How to Become a Criminal Investigator with the Hawaii
Police Department

The total index crime rate for Hawaii County increased 10.3% in 2012. This included violent crimes such as forcible rape, murder, aggravated assault, and robbery along with property crimes such as larceny/theft, motor vehicle theft, and burglary.

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Detectives in Hawaii County investigate these types of crimes out of two separate Criminal Investigations Divisions:

Area 1. One of these divisions operates out of Area 1 that includes the East Hawaii districts of Hāmākua, North Hilo, South Hilo and Puna.

These detectives investigated 2,060 felonies during the 2012-2013 fiscal year. The crimes investigated included:

  • 10 murders
  • 5 attempted murders
  • 480 burglaries
  • 519 thefts
  • 492 financial crimes

Area II.Detectives in this area work in the western districts of Kaʻū, Kona, North Kohala and South Kohala.

Detectives serving Area II investigated:

  • 309 burglaries
  • 208 thefts
  • 105 financial crimes

In addition, intelligence provided by the Criminal Intelligence Unit provides actionable intelligence for detectives to follow up on. In fiscal year 2012-2013, their intelligence resulted in the initiation of 292 criminal investigations.

Two additional detectives work for the Office of Professional Standards at Police Headquarters.

Becoming a Criminal Investigator with the Hawaii Police Department

The first step to becoming a criminal investigator with the Hawaii Police Department is to join the force as a police officer. Selected officers who show an aptitude for investigative work are promoted to become detectives in one of the Criminal Investigations Divisions.

Meeting Requirement. The Hawaii Police Department requires that its prospective officers have education and experience comparable to having graduated from high school. Many applicants obtain a college degree in law enforcement or criminal justice to enhance their chances of being hired.

Basic requirements include:

  • Being at least 21 years old by the closing date for the position
  • Being one of the following:
    • U.S. citizen
    • Resident alien (national or permanent)
    • Eligible for unrestricted employment under federal law
  • Having a valid driver’s license (from Hawaii or another state)
  • Being qualified to legally use any firearm or ammunition
  • Excellent vision:
    • Soft contact lenses: 20/200 correctable to 20/20
    • Hard contact lenses/glasses: 20/40 correctable to 20/20

Candidates are expected to be able to:

  • Learn and explain regulations, ordinances, and laws
  • Learn police methods, techniques, principles, and practices
  • Follow written and oral instructions
  • Interact courteously, but firmly with the general public
  • Keep records
  • Learn the county’s geography and its social, racial, and economic composition
  • Prepare simple reports
  • Operate office, other equipment, and appliances

Training for Officers of the Hawaii Police Department

New Recruit Training – The Training Section of the Administrative Services Division is responsible for training new recruits. Field training officers educate new recruits during ride alongs and evaluations. Field training officers provide instruction in:

  • Constitutional and citizens’ rights
  • Statutes (federal, state, and county)
  • Interview and interrogation
  • Principles of police patrol
  • Practical applications of criminal investigations

The Special Response Team trains new recruits in such areas as basic tactics and active shooter response. They also manage the firearms instructor program.

In-Service and Advanced Training – Several units within the Department provide in-service training to officers. This includes the Office of Professional Standards and the Criminal Intelligence Unit.

Criminal Investigations personnel take part in a wide variety of advanced training courses taught by nationally recognized experts. Some of the topics covered include:

  • Investigations of traffic crashes and traffic homicides on the scene
  • Domestic violence training
  • Sexual assault training
  • Courtroom testimony and presentation
  • Drug investigations
  • Deportation proceedings

Criminal Investigative Sections Within the Hawaii Police Department

Criminal Investigations Section – The detectives in this section investigate all major crimes including:

  • Murders
  • Major property crimes
  • Felony assaults
  • Financial crimes

These detectives also respond to all child deaths, reported suicides, and other deaths with questionable circumstances.

Juvenile Aid Sections – These detectives primarily investigate the sexual assault of adults and minors, Internet crimes involving child exploitation, and domestic violence. They also investigate the following crimes by juveniles:

  • Curfew violators
  • Runaways
  • Truants
  • Juveniles involved in serious crimes

The three specialized units of this section include:

  • Domestic Violence Unit
  • General Detail Unit
  • Sex Crimes Unit

Vice Sections – These sections prevent and suppress gambling, prostitution, the importation and distribution of illegal narcotics, and cruelty to animals. Along with the General Detail, they have two task forces: the Ice Task Force and the Airport Task Force. The latter focuses its investigations on narcotics trafficking. The greatest drug threat to the island is crystal meth, which is constantly being imported from the West Coast and Honolulu.

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