How to Become a Criminal Investigator with the Juneau
Police Department

Juneau, Alaska’s capital city, had a population of 30,969 in 2011. Located in the panhandle of Southeast Alaska, Juneau is located about 500 miles southeast of Anchorage.

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The Juneau Police Department, which is the only accredited police agency in Alaska (by the Alaska Law Enforcement Agency Accreditation Commission) and the second largest municipal police department in the State, provides services to both the City and Borough of Juneau covering an area of 3,081 square miles.

How to Become a Detective with the Juneau Police Department

Those interested in working as a criminal investigator for the Juneau Police Department must first become a police officer with the Department. Upon attaining experience through the Department’s Patrol Division, police officers have an excellent chance of getting a lateral assignment to specialized investigative units:

  • Criminal Investigations Unit: Staffed by 5 detectives and 1 sergeant (2 detectives specialize in crimes against people, 2 detectives specialize in crimes against property, and 1 detective works both cases)
  • Metro Drug Unit: Staffed by 2 officers specializing in conducting investigations related to illegal narcotics

Qualifying – To become a Juneau Police Department police officer, individuals must be at least 21 years old and able to complete the following steps:

  • Sign up for officer testing through Public Safety Testing
  • Complete the physical test
  • Complete the Oral Boards (administered by a panel of three JPD supervisors)
  • Complete the Personal History Questionnaire and Suitability Assessment paperwork
  • Submit a Juneau Police Department application
  • Pass a background investigation
  • Pass a polygraph examination
  • Complete psychologist paperwork and interview with a psychologist

Training – After being sworn in, new recruits must then receive a 4 to 6 weeks of in-house training in areas such as: firearms, arrest control tactics, and less-than-lethal systems, among others.

This initial training period is designed to familiarize new officers with the practices of the Juneau Police Department before leaving for Academy training. Academy training is 15 weeks long and runs twice a year (February and August).

Upon completion of Academy training, new officers must then complete a Field Training program, which is 14 weeks long.

Advancing – The Criminal Investigations Unit is a lateral transfer that is accomplished after 3 to 6 years. Police officers chosen for a criminal investigator position with the Juneau Police Department must complete specialized training in:

  • Homicide investigation
  • Sexual assault investigation
  • Child exploitation investigation
  • Crime scene processing
  • Photographing
  • Interviewing

Officers assigned to the drug unit receive specialized training in:

  • Conducting undercover operations
  • Drug buys
  • Methamphetamine lab investigations
  • Information management

Working for the Juneau Police Department

In 2011, the Juneau Police Department reported a 19 percent decrease in overall crime. The Department reported the following crimes:

  • Homicide: 1
  • Sexual assaults: 20
  • Robberies: 23
  • Aggravated assaults: 89
  • Burglaries: 181
  • Thefts: 1,279
  • Motor vehicle thefts: 63
  • Arsons: 6

The Juneau Police Department is divided into two, major divisions: Operations and Administrative Services, which are further organized into the following sections:

  • Patrol
  • Communications
  • Special Operations

The Juneau Police Department currently has a force of 56 sworn officers. Because Juneau is geographically isolated from other major cities in Alaska, the Juneau Police Department must be more self-sufficient than other police departments its size. As such, the Department operates a number of specialized teams, including:

  • SWAT
  • Bomb Disposal
  • Hostage Negotiation

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