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How to Become a Criminal Investigator with the Dover
Police Department

Detectives with the Dover Police Department (DPD) work out of a dedicated section of the Criminal Investigation Unit called the Detective Section, which investigates all major crimes that take place in the city. This includes investigations into cases of financial fraud and identity theft.

The number of murders in Dover dropped from five to one between 2011 and 2012, and the overall violent crime rate decreased by 12% during this time frame. Still, there were 280 violent crimes for Dover’s detectives to investigate in 2012.

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Joining the Dover Police Department to Become a Criminal Investigator

Aspiring detectives in Dover must first join the DPD as police officers. Those who excel at law enforcement may be promoted to become detectives with the Dover PD Detective Section.

Even when they are not currently hiring, the DPD always accepts applications. Qualifying for police officer jobs with the Delaware Police Department is a competitive process.

Meeting the Qualifications – While the DPD does not require that its officers have a college degree, it prefers applicants who have had college level coursework that applies to law enforcement such as the following areas:

  • Administration
  • Business
  • Counseling
  • Criminal justice
  • Political science
  • Psychology
  • Sociology

All applicants must be able to prove that they have graduated from high school.

Additional qualifications include:

  • Must be 21 years old before completing academy training
  • Must be younger than 36 on the first day of the academy
  • Must be a U.S. citizen
  • Must have vision no worse than 20/200 correctable to 20/20 with soft contact lenses

Automatic Disqualifiers:

  • Having manufactured, delivered, or possessed a drug with those intentions
  • Having the following history of drug use:
    • Ever having used a hallucinogen, heroin, or cocaine
    • Marijuana usage within the past year
    • Any use after having applied to be a police officer
    • No more than five times of amphetamine use without a prescription and/or within five years of filing an application
  • Conviction the following types of crimes:
    • Felony
    • Two DUIs within the past 5 years

Hiring Process – The DPD periodically hosts a seminar on “How to Succeed in the Hiring Process” when it is hiring new officers. Also, the department’s web page on the hiring process provides a link to the minimum standards for the physical test and information on where to order study guides and practice tests for the written exam.

Additional steps in the hiring process include the following:

  • Oral board
  • Background check
  • Chief’s interview

Training – The DPD sends its recruits to the Delaware State Police Training Academy in Dover. This process takes 22 weeks and ranges from academic topics such as computer science and arrest laws to physical training such as first aid and using firearms. Recruits must be willing to be Tasered and sprayed with oleoresin capsicum (OC) spray.

Graduates of the academy go through a field training program before they are permanently assigned to the DPD. All new officers must be prepared to have a Delaware driver’s license by the time they are appointed.

Conducting Criminal Investigations In Dover

Some criminal investigators in Dover work out of the Drug, Vice, & Organized Crime Section (DVOC). They focus on eliminating prostitution and the use and sale of illegal drugs and counterfeit merchandise from Dover.

In addition, a dedicated Gang Intelligence Officer works out of the DVOC. Seizures from this section have included over 2,000 prescription pills and 161 grams of heroin.

Detectives in Dover have been able to make a number of arrests as a result of their investigations. Arrests from April and May 2014 are described here:

Criminal Investigations Unit detectives were able to arrest a man for robbing a woman at a bank at 5:30 AM as she was about to make the night deposit for a local store. The suspect was on parole, and investigators were able to place him in the area at the time of the robbery by tracking his GPS monitoring unit.

A video of the vicious assault of a juvenile on a school bus in Dover led to an extensive investigation. The DPD was able to identify suspects from the video and charged them with third degree assault and conspiracy.

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