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How to Become a Criminal Investigator in Wyoming

Wyoming, once considered the “Wild West” and home to notorious gunslingers, today has one of the lowest crime rates in the U.S. Wyoming’s 219 annual violent crimes (per every 100,000 residents) rank sixth lowest in the nation.

The Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI), created in 1973, is the state’s largest multi-jurisdictional criminal investigation agency. Its Operations Section employs 36 detectives, called special agents, who have statewide jurisdiction and work in cooperation with local and federal law enforcement agencies in the investigation of complex criminal activities. Special agents investigate a wide range of violent and non-violent crimes, including:

  • Drug trafficking organizations
  • Homicides; rapes
  • Organized crime activities
  • Internet crimes/internet undercover operations
  • Internet crimes against children
  • Kidnappings
  • Bribery
  • Embezzlement/other financial crimes
  • Federal firearms violations
  • Civil rights violations

Special agents with Wyoming’s DCI are also often called upon to handle politically sensitive/high-profile criminal cases.

Becoming a Detective with the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation

Satisfying the Qualifications – The following requirements must be met in order to qualify for a special agent job with the Wyoming DCI.

The basic education and experience requirements stipulate at least a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or criminal investigation from an accredited four-year college/university, along with five or more years experience working as a peace officer.

General requirements include:

  • Valid driver’s license
  • Able to use firearms/pass annual firearms competency testing
  • Top physical condition
  • Excellent written and oral communication
  • Able to handle stress
  • Good at problem solving
  • Able to multitask
  • Able to develop and maintain interpersonal relationships
  • Confident public speaker
  • Able to maintain confidentiality
  • Able to pass random drug testing
  • Willing to be on call 24/7

Besides the basic requirements, applicants must demonstrate knowledge of:

  • State, federal and local laws, criminal codes and regulations
  • The detection and investigation of criminal activities
  • Federal and state automated criminal history systems
  • Principles, concepts and practices of criminal justice systems
  • Law enforcement methods, techniques and practices, especially those involving the latest technology

Training – Special agents with the Wyoming DCI are required to hold a peace officer certification established by the Wyoming Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST) Commission. Recruits must spend three months training at the peace officer’s academy in Douglas. Training consists of classroom and field work that prepares recruits for all types of situation that they may encounter on the job. In order to graduate, students must pass a written test, physical fitness test and a psychological evaluation.

In addition, The Division of Criminal Investigation requires special agents to have approximately 40 hours of continuing education every year, including training in clandestine labs and situations involving weapons of mass destruction.

How to Apply – Applications for special agent detective jobs are only accepted when there is an opening. Job descriptions and openings are listed on the Wyoming Department of Human Resources employment website, along with online applications and detailed instructions.

The salary for entry-level special agents is $5,192 – $6,108 a month depending on the recruit’s level of education and experience.

Organization and Structure of the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation

The 36 special agents employed by the Wyoming DCI are assigned to either the headquarters in Cheyenne or one of the field offices located in Afton, Casper, Evanston, Gillette, Laramie, Pinedale, Powell, Rawlins, Riverton, Rock Springs, Sheridan or Torrington.

Special agents are sworn peace officers responsible for monitoring, investigating and analyzing serious criminal activity in Wyoming. Duties include:

  • Analyzing crime scenes
  • Collecting/preserving evidence
  • Interviewing victims and witnesses
  • Executing search warrants
  • Interrogating suspects; making arrests
  • Developing and working with confidential informants
  • Writing investigative reports
  • Coordinating with local and federal law enforcement agencies
  • Performing undercover operations
  • Transporting arrestees
  • Maintaining case files
  • Testifying in court
  • Preparing court/grand jury exhibits

The Wyoming DCI is divided into four sections:

Jurisdictions – Conducts investigations at the request of police departments, district attorneys or the governor. The focus is on the activities of organized crime that cross jurisdictional boundaries, violations of the controlled substance act, computer crimes and the sexual exploitation of children.

Criminal Justice Information Services – Maintains statewide and federal automated records including databases of criminal histories and fingerprints.

Operations – Conducts the majority of special agent investigations of complex crimes related to the violations listed in section one above, as well as specialized teams that focus on computer forensics and criminal intelligence. The criminal intelligence team is the state liaison with INTERPOL the financial crimes investigative network, Rocky Mountain information network and other information systems. This team includes personnel from homeland security, the FBI, and the US Air Force investigative branch.

State Crime Lab – Provides state-of-the-arts forensics services to law enforcement agencies throughout Wyoming and adjoining states.

Serving as a Detective at the Municipal Level in Wyoming

Criminal investigations that are not multi-jurisdictional in nature are often the domain of detectives working for city enforcement agencies. In Wyoming, this includes:

  • The Investigation Division of the Casper Police Department
  • Cheyenne Police Department Detective Division
  • Laramie Police Department Detective Division
  • Gillette Police Department Detective Division
  • Rock Springs Police Department Detective Division

Other agencies that hire criminal investigators in Wyoming include the Office of the Attorney General and the Wyoming Department of Game and Wildlife.

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