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

With Richmond County’s territory including the city of Augusta, the Sheriff’s Office reported a large number of cases for 2012. There were 25,253 total cases that year. 18 murders were reported in 2012, along with 2,775 cases of domestic violence.

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The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office investigates all of the criminal activity in the county. When possible, cases are resolved by the Patrol Division. The Criminal Investigative Division (CID) has detectives that handle more complex cases. This division responds to all of the major cases and crime scenes within the county round the clock.

The CID has three main sections:

  • Property Crimes Section
  • Technical Crimes Section
  • Violent Crimes Section

Specialized criminal investigators work with the Violent Crimes Section to investigate registered sex offenders, sex crimes, and homicides.

Requirements to Become a Criminal Investigator in Richmond County

Sheriff’s deputies start their careers with the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office by being on patrol. Selected officers are promoted to the CID.

Meeting Basic Requirements – A high school education is required to become a sheriff’s deputy in Richmond County. Given the high level of selection involved in joining this office, many applicants choose to improve their desirability for these positions by obtaining formal college training in such fields as criminal justice or law enforcement.

Basic requirements include:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Successful completion of at least one of the required college entrance exams (unless already PBLE certified)
  • Not have any of the following convictions:
    • Any that would have resulted in state or federal imprisonment
    • Misdemeanors sufficient to establish a pattern of disregard for the law
    • Domestic violence

Application Requirements – Applicants must submit their applications in person during the workday on Tuesdays and Thursdays along with legible copies of the following documents:

  • Valid driver’s license (GA or SC)
  • Social security card
  • Proof of a high school education
  • Birth certificate
  • DD214 Member 4 (if applicable)
  • College entrance exam: printout of successful completion
    • ASSET and COMPASS exams can be taken at local colleges

Hiring Process – All applications are reviewed and are kept active for two years if there are no disqualifying factors. Applicants are selected for jobs through the following procedures:

  • Criminal history check (including a fingerprint search of federal, state, and local databases)
  • Check of driver’s records
  • Interview with the Applicant Screening Board
  • Psychological screening exam
  • Polygraph exam within five days of passing the psych screen
  • Interview with the Sheriff and/or the Senior Leadership Team
  • Background check by the Internal Affairs Division to verify the following types of information:
    • Criminal history
    • Employment history
    • Qualifying credentials
    • At least three references

The Sheriff’s Office will make a conditional offer of employment to applicants who successfully complete all these phases. At this point, they must pass a physical exam and a drug screen before proceeding on to training. This process generally takes less than six weeks. Factors that could extend this process include the following:

  • A slow response by former employers and references
  • Not having appointments available for the physical exam
  • Only being able to hire new employees at the beginning of a new pay period.

Training to Become a Criminal Investigator for the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office

New Recruit Training – The state of Georgia mandates that new sheriff’s deputies be trained for six weeks as an approved academy. Most candidates will receive their training at the CSRA Police Academy in Blythe. All of the courses are POST certified. Some of the potential courses include the following:

  • Crime scene investigation
  • Criminal procedure
  • DUI detection and field sobriety testing
  • Domestic violence
  • Drug identification
  • Emergency medical responder
  • Interviews and interrogations
  • LIDAR speed measurement
  • Officer survival
  • On-scene traffic accident investigation
  • Weight training and fitness
  • Firearms instruction:
    • Semi-automatic pistol
    • Shotgun skills
    • Tactical submachine gun

Candidates may also be sent to other academies in Georgia.

Additional Training – After the recruits have graduated from the academy, they will be trained for an additional three weeks at the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office (RCSO) Training Center. This facility covers 500 acres in Blythe and has the following components:

  • Firing ranges (3)
  • Classrooms (3 that can hold 45 students)
  • Shoot house
  • EVOC course

The RCSO Training Center aspires to be the premier facility in the Southeast for training law enforcement officers. In-service training topics may include the following:

  • Active shooter response
  • Community oriented and problem oriented policing
  • Firearms skills and requalification
  • First aid and CPR
  • GCIC security
  • Handcuffing
  • Judgmental shooting drills
  • Tactical vehicle pullover and gangs
  • TASER certification
  • Weapon retention

After completing this training, new officers are assigned to one of the uniformed precincts for 12 weeks of hands-on training under the tutelage of a certified Field Training Officer. Once this has completed, officers work on their own. They will continue to be evaluated and receive follow-up training. New officers are on a 12-month probationary period.

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