How to Become a Criminal Investigator with the San Jose
Police Department

With a population of 1,000,536, San Jose is the third largest city in California and home to one of the state’s largest and most well-established police departments. The San Jose Police Department (SJPD) employs more than 1,000 officers who serve out of 5 bureaus, 11 divisions, and more than 50 specialized units/assignments.

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In 2012, the SJPD responded to 32,010 crimes, 28,463 of which were property crimes and 3,547 of which were violent in nature. The incidences of crime in 2012 can be broken down as follows:

  • Homicides: 45
  • Rapes: 280
  • Robberies: 1,208
  • Aggravated assaults: 2,014
  • Burglaries: 5,206
  • Larcenies: 14,498
  • Vehicle theft: 8,759

How to Become a Detective with the San Jose Police Department

San Jose Police Department detectives are most always police officers first. Therefore, to become a detective with the SJPD, individuals must first receive valuable experience as a police officer with the Department.

Minimum Qualifications – To become a police officer with the SJPD, applicants must possess at least 40 semester college credits (60 quarter college credits) from an accredited college or university. Job applicants typically pursue related college degrees fields like criminal justice, criminology, justice administration or police science.

Other minimum requirements include:

  • Must be a U.S. citizen
  • Must meet minimum vision requirements
  • Must have no felony convictions
  • Must have no misdemeanor domestic violence or assault convictions

The Employment Process – Applicants who meet the above minimum requirements must then complete the SJPD police recruit application. The Department then arranges testing dates for potential candidates to take the written exam, physical agility exam, and the 1.5-mile run.

Individuals must meet the minimum acceptable standards on the above tests to complete the remainder of the employment process, which includes:

  • The completion of a personal history questionnaire
  • The completion of an oral board exam (panel interview)
  • Background inquiry process

Note: Police hiring usually occurs about twice a year, and Academy training usually commences in January and July.

Promotion to Detective – Police officers may apply for a sergeant/detective position after three years of experience as a police officer with the City of San Jose and the completion of at least 60 semester college credits (2 years).

Divisions within the San Jose Police Department’s Bureau of Investigations

The San Jose Police Department’s Bureau of Investigations is divided into two divisions:

Investigations Division I

  • Sexual Assaults
  • ICAC Task Force
  • Human trafficking task force
  • Homicides
  • Gang investigations/assaults
  • Family violence
  • Accident reconstruction/auto theft

Investigations Division II

  • Robbery/mission/juvenile
  • Financial crimes/fraud/burglary
  • Covert Response Unit
  • Court liaison

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