How to Become a Criminal Investigator in Alaska

According to the Alaska Department of Public Safety, in 2012 Alaska’s crime index stood at 1.2 percent, which represented 24,438 total offenses throughout the State, a slight increase from 2011, during which time there were 23,353 total offenses.

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Violent crimes comprised 4,347 of the total offenses in 2012, according to the Department of Public Safety. Murder rates have remained steady in Alaska in the past five years, with 30 reported in 2012, 31 reported in 2011, and 32 reported in 2010.

The FBI reported that, in 2013, Alaska had 731,449 residents and 4,412 incidences of violent crimes.

Detectives in Alaska may work through state or regional agencies to perform detailed investigations of felony cases.

State-Level Criminal Investigator Jobs in Alaska

Department of Public Safety, Alaska Bureau of Investigation – The Alaska Bureau of Investigation (ABI) is responsible for coordinating and conducting all major criminal investigations within the jurisdiction of the Alaska State Troopers. Criminal investigations may involve homicides, fraud, forgery, internet crimes, mission persons, and sexual assaults, just to name a few.

It is commonplace for criminal investigators with the ABI to work with other law enforcement agencies throughout the state. As of January 2011, the ABI now serves as the parent agency for the Alaska Bureau of Alcohol and Drug Enforcement (now called the Statewide Drug Enforcement Unit).

Criminal investigators of the ABI may work through one of the agency’s specialized units located in:

  • Anchorage
  • Mat-Su
  • Fairbanks
  • Soldotna
  • Southeast Alaska
  • Western Alaska

The ABI is organized into a number of units, which include:

  • Major Crimes Unit: Includes investigations of homicide, suicide, unexplained deaths, sexual assaults, deadly force, robbery, or other serious crimes against individuals
  • Technical crimes unit
  • Property crimes unit
  • Financial crimes unit
  • Child abuse investigation units
  • Cold case investigation units
  • Statewide drug enforcement units
  • Missing persons clearinghouse

Alaska Department of Revenue – The Department of Revenue, Criminal Investigations Unit, enforces the Department of Revenue’s criminal laws and engages in data exchange and joint operations with other law enforcement agencies throughout Alaska.

Regional Criminal Investigator Jobs in Alaska

Criminal investigators may work throughout the State of Alaska in county or city police departments, the largest of which include:

Juneau Police Department, Criminal Investigations Unit – The Juneau Police Department, Criminal Investigations Unit consists of seven officers and one sergeant, with two officers being assigned to the drug unit.

Fairbanks Police Department, Investigations Division – The Fairbanks Police Department, Investigations Division consists of one lieutenant; one drug investigator; one detective and one investigator in the Property Crimes Unit; and three detectives in the Crimes against Persons unit.

Anchorage Police Department, Detective Division – The Anchorage Police Department, Detective Division, consists of a captain and two lieutenants who oversee the following units, all of which are managed by a sergeant:

  • Homicide
  • Assault/robbery
  • Burglary
  • Theft
  • Financial crimes
  • Crimes against children
  • Special victims unit
  • Cyber crimes
  • Vice

How to Become a Criminal Investigator in Alaska

Law enforcement professionals who want to become detectives at either the state or regional level in Alaska must possess, at a minimum, a high school diploma or GED. However, it is typical for law enforcement agencies to reward candidates who have completed a post-secondary college education. For example, candidates for Alaska State trooper jobs may receive an education incentive pay increase of 3.75 percent if they possess a bachelor’s degree.

Common degree programs for individuals interested in working as detectives include:

  • Criminal justice
  • Criminology
  • Police science
  • Justice administration

Candidates for criminal investigator jobs with the Alaska Bureau of Investigation must have completed the Department of Public Safety Academy training in Sitka and worked as a state trooper recruit for at least 12 months before being eligible to work as full-service Alaska State troopers and be eligible for advancement to a criminal investigator position.

A recent job posting for a Sergeant with the Department of Public Safety requires candidates to possess at least three years of experience as a law enforcement officer certified by the Alaska Police Standards Council or an equivalent agency.

Experience as a law enforcement officer is a prerequisite for criminal investigator jobs at the local level, as well. For example, the Juneau Police Department accepts lateral transfers to its Criminal Investigations Unit from candidates who have been working as police officers for at least 3 to 6 years.

A transfer to the Criminal Investigations Unit in Juneau requires the completion of special training in areas such as: homicide investigation, sexual assault investigation, and child exploitation investigation.

The Fairbanks and Anchorage Police Departments have similar requirements, as police officers with the Department may be promoted to detective, sergeant, lieutenant, and deputy chief positions after having gained experience as a police officer.

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