How to Become a Criminal Investigator in Maine

The State of Maine Department of Public Safety reported that in 2011, one violent crime occurred every five hours and 23 minutes. The crime rate in Maine increased in 2011 to 26.81 per 1000 residents, up from 26.09 per 1000 residents in 2010.

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Violent crimes (which include aggravated assault, robbery, rape and murder) increased by 2.5 percent from 2010’s statistics. In 2011, 25 murders occurred in the state of Maine, up 4.2 percent from the 24 murders reported in the state in 2010. Aggravated assault increased by 10.9 percent from 2010’s figures, while domestic assault cases increased 4.7 percent.

These figures make it clear that Maine’s criminal investigators must work tirelessly to investigate criminal activity with the goal of bringing violent criminals to justice.

Aspiring criminal investigators interested in working at the state level in Maine usually seek employment with the Maine State Police Criminal Investigation and Forensics Division.

Becoming a Detective with the Maine State Police Criminal Investigation and Forensics Division

Before becoming a detective with the Maine State Police Criminal Investigation and Forensics Division, interested parties must first become a Maine State Trooper.

The requirements for becoming a trooper are as follows:

  • Be at least 21 years old, or 20 years old if an applicant has completed 60 college credits
  • Hold a valid Maine driver’s license
  • Pass a background check of criminal and moral history
  • Pass the written ALERT test
  • Pass the oral board exam
  • Pass a physical fitness test
  • Pass a medical exam including meeting vision standards
  • Pass a lie detector test
  • Pass a psychological exam
  • Pass an oral interview with the Chief of the Maine State Police

Additionally, new recruits for state trooper jobs in Maine must pass Maine State Trooper Training. This is held at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy in Vassalboro and lasts 18 weeks. Nine weeks of recruit troop training follows.

After a number of years of service, troopers are eligible for promotion to the Criminal Investigation and Forensics Division where they serve as detectives in the Major Crimes Units, Computer Crimes Unit, Polygraph Unit, or Criminal Intelligence and Homeland Security Unit.

Specialized Units with the Maine State Police Criminal Investigation and Forensics Division

Detectives with the Maine State Police Criminal Investigation and Forensics Division serve in specialized disciplines that include:

  • Crime lab- processing of evidence collected at crime scenes occurs here
  • Polygraph unit– employs two polygraph examiners who are certified and trained
  • Criminal Intelligence and Homeland Security– these analysts disseminate criminal intelligence information, including that relating to the security of Maine and of the United States
  • Major Crimes Units– the main criminal investigation division (M.C.U.) of the Maine State Police, these detectives work cases including child abuse, suspicious deaths and homicides across the state. There are two units – North, in Augusta, and South, in Gray.
  • Computer Crimes Unit – these detectives assist law enforcement officers and prosecutors across Maine in investigating and prosecuting computer and internet crimes. This unit is headquartered in Vassalboro with satellite units in Portland, Bangor and Lewiston.

Criminal Investigation Divisions with Maine’s Local Law Enforcement Agencies

Detectives in Maine may also work within city police departments and county sheriff’s offices. The following is a short list representing just some of the locations in which criminal investigators work at the city and county levels across the state of Maine:

  • Bangor Police Department Criminal Investigations Division
  • Portland Police Department Criminal Investigations Division
  • Lewiston Police Department Criminal Investigations Division
  • Scarborough Police Detective Bureau
  • Sanford Police Criminal Investigation Division
  • Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office Public Safety Division – Criminal Investigations – Auburn
  • Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office- Portland
  • Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Office Investigations Division – Dover-Foxcroft
  • York County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division – Alfred
  • Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Unit – Augusta

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