How to Become a Criminal Investigator with the Long Beach
Police Department

As the second largest city in the Greater Los Angeles area, Long Beach has a well-established Criminal Investigations Bureau that includes three, sizable and multi-faceted divisions:

  • Detective Division
  • Gang and Violent Crimes Division
  • Forensic Science Services Division
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The Long Beach Police Department Criminal Investigations Bureau also oversees five, on-call teams that operate 24 hours a day:

  • Child Abuse Response Team
  • Crime Lab Response Team
  • Domestic Abuse Response Team
  • Homicide Investigations Team
  • Sexual Assault Response Team

The importance of the work these divisions and teams perform is evident, given the Long Beach Police Department’s violent crime statistics, as of 2013, which included:

  • Murders: 6
  • Rapes: 15
  • Robberies: 187
  • Aggravated assaults: 161

Property crimes in 2013 totaled 2,389, according to the Long Beach Police Department.

Becoming a Detective with the Long Beach Police Department

To become a detective with the Long Beach Police Department, applicants must first become police officers with the Department. To become a police officer recruit, applicants must complete a specific process, which can be broken down into two phases:

  • Civil Service Testing Process (Phase I)
  • Police Department Review and Selection Process (Phase II)

Phase I: Civil Service Department Testing Process

Candidates for police officer positions must first complete a job application and submit it to the Civil Service Department during an open application period. Individuals may also complete a hard copy application, which are available at the Civil Service Department, at 333 West Ocean Boulevard, 7th floor, Long Beach, CA 90802.

Candidates who meet the minimum POST requirements then receive email notification from the Civil Service Department and are invited to complete the written examination, a general knowledge test that assesses an applicant’s ability to learn, apply police information, remember details, complete reports, and utilize judgment and logic skills.

Qualified candidates are then placed on the Civil Service Eligible list, at which time they will receive a certified letter inviting them to attend the Police Recruit Orientation, which is held at the Long Beach Police Academy.

Phase II: Police Department Review and Selection Process

The Police Academy orientation serves as an opportunity for candidates to receive information on the evaluation and hiring process, which includes:

  • Physical Abilities Test (PAT): The PAT is a pass/fail test that is usually given at orientation.
  • Oral interview panel: The oral interview panel is designed to evaluate a candidate’s knowledge of relevant topics, such as their working knowledge of Long Beach, its history and its attractions.
  • Background Assessment Interview
  • Background Investigation: Ensures compliance with California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST); includes a polygraph examination and fingerprinting
  • Medical examination
  • Psychological examination
  • Selection Committee
  • Police Academy training

After serving as a police officer for at least three years, individuals may apply for a specialized position, such as a detective. All candidates for promotion to criminal investigator/detective with the Department must successfully complete the selection process.

The selection process consists of the following

  • Occupational written examination (30 percent)
  • Tactical scene simulation (30 percent)
  • Oral examination, including writing exercise (20 percent)
  • Assessment of Promotability (20 percent)

Many police officers with aspirations of becoming a detective often choose to complete a formal degree in a related field. Just a few of the common majors relevant to detective jobs include:

  • Police science
  • Justice administration
  • Criminal justice
  • Criminology

Criminal Investigative Divisions Within the Long Beach Police Department

Criminal investigators of the Long Beach Police Department’s Investigations Bureau work through one of the following divisions:

Detective Division

The Long Beach Police Department’s Detective Division is responsible for investigating crimes against persons and property. It includes the following sections:

The Crimes against Property Section includes:

  • Night Auto Theft Detail
  • Identity Theft Detail
  • Forgery/Fraud Detail
  • Computer Crimes Detail
  • Burglary Detail
  • Auto Theft Detail

The Family Services Section includes:

  • Sex Crimes Detail
  • Domestic Violence Detail
  • Child/Elder Abuse Detail

The Vice Investigations Section includes:

  • Warrant Detail
  • Management of Criminal Investigations Detail
  • Field Investigations Detail
  • Administrative Vice Detail

Gang and Violent Crimes Division

The Gang and Violent Crimes Division consists of 121 sworn and civilian personnel who are responsible for drug, gang, homicide, and robbery investigations through the following details/sections:

  • Career Criminal Apprehension Team – Targets career criminals; detectives of this team investigate major felonies and conduct sting operations
  • Homicide Detail – Responsible for investigating all homicide cases, kidnapping cases, officer-involved shootings, and in-custody deaths
  • Robbery Detail – Responsible for investigating all forms of robbery
  • Violent Crimes Detail – A general investigative unit that handles crimes such as:

    • Battery
    • Assault with a deadly weapon
    • Stalking
    • Assault on police officers
    • Cruelty to animals
    • Threatening phone calls
    • Vandalism
  • Drug Investigations Section – Responsible for the investigation of all illegal drug sales
  • Gang Enforcement Section – A field enforcement and investigations unit that is focused on gangs and gang-related criminal activity

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