How to Become a Criminal Investigator with the Denver
Police Department

The Denver Police Department has been a prominent police force for more than 150 years, particularly during the past, few years, thanks to their presence during the 2008 Democratic National Convention, during which their impressive collaboration with other safety agencies ending up serving as a national model for how to host major events, and in 2009, when they hosted the 116th annual conferences of the Major Cities Chiefs Conference and the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

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The Denver Police Department is a major department that is divided into six geographic and decentralized district commands, each of which has its own stand-alone station. Each district has its own patrol and investigative personnel. The Department’s budget in 2009 stood at nearly $180 million, with more than $26 million of that reserved specifically for investigations. The Denver Police Department actively hires new officers; in 2014 alone, it estimates that it will hire 100 new officers.

In 2008, there were 36,879 incidences of crime in Denver, as reported by the Denver Police Department. In 2009, the number of incidences increased to 39,435, an increase of 6.9 percent. During the same period, homicides decreased, going from 47 in 2008 to 38 in 2009. Other major crimes, such as sexual assault (337 to 409 incidences) and aggravated assaults (1,698 to 1,749 incidences), however, increased during the same period.

The Major Crimes and Investigations Division of the Denver Police Department provides specialized investigations for:

  • Homicides
  • Sex crimes
  • Missing persons
  • Robberies
  • Domestic violence
  • Fraud
  • Victim assistance units

How to Become a Detective with the Denver Police Department

Applicants interested in becoming detectives with the Denver Police Department are best served by first working as a Denver police officer.

All officers with the Denver Police Department begin their careers on patrol. After four years of service, during which time they gain the ability to handle crime scenes and investigations, police officers may apply for specialty assignments, such as criminal investigator, based on their performance.

A formal college degree may also benefit officers who want to become detectives, as it is commonplace for investigators and other senior-level police officers to possess a two- or four-year degree from an accredited college or university.

Related fields include criminology, criminal justice, justice administration, or psychology, just to name a few.

Post Certification and Examination to Become a Patrol Officer – All applicants for Denver Police Department police officer jobs must be able to meet the minimum qualifications as established by the Colorado Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Certification, which include, among others, being a citizen of the United States, being a Colorado resident (at the time of appointment), and being at least 21 years old.

All prospective candidates for Denver police officer jobs must log onto the Denver Civil Service Commission website to access the online job application and testing schedule. Due to the limited number of testing appointments, all scheduling is completed on a first-come, first-serve basis. The civil service test is administered at the Denver Civil Service Commission on the 7th floor of the Wellington Webb Building on 201 West Colfax Avenue in Denver. The written test is a computerized test that includes 44 questions related to punctuation, grammar, spelling, and ease of understanding, and another 62 questions related to human relation skills.

Applicants who successfully pass the written test are then required to complete a video test, which includes video scenarios. The written test and video test scores are combined for a final exam score, which is then used to rank candidates.

Employment and Screening Process – The employment process then commences with the following:

  • Completion of a behavioral questionnaire
  • Completion of a supplemental application and background history form
  • A physical ability test (pass/fail)
  • A written suitability assessment
  • Polygraph examination
  • Suitability assessment/interview
  • Preliminary file review (pass/fail)
  • Background investigation
  • Commission background review (pass/fail)
  • Conditional offer of employment
  • Medical examination
  • Drug screening
  • Fingerprinting
  • Final job offer
  • Basic Recruit Training Program: Consists of 25 to 28 weeks of instruction at the Denver Police Academy; curriculum includes topics such as:
    • Patrol procedures and tactics
    • Computer-based report writing
    • Colorado State statutes and Denver Municipal Code
    • Accident investigations
    • Use of force considerations
    • Crime scene investigations and interviewing
    • Physical fitness
    • Ethics
    • CPR and first aid

The application process begins when the Department announces dates and times on their website. Individuals may also sign up to receive the latest job announcements when they become available.

Specialized Units within the Denver Police Department

Homicide/Robbery Unit – The Homicide/Robbery Unit is responsible for investigating instances where a death occurred; when anything of value is taken from someone by force, by extortion, or through threats or intimidation; and any juvenile weapons violations.

Sex Crimes Unit – The Sex Crimes Unit is responsible for investigating sexual assaults and sexually motivated child abductions by strangers.

Domestic Violence Unit – The Domestic Violence Unit is responsible for investigating domestic violence incidents that involve an assault, kidnapping, menacing, threats, stalking, or restraining order violations.

Fraud/Financial Crimes Unit – The Fraud/Financial Crimes Unit is responsible for investigating complaints related to credit cards, checks, forgeries, and frauds.

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