How to Become a Criminal Investigator With the Wilmington
Police Department

As Delaware’s largest city, and because of its proximity to surrounding metropolitan areas, Wilmington experiences a higher-than-average rate of crime. Of the many thousands of calls for service that the Wilmington Police Department receives every year, more than 1,000 are related to particularly violent crimes and felonies. The police department refers these cases to its expert detectives, who in 2012, responded to 26 cases of murder and 474 robberies among many other felony crimes.

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Detectives work in several specialized departments within the Wilmington Police Department:

  • Criminal Investigations Division
  • Financial Crimes Unit
  • Drug Division
  • Organized Crime and Vice Division
  • Juvenile Services Unit

In one of their most recent cases, detectives were able to piece together clues found at a crime scene with witness testimony to charge a suspect with murder. Homicide investigators determined that the suspect shot the victim in his car after an argument near the Riverside public housing projects.

Requirements to Become a Detective with the Wilmington Police Department

To become a detective with the Wilmington Police Department, would-be investigators must first serve as patrol officers for at least four years. After demonstrating commitment and skill in their service, patrol officers are eligible to compete for promotional opportunities to fill detective jobs within the department.

During this initial period, officers will have an opportunity to develop key investigative skills performing job duties such as:

  • Investigating complaints and suspicious conditions, making needed arrests
  • Searching for stolen vehicles and missing persons
  • Making initial criminal investigations, including interviews and interrogations

Initial hire requires applicants to meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Have an honorable discharge from the military, if applicable
  • Be a US citizen who has demonstrated a good and moral character

Candidates who are interested in long-term detective jobs with the Wilmington Police Department may consider going beyond these minimum requirements by pursuing a college education in a relevant field of study. Not only will an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree improve a candidate’s initial qualifications, it can also establish an important background in the field of criminal investigations while at the same time open additional career opportunities.

Applicable areas of study include:

  • Criminal Justice
  • Crime Scene Investigation
  • Forensic Science
  • Law Enforcement
  • Police Science
  • Law

Advanced Detective Training Requirements with the Wilmington Police Department

Besides the foundation in investigations established during the 26-week basic police academy, detectives are also sent to area universities as well as local and national training centers to obtain the most up-to-date and advanced criminal investigator training.

Instruction is provided or arranged by the Wilmington Police Department in the key areas of investigative focus according to division or unit, and may include:

  • Training on how to conduct an undercover narcotics operation
  • Conducting prostitution sting operations
  • Advanced homicide investigation training
  • Crime scene reconstruction
  • Conducting domestic violence investigations
  • Computer investigations into cyber criminals and child pornographers
  • Financial crime investigations, especially for bad checks
  • Investigating elderly abuse and manipulation

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