How to Become a Criminal Investigator with the Grand Rapids
Police Department

The Grand Rapids Police Department is the second largest police department in the state and serves a population of almost 200,000 residents. Currently, there is approximately 300 uniformed staff, including detectives, employed by the Department. These law enforcement professionals handle roughly 150,000 service calls each year.

The chief of police often transfers patrol officers and sergeants from other divisions in the Police Department and assigns them detective roles in the Investigations Division. Detectives that run operations within the Investigations Division probe all felony and misdemeanor offenses that occur in Grand Rapids.

More specifically, this Division investigates:

  • Crimes committed against persons
  • Property crimes
  • Motor vehicle thefts
  • Fraudulent activities
  • Vice-related incidents of misconduct

Featured Programs:

Becoming a Detective with the Grand Rapids Police Department

In Grand Rapids, aspiring detectives cannot simply apply for criminal investigator jobs in the traditional sense. Rather, individuals must apply for police officer jobs with the Grand Rapids Police Department.

Once hired, patrol officers and sergeants can be laterally transferred to detective positions at the discretion of the chief of police. To become considered for law enforcement officer jobs in the Police Department, candidates must undergo a rigorous hiring process consisting of the following steps:

  • Complete a Policy Academy program that is approved by the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards
  • Submit a job application through NEOGOV
  • Participate in a panel interview
  • Successfully pass a background investigation
  • Satisfy physical and psychological screenings
  • Complete 8-week departmental orientation
  • Complete 17-field training program
  • Complete a one-year probationary period

Degree Options – The Grand Rapids Police Department prefers detectives to hold degrees in criminal justice because it is highly relevant to the law enforcement profession. Fortunately, Michigan is home to several colleges, universities, and online schools that offer criminal justice degree programs. These programs instruct in subject areas such as forensic science, criminology, juvenile justice, and law enforcement administration. Examples of specific criminal justice programs available in the state include:

  • Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice: Corrections
  • Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Technical Management in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice Administration

Degree Incentives The Grand Rapids Police Department prefers a highly educated staff. In fact, detectives that decide to earn a college degree are offered an education reimbursement incentive from the Department. Since a field-related degree in preferred, detectives that enroll in a criminal justice degree program benefit from a greater reimbursement amount. The reimbursement packages are as follows:

  • $1,000 reimbursement for a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice or Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice
  • $800 reimbursement for a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts degree in any other discipline
  • $500 reimbursement for an associate’s degree

Police Academy Training Before job candidates can even apply for police officer jobs in the Grand Rapids Police Department, they must complete a Police Academy program that is approved by the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES). Students must maintain a 70% passing score to qualify for job application eligibility. There is a community college in Grand Rapids that offers such a program. Examples of Police Academy classes in this program include:

  • Patrol operations
  • Defensive tactics
  • Procedural law
  • Firearms
  • Report writing
  • Criminal investigation

Serving as a Criminal Investigator in Grand Rapids

Criminal investigators are a crucial component in the citywide effort to decrease the violent crime rate in Grand Rapids. According to a 2012 Final Police Operations Report:

  • Grand Rapids has the fourth highest violent crime rate among the ten largest cities in the state
  • The violent crime rate in Grand Rapids is 113.2 percent higher than the national average
  • The violent crime rate Grand Rapids is 75.3 percent higher that the state average

The Grand Rapids PD Investigations Division consists of several different specialized units and teams:

  • General Case Team
  • Major Case Teams (I & II)
  • Family Services Team
  • Combined Auto Theft Team
  • Metropolitan Fraud and Identity Theft Team
  • Kent Metropolitan Major Case Task Force
  • Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms Investigative Unit
  • Specialized Investigative Personnel
  • Forensic Services Unit
  • Vice Unit

Back to Top