How to Become a Criminal Investigator in Oregon

Murder, drugs and weapons smuggling, as well as grand theft are larceny are just some of the important criminal cases that Oregon’s detectives are responsible for investigating. When a serious crime occurs, criminal investigators from local sheriff and police departments are often the first high-ranking officials on the scene.

In order to ensure these detectives are of the highest caliber, law enforcement agencies tend to mandate stringent education and experience requirements for these positions.

In 2012 alone, criminal investigators across Oregon were involved in investigating:

  • 92 cases of murder and homicide
  • 21,901 burglaries
  • 1,140 cases of rape
  • 6,008 cases of aggravated assault

The Oregon State Police (OSP) is tasked with assisting local law enforcement agencies and enforcing state laws across all jurisdictions in the state. The Criminal Investigation Division (CID) is an important branch of the OSP, whose adept detectives take on several important areas of law enforcement ranging from missing children to explosives.

To join the prestigious ranks of the CID, prospective detectives will need to ensure they qualify for employment by meeting specified requirements.

Joining the Oregon State Police Criminal Investigation Division

Qualifications – Oregon State Police detectives are educated and experienced law enforcement officers that have met key requirements for employment:

  • Advanced police certification from the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training
  • Marksmanship qualification with duty weapon
  • Four years of recent full-time employment that involved conducting criminal investigations
    • College education in a related area may be substituted for up to two years of this experience
    • Training in a related field may also be substituted for up to two years of this experience
    • Candidates with experience conducting business and financial criminal investigations are preferred

It is important not to understate the potential benefit of relevant college education. Not only will this help to qualify candidates for advancement opportunities with the CID, an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in any of the following subjects can also fulfill the minimum criminal investigator requirements for jobs with other law enforcement agencies:

  • Criminal Justice
  • Law Enforcement
  • Police Science
  • Crime Scene Investigation
  • Law

Candidates considering gaining the requisite experience for employment with the CID should also be familiar with the minimum entry requirements to join the Oregon State Police:

  • US citizen
  • At least 21 years old
  • High school diploma or its equivalent
  • Driver’s license
  • Good moral history with no significant criminal record
  • Good physical condition

Application and Training – Candidates can apply online through a vacant Criminal Investigator job announcement. Doing a search on the Oregon career opportunities webpage for this job title will reveal any vacancies. Prospective applicants can sign up to be notified when these positions become available.

To become a detective with the CID, applicants will also need to compete advanced training with the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST). The DPSST is located in Salem on the grounds of its 213-acre training academy, from where it manages a network of regional training coordinators located across the state.

Criminal investigator training includes advanced study of:

  • Interrogation techniques
  • Leading raids and undercover operations
  • Responding to actionable intelligence
  • Coordinating joint operations
  • Advanced investigative procedures
  • Evidence collection and presentation

Role of the Oregon State Police Criminal Investigation Division

The OSP’s Criminal Investigation Division works closely with federal and local law enforcement agencies across the state, as well as conducting its own investigations into serious, multi-jurisdictional crimes.

To investigate particularly serious crimes, especially those for which local police and sheriff departments do not have specialized units, the CID is divided into eight sections:

  • Missing Children’s Clearinghouse
  • Major Crimes Section
  • Homicide Investigation Tracking System
  • Drug Enforcement Section
  • Sex Offender Registration Unit
  • Investigative Support Unit
  • Arson Unit
  • Explosives Unit

Detectives with the CID may specialize in particular areas of criminal investigations, such as:

  • Criminal Detective
  • Polygraph Detective
  • Arson Investigator
  • Homeland Security Detective
  • Tribal Gaming and Lottery Detective
  • Narcotics Detective

A recent example of Oregon State Police CID activity was seen in the arrest of a Springfield man who is alleged to have sexually abused children placed in his foster care. The suspect reportedly worked at a private facility that treated emotionally disturbed juvenile males where he met his victims.

Criminal Investigation and Detective Divisions Across Oregon

Criminal Investigation Division detectives often start out as detectives with municipal and county law enforcement agencies. The Oregon State Police Criminal Investigation Division (CID) works in close collaboration with these departments:

  • Portland Police Bureau, Detective Division
  • Eugene Police Department, Investigations Section
  • Salem Police Department, Investigations Division
  • Gresham Police Department, Investigations Division
  • Hillsboro Police Department, Detective Division
  • Beaverton Police Department, Criminal Investigation Division
  • Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Investigations
  • Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, Special Investigations Unit
  • Lane County Sheriff’s Office, Criminal Investigations Section
  • Marion County Sheriff’s Office, Criminal Investigations Unit

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