How to Become a Criminal Investigator with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department

Orange County has a population of more than 2 million and a low crime rate when compared to other counties in California its size.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department reported that, in 2012, there were 258 cases of violent crime, which included 33 robberies and 216 aggravated assaults.

Property crimes during the same period totaled 1,405, and included:

  • 338 burglaries
  • 954 larcenies
  • 113 motor vehicle thefts
  • 3 arsons

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How to Become a Detective with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department

Those who want to become detectives with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department must first achieve a position as a deputy sheriff and gain valuable experience by working in this capacity for at least 3 years.

After completing the employment process and the 28-week Academy, all new recruits are promoted to Deputy Sheriff I. After two years of experience, individuals may then be promoted to investigator/deputy special assignments, where they can partake in criminal investigations with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.

Individuals pursuing criminal investigator jobs with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department may also increase their chances of promotion by completing a formal degree program in a field related to the profession. Whether through an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, candidates often choose to study topics such as:

  • Criminal justice
  • Criminology
  • Sociology
  • Psychology
  • Justice administration

To receive information about upcoming hiring dates and recruitment events, individuals should complete and submit an online interest card. Additional information can also be obtained by contacting the Department at 1-877-SHERIFF.

To apply for a deputy sheriff job, individuals must complete an application through the Human Resources Services of Orange County and ensure they meet the minimum qualifications for employment. Among other things, candidates must be at least 20 years old by the date of appointment, they must have no prior felony convictions, and they must be able to pass a comprehensive background investigation.

Criminal Investigations Divisions Within the Orange County Sheriff’s Department

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department (formally named the Orange County Sheriff–Coroner Department) is a large law enforcement agency that employs more than 4,000 sworn and professional staff members. The Sheriff’s Department is organized into 5 organizational Commands, which are then broken down into 21 Divisions.

The 5 commands include:

  • Executive Command
  • Administrative Services Command
  • Custody Operations and Court Services Command
  • Field Operations and Investigative Services Command
  • Professional Services Command

The criminal investigators/detectives of the Sheriff’s Department work out of the Operations and Investigative Services Command, which includes the following:

  • Airport Operations
  • Homeland Security
  • North and South Patrol Operations and Investigations

The Investigations Division includes the Criminal Investigations Bureau and the Special Investigations Bureau.

Criminal Investigations Bureau is responsible for investigating:

  • General investigations
  • Homicides
  • Sex crimes
  • Family violence crimes
  • Economic and computer crimes
  • Specialized county/city task forces

Special Investigations Bureau is responsible for investigating violations of laws related to:

  • Narcotics substance abuse
  • Suppression of street gangs
  • Vice activities

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