and helped her. After asking all the right questions and connecting with my customer she told me she is the chief executive for the District Attorney’s office in the Bronx. She asked me if I went to college and where, and what was my major. She was getting ready to leave and she gave me her business card and told me to email her my resume. I thought she was just trying to be nice; I never sent her my resume. One week later she came back into my store and asked for me. I went to see her and she asked, “ how come you never sent me your resume?” I looked at her with an embarrassed face and replied, “I thought you were just being nice. I didn’t know you were serious.” She said, “No, send me your resume and I’ll have human resources find you a position in our office.” I sent her my resume and within a week received a call from human resources asking me to come in for a conversation, not an interview. I went and the head of HR sat with me and asked me questions. She then handed me a paper with all the positions available and asked “what interests you?” I looked on the paper and saw the detective position and I looked at her and pointed at the detective investigator position. Next couple of weeks I started going for my interviews. I received the hiring call in May 2013 and started my first day July 2013.
For current students interested in this line of work, do you have any recommendations on what they can do now to start directing their career path?
I never wanted to believe the only way to get the career you want is by knowing people, but once I started networking with my customers at Verizon Wireless I started believing it would be my one-way ticket out of there. Once I started working for the District Attorney’s Office I networked, met people from homeland security, FBI, different police officers from other states and even other countries, DEA, ATF. The best advice I can give current students is start applying, take the tests, internships, graduate and NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK. Relationships are your ticket to the career you want.