How to Become a Criminal Investigator with the Evansville
Police Department

Investigators with the Evansville Police Department (EPD) work out of the department’s Criminal Investigation Division (CID). These detectives are responsible for investigating the following types of crime in Evansville:

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  • Felonies
  • Juvenile crimes
  • Investigations of an unusual or sensitive nature
  • Narcotic violations

Violent crime has been an increasing problem in Evansville. The EPD reported that 560 such crimes took place in 2012, representing an increase of 14% since 2011.

In particular, there were eight cases of murder and nonnegligent manslaughter in Evansville in 2012— nearly three times as many as took place in 2011. The rates of robbery and aggravated assault also increased during that time frame.

How to Become a Detective with the Evansville Police Department

While sixty-seven officers provide specialized investigative services out of the CID, all of the new recruits to the force receive 43 hours of training in criminal investigation and forensic science during their time at the Southwest Indiana Law Enforcement Academy. Those who show aptitude in these areas can be promoted to the CID to specialize in criminal investigations.

In addition to joining the EPD as a lateral transfer, U.S. citizens can start on the path to become a criminal investigator in Evansville by joining the EPD. Applicants must meet a number of standards to be able to apply.

Educational Requirements:

Applicants must have at least a high school education to be able to apply to join the EPD. Those with a GED must have one of the following:

  • 30 semester college credits
  • At least two years of military service

Since obtaining police officer jobs is a highly competitive process, many applicants avail themselves of the college training available in police science, law enforcement, or criminal justice. Some applicants study aspects of human behavior such as psychology or sociology before becoming police officers.

Additional Requirements:

  • Be 21-35 years old when the application is turned in
  • Not have any felony or domestic violence convictions
  • Not have used any hallucinogenic drugs
  • Have an honorable discharge (if applicable)
  • Have a valid driver’s license
  • Have excellent vision:
    • 20/100 in both eyes uncorrected
    • Correctable to 20/30 if a long time user of soft contact lenses

Hiring Process:

This can take up to six months and involves the following steps:

  • Physical fitness test (pass/fail)
    • The department offers the chance to practice for this test several weeks before the mandatory testing
  • Written exam (30% of applicant’s score)
    • Study guides are provided to those who pass the physical fitness test
    • Applicants can take part in voluntary study sessions that involve a practice test and information on preparing for the oral interview
  • Oral interview (40% of score)
  • Assessment center written exercise (20% of score)
  • Merit Commission oral interview (10% of score)

The department ranks applicants on the basis of their scores and puts them on an eligibility list. The list is valid for one year, and applicants are encouraged to reapply and retest to improve their scores and ranking. The department offers conditional employment to those who scored well when vacancies are available and then conducts the following evaluations:

  • Background check
  • Polygraph exam
  • Psychological exam and interview
  • Complete medical exam

Applicants who successfully complete all of these evaluations will be sworn as probationary officers provided that there are vacancies.


New officers are sent to the Southwest Indiana Law Enforcement Agency for its Regular Basic Course. The curriculum involves a wide range of academic and practical courses. The greatest amount of time spent on training is devoted to the following areas:

  • Firearms
  • Law
  • Patrol procedures
  • Human behavior

The students will have to pass eleven exams to graduate from this course, including one on criminal investigations. Graduates then take part in the Field Training Program to hone their skills as officers. They are assigned to a Field Training Officer who will evaluate them daily.

Specialized Investigative Divisions in Evansville

To maximize the efficiency of criminal investigations in Evansville, investigators and detectives are assigned to specific CID Units.

Adult Investigative Unit – Seventeen detectives provide round the clock investigative services that include the following:

  • Crime scene response
  • Interviews
  • Obtaining and executing warrants for searches and/or arrests
  • Preparing criminal case files

Juvenile Unit – Four officers with this unit investigate crimes committed by juveniles. To focus on rehabilitation, they work very closely with the following agencies:

  • Child Protective Service
  • Juvenile Court
  • Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation
  • Substance Abuse Council

Organized Crime Unit – The nineteen officers who are with this unit work at a secure site away from the main police station. Several of them work closely with federal agencies and are assigned to the following task forces:

  • ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives)
  • DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency)
  • FBI/Violent (Federal Bureau of Investigation)

Additional investigative groups in this unit include the following:

  • Drug Interdiction and Gang Unit
  • Narcotics Joint Task Force
  • Vice/Intelligence Unit

Detectives working to thwart gang crime and drug trafficking work closely with the Vanderburgh County Prosecutor’s Office.

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