How to Become a Criminal Investigator with the St. Louis
Police Department

St. Louis was listed number two on Forbes Magazine’s list of the most dangerous cities in the U.S. Its murder rate of 36.3 per 100,000 people is the third highest in the nation; however, thanks to the city’s dedicated police officers, that rate has been cut in half over the past 20 years.

Chief Sam Dotson, head of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, maintains that the 2,000 sworn and civilian employees are using new and innovative crime strategies to make the city a safer place to live.

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Becoming a Detective with the St. Louis Police Department

The median annual salary of sworn police officers is $50,874, while the median for detectives is $68,385.

Education Requirements – Applicants are required to have at least a high school diploma plus 30 credit hours of college studies, preferably in criminal justice, law enforcement or a related field. Preference is given to those with a bachelor’s degree or better if all else is equal.

There is no specific experience requirement but the combination of education and experience is important, i.e., someone with less education would do well to have some law enforcement, military or security experience.

Basic Requirements –the basic requirements for eligibility include:

  • Age 21 or older; citizen of the United states
  • Valid driver’s license
  • Established residency in the city of St. Louis within the first 90 days of employment with an agreement not to move out of the city in less than seven years
  • 20/200 vision; normal hearing
  • Physically fit
  • No unfavorable police record or felony conviction
  • Effective oral and written communication skills
  • Ability to affect a custodial arrest with force if needed
  • Knowledge of basic first aid / CPR

Application Process – It should be expected that the application process will take quite a few months. It is suggested that individuals planning to graduate from college apply at the beginning of their senior year. Each phase of the application process must be successfully completed before moving on to the next one. The steps are:

  1. Download application form from St. Louise Metropolitan Police website
  2. Complete and submit application as instructed.
  3. Pass written test. Those whose applications are accepted will be notified of time and place to take a written test on general knowledge, reading and comprehension.
  4. Oral interview conducted by three commissioned officers. Focuses on verbal expression, comprehension and reasoning skills
  5. Physical fitness test
  6. Background investigation

Those who successfully complete all steps are placed on an eligibility list to be notified when openings at the training academy occur.

Training for Career Advancement to Detective

The St. Louis Police Academy, 315 S. Tucker Road, St. Louis, provides training for new recruits as well as continued education for veteran officers. In addition to classroom space, the academy has a well equipped fitness center and computer lab. Recruits must spend 28 weeks at the academy. Training courses include:

  • Criminal and constitutional law
  • Patrol / traffic
  • Firearms training
  • Juvenile procedures
  • Criminal investigation
  • Report writing
  • Human behavior
  • Ethics
  • Driver training
  • Fitness training
  • Computer lab

After graduation, new officers are on probation for 12 months. All officers receive continued education and refresher courses.

After one to three years on the job officers may become detectives in a special field, such as homicide, fraud, gangs, crime scene, sex crimes, etc. New detectives receive specialized training relevant to their position. Advanced training in such things as racial profiling, computer programs, defense tactics, crime scene evidence, etc. are provided as needed.

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