How to Become a Criminal Investigator with the Boise
Police Department

Calls for service to the Boise Police Department (BPD) decreased 8% between 2012 and 2013. Three homicides took place in Boise in 2013 as compared to two in 2012. However, the number of most other major crimes dropped substantially during this time period:

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Number of Crimes
Aggravated assault

In addition, the number of misdemeanor crimes has been dropping steadily since 2009 and was 8.4% lower in 2013 compared to 2012.

The police department in Boise is considered one of the most progressive law enforcement agencies in the Northwest. It has formed partnerships with businesses, schools, community groups, and neighborhoods to fight crime in the city.

Detectives with the Boise Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division (CID) investigate violent crimes along with property crimes and crimes of a financial nature where a viable suspect has been identified.

Becoming a Detective with the Boise PD Criminal Investigation Division

The first step to becoming a detective in Boise is to join the Boise Police Department. New police officers are on probation for a year, at which point they can be promoted annually depending on their performance evaluations.

Officers who show an aptitude for criminal investigations may be promoted to become investigators in the Criminal Investigation Division. This division offers a number of opportunities for criminal investigators to specialize in particular areas.


  • College credit: 64 semester hours

    • An Intermediate POST certificate can substitute for this requirement
  • U.S. citizenship
  • No felony convictions
  • The ability to obtain a valid Idaho driver’s license
  • Excellent vision:

    • Uncorrected 20/200 in each eye (except for contact lens wearers)
    • Strong eye corrected to 20/20
    • Weaker eye corrected to 20/60

Initial Application and Selection Process

The BPD is thorough in selecting its officers. The process of obtaining these types of jobs is highly rigorous and starts with written and physical exams. Applicants select a test date online. The department then invites those who pass these tests to submit an online application.

The selection process includes:

  • Review of application
  • Evaluation of non-cognitive test results
  • Oral interview that assesses the following things:

    • Commitment to serving people equally and fairly
    • Communication skills
    • Interpersonal skills
    • Judgment, decision-making, and problem solving
    • Philosophy of policing
    • Preparation and work experience
  • Personal History Statement
  • Physical fitness test

    • Jumping at least 14” vertically
    • Doing at least 15 sit-ups in 1 minute
    • Doing at least 21 push-ups in 1 minute
    • Running 300 meters in 77 seconds or less
    • Running 1.5 miles in 17:17 minutes or less
  • Polygraph exam
  • Background check includes the following:

    • Credit inquiry
    • Criminal history inquiry
    • Current and past employment
    • Driving history inquiry
    • Neighbor contacts
    • Personal history statement information
    • Personal references and acquaintances
  • Psychological exam (interview and written tests)
  • Medical exam
  • Drug screen
  • Final review

Administration of the BPD reviews all of the information before making a decision on whether to hire applicants. The Chief of Police grants final approval for new hires.

Officer Training:

New officers who are not certified undergo several phases of training, starting with a three week orientation of the department. After this, they train at two academies:

  • Idaho POST for 10 weeks
  • Boise Police Advanced Academy for 9 weeks

Once the recruits have graduated from the academies, they train in the field for 9-14 weeks.

The department requires its officers to take in-service training each year so that they maintain their proficiency, keep their certifications current, and learn new technologies and polices that are being implemented. This training focuses on the following areas:

  • Defensive tactics
  • Emergency vehicle operation
  • Ethics
  • Policies and procedures
  • Weapons proficiency
  • Workplace harassment

The department also offers advanced training options so that officers can advance in their careers to become detectives.

Units within the Boise PD Criminal Investigation Division

Detectives in Boise specialize in a variety of areas so they can best apply their expertise to solving specific types of crimes.

Vice and Narcotics Unit – Detectives from the BPD work as part of the Boise Area Narcotics Drug Interdiction Team (BANDIT) to investigate controlled substance sales, gambling violations, and prostitution. This multi-agency effort also involves the following agencies:

  • ATF
  • DEA
  • Idaho National Guard Counter-Drug Unit

These detectives have been trained to work undercover in a variety of situations and have been able to successfully infiltrate illegal gambling operations and prostitution. They frequently obtain information from confidential informants to target active drug dealers.

BANDIT investigated 281 cases in 2010 and 2011 and seized over 12,700 grams of methamphetamine and nearly 15,000 grams of marijuana. They arrested 250 people during this time frame. Working with Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), detectives with BANDIT investigated three drug trafficking organizations that used Mexican nationals to import methamphetamine into the U.S.

Crimes of Violence Unit – Detectives in this unit work with their peers from a number of different law enforcement agencies by using their specialized knowledge to identify criminals, investigate them, and apprehend those responsible for violent crimes such as:

  • Homicide
  • Rape
  • Aggravated assault and battery
  • Robbery
  • Kidnappings
  • Missing persons

In addition, detectives with the violent crime unit continue to work on open cases related to homicide and missing persons that date back to 1985. These detectives are also part of the Ada County Critical Incident Task Force. This team of experienced investigators are involved in investigating all critical incidents and shootings that involve officers.

Property Crimes Unit – Detectives in this unit specialize in a number of different areas including:

  • Fire/arson investigations
  • Auto theft
  • Post-blast investigations

Also, two detectives have recently been assigned to monitor criminal activity associated with pawnshops. The unit also has a computer forensics expert who often assists other CID sections.

Financial Crimes Unit – Most of the financial crimes in Boise have a paper trail that enables investigators to trace felony cases such as forgeries, counterfeiting, and the unlawful use of financial cards. The unit includes a handwriting and document examination expert who also supports the rest of the CID and the Boise Police Department as a whole.

Special Victims Unit – The members of this unit investigate cases that involve sex crimes and child abuse. It is located at FACES (the Ada County Family Justice Center).

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