How to Become a Criminal Investigator with the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office

In 2013, the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office handled more than 335,000 incoming and outgoing non-emergency, 911, and dispatch calls. Between 2010 and 2012, Sheriff’s Office investigators were assigned 20,176 cases, about 11,000 of which came from unincorporated Arapahoe County.

The Investigative Services Unit of the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office, which is part of the Public Safety Bureau, is responsible for identifying suspects, apprehending criminals, collecting evidence, providing victim services, and protecting the public.

The investigators of Investigative Services Unit are assigned to either persons or property crimes. In addition, some crimes call for the services of investigative specialists, who work through areas such as crime against children, juvenile offenders, and financial and computer crimes.

Members of Investigative Services also participate in a number of task forces, which are focused on investigating auto theft, terrorism, drug sales, and recovering fugitives from justice, among other areas of law enforcement and criminal investigations.

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How to Become a Detective with the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office

Before applicants can become detectives with the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office, they must become deputy sheriffs and gain valuable experience with the Sheriff’s Office. Therefore, to become a criminal investigator, individuals must first become sheriff’s deputies.

To become a sheriff’s deputy, applicants must first meet the minimum requirements of the Sheriff’s Office, which includes:

  • Must be at least 21 years old
  • Must be a United States citizen
  • Must have no felony convictions
  • Must be Colorado POST certified
  • Must have no recent illegal drug usage (marijuana in the past year and hard drugs in the past 5 years)

All candidates for sheriff’s deputy jobs must be able to complete the selection process, which includes the successful completion of:

  • Written test
  • Oral interview
  • Skills test
  • Polygraph examination
  • Psychological evaluation
  • Medical examination
  • Drug screen

All new hires must complete a 15-week basic academy program, where their training officers evaluate them on a daily basis. During this period of training, new officers receive training in areas such as:

  • Search and seizure
  • Law enforcement driving
  • Use of force
  • Officer safety
  • Constitutional rights of citizens
  • Community policing

Although a post-secondary education is not a requirement to become a sheriff’s deputy with the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office, it may prove helpful when seeking promotion to detective jobs that may become available. Associate’s and bachelor’s degree programs typically sought by individuals in this field include:

  • Criminal justice
  • Criminology
  • Police science
  • Justice administration

During period of open recruitment, the Sheriff’s Office posts the job opening on the Arapahoe County Job Opportunities page.

Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office Investigative Services Unit

Cold Case Investigations – The Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office established its Cold Case Unit in 2005, which is responsible for focusing its efforts on unsolved homicides, missing persons cases of a suspicious or unexplained nature, and equivocal death investigations.

Task Forces – Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office investigators participate in a number of local, state, and federal task forces:

  • Front Range Task Force: Responsible for investigating high- to high-level drug trafficking organizations
  • Joint Terrorism Task Force: National task force responsible for averting possible attacks on the U.S.
  • Metro Gang Task Force: Coordinates local, state, and federal resources for long-term investigations of drug trafficking organizations that are violent and gang-related
  • Rocky Mountain Safe Streets Task Force: Responsible for local, state and federal joint investigations of violent criminal offenders and enterprises
  • East Metro Auto Theft Task Force: Multi-agency investigative team responsible for reducing auto thefts and related crimes

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