How to Become a Criminal Investigator in Indiana

More than 22,600 violent crimes were reported in Indiana in 2012. This included 310 cases of murder and non-negligent manslaughter. Violent crime has been a particular problem in Indianapolis in recent years with more than 9,900 violent crimes reported in the city during 2012. The murder rate in Indianapolis during 2013 exceeded that of Chicago.

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Detectives working for the Indiana State Police Criminal Investigation Division (CID) investigate these violent crimes as well as white-collar crimes related to fraud, corruption and racketeering. The Indiana CID employs 265 sworn officers who work out of the following sections:

  • Criminal Field Operation
  • Criminal Intelligence Section
  • Drug Enforcement Section
  • Meth Suppression Section
  • Special Investigation Section

January 2014 provided an example of the interagency work that takes place in the Indiana Criminal Investigative Division. Detectives with its Lowell District worked in conjunction with the FBI and the Sheriff’s Departments of Kalamazoo and Washtenaw Counties to try and find a missing doctor from Michigan.

Requirements to Become a Detective with the Indiana Department of Public Safety

Detectives for the state of Indiana start their careers as state troopers on road patrol. From there, they can be promoted to criminal investigators. The state requires its prospective troopers to meet a number of requirements without exception.

Meeting Requirements – The basic educational requirement to become a state trooper in Indiana is a high school education (a diploma or GED). However, given the high degree of competition for these jobs, many applicants choose to get at least an associate’s degree in fields such as criminal justice or law enforcement.

General basic requirements include:

  • U.S. citizenship
  • Being at least 21 years old, but no older than 40 when appointed
  • Vision correctable to 20/50
  • Valid driver’s license
  • Willingness to live and work anywhere in Indiana

Selection Process – Becoming a state trooper is a lengthy and in-depth process that takes about seven months. The components of the selection process include the following:

  • Application
  • Examination (written)
  • Physical ability tests
  • Interview
  • Polygraph test
  • Background check
  • Medical and psychological examinations
  • Drug and alcohol screening
  • Superintendent’s review

New Recruit Training – Trooper trainees attend the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in Plainfield, which operates much like a military academy. The new recruits take part in over 600 hours of academic and field training. Major areas of instruction include:

  • Criminal and traffic law
  • EMS awareness
  • Firearms
  • Operating emergency vehicles
  • Physical tactics

The trainees also study the following topics:

  • Accident investigation
  • Crime prevention
  • Criminal investigation
  • Domestic violence and sexual assault
  • Drugs and narcotics
  • Standardized Field Sobriety Test
  • Water rescue training

Graduates of the academy become Indiana state troopers and are on probation for a year before being eligible to be considered for criminal investigator jobs.

Specialized Units within Indiana’s Criminal Investigation Division

In addition to investigating major crimes, the Criminal Investigation Division of the Indiana State Police also conducts specialized investigations and assists other law enforcement agencies. Some of the sections that employ detectives at the state level in Indiana are described below.

Special Investigation Section – Of the three units of this section, two of them use detectives who serve as investigative specialists in particular areas. Five detectives work in the Crimes Against Children Unit. They use the latest technology to investigate people who possess and distribute child pornography. In addition, six detectives work in the Organized Crime and Corruption Unit investigating internal employee theft, political corruption, and investment scams.

Criminal Field Operation – Detectives in field operations investigate major crimes and assist other agencies with their investigations. They work in each of the state’s 14 districts as well as with several federal task forces. North Criminal Operations works out of offices located in Fort Wayne and Lowell.

Detectives with South Criminal Operations work out of offices located in Evansville, Indianapolis and Sellersburg.

Indiana’s Municipal and County Criminal Investigation Divisions

In addition to working for the Indiana State Police, state residents who want to become detectives in Indiana have a number of options with local law enforcement agencies throughout the state. The following agencies have specialized criminal investigation divisions:

  • Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Criminal Investigations Division
  • Noblesville Police Department Criminal Investigation Division
  • Muncie Police Department Criminal Investigations Division
  • Allen County Sheriff’s Department Criminal Investigations Division
  • Elkhart Police Department Criminal Investigations
  • South Bend Police Department Investigative Division
  • Lake County Police Department Criminal Investigations Division
  • Zionsville Police Department Criminal Investigations Division
  • Edinburgh Police Department Investigations Division
  • Logansport Police Department Investigations
    • Juvenile Investigations
    • Adult Investigations
    • Drug Task Force

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