How to Become a Criminal Investigator with the Worcester
Police Department

According to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, in 2012 Worchester had the second most violent crimes by volume in the state next to Boston. In that year, the city suffered 1,751 violent crimes among its 181,045 residents. This ratio equates to a violent crime rate of 967.

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Individuals interested in becoming a detective or criminal investigator in Worcester should be prepared to earn these positions instead of simply applying for them. The Worcester Police Department requires detectives to start as police officers within the Department. After proving competency through years of experience, police officers may be promoted to detectives.

Becoming a Detective with the Worcester Police Department

Civil Service Exam – Since the Worcester Police Department is considered a Civil Service Department, future detectives become eligible for police officers jobs by earning high scores on a Civil Service Exam. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Human Resources Division administers the Civil Service Exam.

All police officers must successfully pass the Civil Service Exam. The exam is only available once every two years.

Basic Requirements – All test-takers must be 21 years old by the date of the exam. High scorers are placed on an eligibility list from which job vacancies are filled. Exam entrance requirements includes one of the following:

  • High school diploma; OR
  • High school equivalency certificate approved by the Massachusetts Department of Education; OR
  • Three years of experience in the Armed Forces with honorable discharge status

Additional Qualifications – Once job candidates are selected to enter into the police force, they must meet several additional qualifications before they can officially work in the field. Until they meet all criteria, they remain under conditional employment. Qualifying items include:

  • Physical Abilities Test
  • Medical Assessment
  • Academy Training
  • Smoking Prohibition
  • Background Investigation
  • Firearms Permit
  • Massachusetts Driver’s License

Police Academy Training – Before would-be detectives can work as police officers for the Worcester Police Department, they must attend the Massachusetts State Police Academy during the conditional employment phase of the hiring process. New recruits attend the Academy’s 25-week live-in training program that entails over 90 courses of instruction. Examples of training topics include:

  • Rape investigation
  • Suicide prevention
  • Highway safety
  • Hate crimes
  • Drunk driving enforcement
  • Civil rights

Higher Education for Detective Careers

Although the Worcester Police Department does not require aspiring detectives to earn a college degree before they join the workforce as police officers, many criminal investigators and detectives have at least a bachelor’s degree. Therefore, professionals that earn college credit display a greater sense of professionalism and competency. Also, individuals that enter into a university or college degree program may qualify for internships with the Worcester Police Department.

Degree options for detectives in Massachusetts include:

  • Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice
  • Associate of Science in Law Enforcement
  • Bachelor of Arts in Peace Studies
  • Bachelor of Science in Terrorism and Homeland Security
  • Master of Arts in Criminal Justice and Criminology
  • Master of Science in Administration of Justice and Security

Typical course topics found in these programs include:

  • Criminal behavior
  • Statistics-based research
  • Substance abuse
  • Criminology
  • Forensic services
  • Law

Worcester’s Investigative Division

Police officers that are promoted to detective jobs in the Worcester Police Department are typically placed in the Investigative Division. Here, detectives are responsible for:

  • Providing follow-up investigations for crimes that involve both persons and properties Targeting violent crime offenses
  • Using crime analysis to identify current crime trends in the area
  • Developing good relations with other law enforcement agencies

The Investigative Division consists of seven sectors:

  • Detective Bureau
  • Problem Property Unit
  • Vice Squad
  • Crime Scene Unit
  • Special Crimes Division
  • Liquor Investigation and Enforcement
  • Gang Unit

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