In the United States, County Detectives are employed by the District Attorney's Office of their respective county. County Detectives generally exist in Northeastern states, such as New Jersey and Pennsylvania, where the County Sheriff primarily performs court-related duties.
In Pennsylvania, County Detectives are considered "general police officers" by the courts and as defined by statute. Title 16 P.S. § 1440 As such, County Detectives are empowered to enforce all the criminal and traffic laws of Pennsylvania.
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.
County Detectives often work joint investigations with federal, state and other local law enforcement agencies.
Additionally, many County Detectives perform drug investigations as members of their County Drug Task Force, which draws its authority from the District Attorney of that county.