How to Become a Criminal Investigator with the Bakersfield
Police Department

The dedicated men and women of the Bakersfield Police Department serve the city of Bakersfield, including its 355,696 residents. In 2012 alone there were 1,929 violent crimes reported in the city, which included:

  • Murders/manslaughters: 34
  • Forcible rapes: 57
  • Robberies: 697
  • Aggravated assaults: 1,1434

The Department also received 17,754 reports of property crimes during the same time. Investigating these crimes through witness interviews, evidence analysis and suspect interrogations is the domain of the Bakersfield Police Department Investigations Division.

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How to Become a Detective with the Bakersfield Police Department

The majority of the time, criminal investigators begin their career as police officers. This means that the first step to becoming a detective in Bakersfield usually begins with securing a job as a Bakersfield Police Department police officer.

Joining the Bakersfield PD – To become a police officer with the Bakersfield Police Department, applicants must possess a valid California driver’s license and complete a basic POST (Police Officer Standard Training) certificate within one year of appointment.

The employment process includes:

  • Successful completion of a written examination
  • Successful completion of a physical agility examination
  • Completion of a psychological evaluation
  • Completion of a background investigation
  • Completion of an oral examination
  • Completion of Academy training

All applicants for police officer jobs must be at least 20 ½ years old on the date of the examination and must meet all minimum standards as established by POST.

Information on recruitment events and upcoming hiring events can be found on the City of Bakersfield’s Human Resources page or by contacting the Police Department’s Recruiting Department at recruiting@bakersfieldpd.us.

Career Progression to Detective – Patrol officers who want to become detectives must, at a minimum, complete at least 4 years as a police officer, with at least the final year of experience gained through service with the Bakersfield Police Department. They must then complete a POST Intermediate Certificate, which includes:

  • The completion of a pass/fail written examination
  • An interview with the oral evaluation board
  • Recommendations

Individuals in this field also often complete a formal degree program at the associate’s or bachelor’s level, as it may prove beneficial when advancing to higher-ranking positions. Just a few of the typical majors pursued by individuals in the field of criminal investigations include:

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

Bakersfield Police Department Investigative Units

Detectives within the Bakersfield Police Department oversee the Investigations Division, which includes:

Auto Theft/Burglary Detail – Investigates vehicle theft as well as residential and commercial burglaries

Child Abuse/Sexual Assault Detail – Investigates reports of child abuse, missing children cases, runaways, and the sexual assault of both adults and juveniles

Crime Scene Unit – Responds to all major crimes scenes to assist in the investigation of homicides, bank robberies, sexual assaults, armed robberies, burglaries, and officer-involved shootings

Financial Crimes/Elder Abuse Detail – Investigates white-collar crimes, including financial and fraud-related crimes such as embezzlement, credit card fraud, organized criminal enterprises, false financial statements, financial elder abuse, and real estate fraud

Narcotics Detail – Investigates narcotics-related offenses such as clandestine labs and organized drug rings

Robbery/Homicide Detail/Cold Cases – Investigates murders, robberies, felonies, misdemeanor assaults, and abductions

Vice Detail – Joint vice unit with the Kern County Sheriff’s Department; conducts undercover surveillance and investigations involving vice crimes, such as prostitution, gambling and alcohol offenses, and investigations into adult entertainment establishments

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