How to Become a Criminal Investigator with the Overland Park Police Department

Criminal investigators with the Overland Park Police Department are assigned to the Department’s Investigations Division. Once hired, detectives are appointed to a specialized unit that best compliments their individual skills and work expertise.

The Overland Park Investigators Division is comprised of five units that include:

  • Property Crimes Unit
  • Crimes Against Persons Unit
  • Financial/Organized Retail Crime Unit
  • Special Victims Unit
  • Special Operations Unit

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Steps to Becoming a Detective with the Overland Park Police Department

Basic Requirements – Before law enforcement professionals can serve as detectives with the Overland Park Police Department they must gain a significant amount of experience as patrol officers. Once they have gained the requisite amount of work experience and on-the-job training, police officers may receive detective positions through in-house promotions.

Aspiring investigators may qualify to enter the Police Department as new recruits by meeting the following job qualifications:

  • United States citizenship
  • At least 21 years old
  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • No immediate family members employed by the city
  • Reside within 45 minutes of the Police Department
  • Successfully pass written and oral examination

Importance of Formal Education – The Overland Park Police Department requires all incoming police officers to have a high school level of education at minimum. However, jobseekers should consider the difference between the minimum requirements and what is common among detectives in the area.

Studies conducted by the United States Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration show that only 8% of detectives and criminal investigators between the ages of 25 and 44 have a high school diploma alone.

By comparison, approximately 13% of detectives and criminal investigators hold an associate’s degree, 41% hold a bachelor’s degree and 11% hold a master’s degree.

Popular degree options include:

  • Associate of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Associate of Applied Science in Corrections and Law Enforcement
  • Bachelor of Science in Justice Studies
  • Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Security Management
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Master of Arts in Public Administration/Policy

Training and Certification – Once applicants are accepted into the Overland Police Department’s workforce, they are required to undergo intense training through the Johnson County Regional Police Academy. Recruits that successfully complete the academy’s 16-week training program are granted Kansas Law Enforcement Officer Certification. Training curriculum consists of 639 hours of instruction and covers a wide-range of topics. Examples of courses include:

  • Laws and Procedures
  • Crisis Management
  • Traffic Enforcement
  • Courtroom Testimony
  • Emergency Care
  • Firearms

Units within the Overland Park Investigators Division

Property Crimes Unit – The detectives assigned to the Property Crimes Unit are responsible for investigating cases that involve the unlawful procurement of goods in Overland Park. Examples of typical cases include burglaries, non-retail thefts, auto thefts and auto burglaries. This unit is burdened by the largest caseload of any other unit in the division.

Crimes Against Persons – The detectives assigned to the Crimes Against Persons Unit are responsible for investigating a range of violent crimes in Overland Park. Examples of typical cases include robbery, domestic violence, assault and homicide. Some detectives in this unit also monitor career criminal, target wanted felons and oversee parolees in the community.

Financial/Organized Retail Crime Unit – The detectives assigned to the Financial/Organized Retail Crime Unit are responsible for investigating organized theft networks that specifically victimize retail establishments in Overland Park. Examples of typical cases include fraud, embezzlement and forgery. This unit also works with Federal Task Forces to resolve outstanding cases.

Special Victims Unit – The detectives assigned to the Special Victims Unit are responsible for investigating crimes committed against both adults and children that are sexual or violent in nature. Examples of typical cases include online child sexual exploitation, child abuse, sex crimes and cyber crimes. In 2012, this unit handled an impressive caseload of 852 cases.

Special Operations Unit – The detectives assigned to the Special Operations Unit are responsible for investigating narcotic and vice-related activities in Overland Park. Examples of typical cases include narcotics trafficking, prostitution and prostitution solicitation. Vice Detectives in this unit may organize sting operations or inspect massage parlors. Narcotics Detectives may serve narcotic-related search warrants.

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