How to Become a Criminal Investigator with the Tampa
Police Department

In 2000, the overall crime rate for the city of Tampa (1004.1) was more than three times greater than the national average of 301.1. The dedicated officers and detectives of the Tampa Police Department were determined to rescue their city from high crime rates and their efforts resulted in a steady reduction in crime over the decade. By 2012 the overall crime rate in Tampa was 288.9, well below the national average.

Detectives of the Tampa Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division handle all long term, latent investigations, which allows the Department’s uniformed patrol officers to concentrate on day-to-day operations.

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Becoming a Detective with the Tampa Police Department

Tampa police must serve a minimum of one year as a uniformed police officer before being eligible to become a detective with the criminal investigation division.

The hourly salary of a beginning detective is $32.51 with incremental raises up to $40.67 with an extra 60 cents an hour for evening shifts.

The Tampa Police Department places a premium on college education and offers an additional $30 a month for detectives with an associate’s degree and an additional $80 for those with a bachelor’s.

Education and Experience Requirements – Candidates for Criminal Investigations Division detective jobs must have at least one year experience as a full-time sworn officer with the Tampa PD, satisfactory or better performance evaluations and at least one full year of college credits.

Officers who have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree are given preference. Those who advance to supervisory positions generally hold a bachelor’s or master’s degree in an appropriate field like criminal justice.

The importance of a good education cannot be understated. In addition to her 30 years of exemplary experience as a police officer, Tampa’s Chief of Police Jane Carter holds a Bachelor of Science in Criminology, a Master’s degree in Public Administration and she is a graduate of the prestigious FBI National Academy.

Satisfying the Basic Requirements – Other basic requirements for becoming a criminal investigator include:

  • Over the age of 21
  • United States citizen
  • Knowledge of police methods and procedures
  • Knowledge of criminal and civil laws
  • Familiar with local geography
  • Proficient in the use and care of firearms
  • Able to conduct thorough investigations
  • Able to respond quickly to emergencies
  • Willing to work nights, weekends and holidays
  • Knowledge of interview techniques
  • Knowledge of crime scene investigation/evidence collection
  • Excellent verbal expression
  • Basic knowledge of photography
  • Willing to work undercover

Hiring Process – The initial hiring process for police officer jobs with the Tampa PD includes the following steps (each step must be completed before advancing):

  • Complete and submit application
  • Pass physical abilities test
  • Polygraph
  • Background investigation
  • Personal interview
  • Medical examination
  • Psychological evaluation
  • Job offer contingent upon completing training

Training – New recruits are required to participate in a six-week orientation that includes field training in firearms, vehicle operations, physical fitness and defensive tactics. There is also classroom work in such subjects as:

  • Standard operating procedures
  • Domestic violence
  • Human diversity
  • Mental health
  • Juvenile offenders
  • Ethics

Veteran police officers receive annual continuing education that focuses on new laws and updates to criminal procedures as well as maintaining physical fitness and firearms proficiency Specialized training in subjects like narcotics investigations, forensics, etc. are provided for those beginning a new assignment or just wanting to better themselves.

Organization of the Tampa PD Criminal Investigation Division

The Criminal Investigation Division of the Tampa Police Department is divided into three bureaus:

  • Major Crimes Bureau – Handles homicides, sex crimes, child abuse, hit and runs, forensic investigations and fugitive apprehensions.
  • Strategic Investigations Bureau – Responsible for undercover operations as well as investigating narcotics trafficking and serious firearms violations.
  • Communications Bureau – Receives records and dispatches all citizen calls.

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