How to Become a Criminal Investigator with the Tucson
Police Department

The Tucson Police Department, which was established in 1871 when the city was just one square mile and had a population of just 3,000, is now a well-established, progressive law enforcement agency that serves a population of more than 523,000 residents and an area of that covers 200 square miles.

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The Tucson Police Department reported a total of 36,988 criminal offenses in 2012, which were broken down as follows:

  • Homicides: 42
  • Sexual assaults: 234
  • Robberies: 1,260
  • Aggravated assaults: 2,314
  • Burglaries: 5,021
  • Larcenies: 25,420
  • Motor vehicle thefts: 2,499
  • Arsons: 198

The Tucson Police Department, which employs a force of 940 sworn officers, is organized into 17 divisions and 40 units/sections. The criminal investigators of the Tucson Police Department work within the following divisions (often referred to as the Detective Divisions):

  • Crimes Against Persons Division
  • Property Crimes Division
  • Special Investigations Division

Becoming a Criminal Investigator with the Tucson Police Department

To become a criminal investigator with the Tucson Police Department, interested applicants must first become police officers with the Department.

Meeting AZPOST Requirements – Becoming a Tucson PD police officer means meeting the requirements established by the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board (AZPOST), which include, among others, being at least 21 years old, having no felony convictions, and being able to pass a pre-employment physical.

Applicants for Tucson Police Department police officer jobs must also be able to successfully complete the employment process, which includes:

  • A written examination
  • A physical fitness evaluation
  • An oral board interview
  • A background investigation
  • A psychological assessment
  • A medical examination and drug screening

Advancing to Detective – To qualify for a detective job with the Tucson Police Department, candidates must have at least 3 years of experience as a police officer.

Although not required, many individuals choose to pursue a formal degree in a related field of study so as to best position themselves for promotion.

Typical degree majors include:

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

Individuals may apply through the City of Tucson’s Online Employment System. Upon registering with the system, applicants can apply by choosing “police officer recruit” under the “view job openings” tab.

Specialized Units that Make up the Tucson PD Detective Division

Crimes Against Persons Division – The Crimes Against Persons Division is broken down into sections, each of which is commanded by a Department lieutenant:

  • Violent Crimes Section
    • Aggravated Assault Unit
    • Homicide Unit
    • Night Detective Unit
    • Robbery Unit
  • Family and Sex Crimes Section
    • Adult Sexual Assault Unit
    • Child Sexual Abuse Unit
    • Dependent Child Unit
    • Domestic Violence Unit
    • Internet Crimes Against Children Unit
    • Sex Offender Registration and Tracking Unit

Property Crimes Division – The Property Crimes Division is organized into the following details:

  • Surveillance
  • Major theft offenders/Pawn Unit
  • Fraud
  • Elder Abuse Task Force
  • Court liaison
  • Burglary
  • Auto theft
  • Arizona Auto Theft Task Force

Special Investigations Division – The Special Investigations Division consists of the following units/details:

  • Gang Investigations Detail
  • Gang Tactical Detail
  • Home Invasion Unit
  • Intelligence Unit
  • Organized Crime Unit
  • Undercover Operations Squad

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