How to Become a Criminal Investigator with the Huntsville
Police Department

As of 2011, the Huntsville Police Department had a police force of 408, which included:

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  • Command staff: 8
  • Police lieutenants: 12
  • Police sergeants: 33
  • Police investigators: 47
  • Crime analyst: 1
  • Police officers: 289
  • Part-time police officers: 18.

During the same time, there were 13 homicides, 96 rapes, 443 robberies, 6,013 assaults, 2,743 burglaries, 5,454 larcenies, and 882 auto thefts.

The Huntsville Police Department is organized into three precincts, all of which are staffed with investigators:

  • South Precinct: Includes 3 investigative sergeants and 27 investigators
  • North Precinct: Includes an investigative sergeant, 7 general investigators, and 5 burglary task force investigators
  • West Precinct: Includes an investigative sergeant and 10 investigators

How to Become a Criminal Investigator with the Huntsville Police Department

To become a detective with the Huntsville Police Department, individuals typically first serve as police officers within the Department.

Qualifications – To become a police officer, candidates must be at least 20 years old (21 years old at the time of Academy graduation), and they must possess a valid driver’s license.

Although applicants are not required to possess education beyond a high school diploma/GED to become a Huntsville police officer, many in this field nevertheless choose to complete a formal college degree program in criminal justice or a related field so as to enjoy more opportunities for career advancement.

The employment process to become a police officer with the Huntsville Police Department includes an interview with the interview board, a drug screening, a medical examination, a polygraph, and the completion of Academy training. Candidates are expected to pass a physical agility/physical abilities test, a video entrance exam, and a background investigation.

Applicants can apply online through the City of Huntsville’s website.

Advancement – Upon working as a police officer for at least 5 years, 2 of which must be with the Huntsville Police Department, individuals are qualified to apply for an investigator job with the Department. However, because the Department recognizes additional education, it is possible that police officers may qualify for investigator jobs with less experience if they possess a formal degree program. Just a few of the college majors pursued by individuals in this profession include:

  • Criminal justice
  • Criminology
  • Justice administration
  • Sociology
  • Psychology
  • Forensic psychology
  • Police science

The Criminal Investigative Division of the Huntsville Police Department

The Criminal Investigative Division of the Huntsville Police Department is organized into the following units:

  • Domestic Violence/Child Abuse Unit: Responsible for investigating cases involving family violence as described by law
  • Major Crimes Unit: Includes Homicide/sex crimes investigators, vehicular homicide investigators, crime scene investigators, and sex offender identification and tracking investigators; in 2011, the Major Crimes Unit conducted 13 homicide investigations and 17 traffic fatality investigations
  • STAC Team: A multi-jurisdictional federal drug task force that is led by the Huntsville Police Department; in 2011, STAC handled 984 cases, 525 arrests, and confiscated more than 350 pounds of marijuana, 14 kilograms of cocaine, and more than 3,600 doses of prescription medication.

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