How to Become a Criminal Investigator with the Mesa
Police Department

Mesa is the third largest city in Arizona and was home to more than 439,000 residents, as of 2010. According to the Mesa Police Department, this city had 14,724 incidences of crime in 2013, which included 1,808 crimes against persons and 12,916 property crimes.

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Criminal investigators/detectives with the Mesa Police Department work through the Criminal Investigations Division, which is organized into the following units:

  • Homicide Unit
  • Recovered Property Unit
  • Document and Financial Crimes Unit
  • Organized Crime Unit
  • Person Crimes Unit
  • Violent Crimes Unit
  • Robbery Unit
  • Family Violence Unit
  • Victim Services Unit
  • Sex Offender Notification, Enforcement and Tracking Unit

Steps to Becoming a Detective with the Mesa Police Department

Becoming a detective in Mesa starts by first becoming a police officer with the Mesa Police Department.

Applicants for Mesa Police Department police officer jobs must be at least 21 years old when they graduate the Academy. Although the Department does not require applicants to possess a formal degree beyond a high school diploma, the completion of college-level courses in criminal justice is considered a desirable qualification.

Individuals who are bilingual in English/Spanish are also considered desirable candidates.

Completing the Employment Process – The employment process for police officers in the Mesa Police Department includes the following steps:

  • Prescreening of the application for minimum qualifications (according to AZPOST standards)
  • Physical Fitness Test: Includes 1.5-mile run, and push-ups and sit-ups in one minute)
  • Written test: Consists of a multiple-choice examination that must be passed with a score of 70 percent or better
  • Selection Interview: Consists of a structured interview by three officers; must receive a score of 70 percent of better
  • Background investigation: Includes an interview with an officer and a polygraph examination
  • Human Resources Hiring Review Board: Consists of a Sergeant, Lieutenant, and Commander, each of whom have a recommendation on each applicant
  • Conditional Offer of Employment: Employment contingent upon passing a medical and psychological examination
  • Completion of the Academy

Advancing to Sergeant and Becoming a Detective – To become a criminal investigator with the Mesa Police Department, officers typically need to achieve the position of Sergeant, which requires the successful completion of ONE of the following:

  • At least 4 years of experience as a Mesa police officer AND an associate’s degree or 65 semester hours of college credit within a four-year program


  • At least 7 years of experience as a police officer, with at least 3 of the last years as a Mesa police officer AND at least 45 semester hours of college credit in a four-year program

Many police officers with the Mesa Police Department choose to pursue a college degree program related to the profession, as it may assist them in their promotional efforts. Just a few of the degrees related to the police officer/detective profession include:

  • Criminology
  • Criminal justice
  • Sociology
  • Forensic psychology
  • Justice administration

Individuals can learn of the Department’s next application date by visiting the Department’s Recruitment page.

Criminal Investigations Units Within the Mesa Police Department

  • Homicide Unit: Responsible for conducting follow-up investigations that require additional time and expertise
  • Recovered Property Unit: Responsible for the inspection of pawnshops, the investigation of stolen property related to pawnshop activity, and the recovery of stolen guns and property
  • Document and Financial Crimes Unit: Includes 10 sworn detectives and one sergeant
  • Organized Crime Unit: Responsible for dismantling organized crime syndicates and drug trafficking organizations
  • Person Crimes Unit: Responsible for investigating: homicides, suspicious death, shootings, crimes of violence, robberies, kidnappings, and stalking cases
  • Violent Crimes Unit: Responsible for investigating incidents related to: felony and misdemeanor assaults, terror threats, threats, harassments, kidnappings, hate crimes, school threats, and weapons violations
  • Robbery Unit: Responsible for investigating personal and commercial robberies
  • Family Violence Unit: Responsible for investigating domestic violence cases
  • Victim Services Unit: Responsible for investigating crimes that victimize children
  • Sex Offender Notification, Enforcement and Tracking Unit: Includes three detectives; responsible for managing sex offenders

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