How to Become a Criminal Investigator with the Billings
Police Department

The overall crime rate in Billings, Montana is close to the national average; however, thefts and burglaries are the biggest problems while the violent crime rate has been consistently lower than the national average over the last decade. The murder rate of three per 100,000 people is only a third of the national average of nine per 100,000.

The Billings Police Department is responsible for fighting crime in the city of Billings. The Division of Criminal Investigation employs 20 detectives who investigate all major crimes, including:

  • Arson
  • Auto theft
  • Burglaries
  • Cyber crimes
  • Embezzlement
  • Forgeries
  • Homicides
  • Sexual assaults

Two of the detectives are members of the FBI Safe Streets Task Force.

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Steps to Becoming a Detective with the Billings Police Department

The detectives with the Billings Police Department Division of Criminal Investigations are recruited from the ranks of uniformed officers who work for the patrol division.

The median salary for new police officer in Billings is $45,561.

Satisfying the Basic Requirements – There are no specific education or experience requirements to be eligible to apply for a police officer job with the Billings Police Department other than a high school diploma or its equivalent. However, persons with a college education as well as those with some law enforcement-related experience will have a better chance of being hired. An associate’s or a bachelor’s degree in a field like law enforcement management, criminal justice or forensics is especially desirable for applicants who hope to become a criminal investigator.

The following basic requirements must be met in order to apply for a police officer job in Billings, MT:

  • At least 18 years old
  • U. S. citizen
  • Valid driver’s license
  • Good moral character
  • No felony convictions
  • No convictions for crimes punishable in state or federal penitentiaries

Hiring Process – Persons whose applications are accepted are scheduled for a battery of tests, including:

  • Written examination covering arithmetic, recognition of grammatical errors, reading comprehension, writing skills, punctuation, spelling and basic grammar.
  • Physical agility test consisting of an obstacle course that must be completed in 6.5 minutes. It involves jumping, climbing/descending stairs, crawling, balancing, dragging dead weight, doing push-ups and sprinting/running.
  • Panel Interview with three officers focuses on communication skills, work history and interpersonal relationships. It is also an opportunity for the candidate to ask questions or express concerns.

Candidates who successfully complete the above tests must then pass a background investigation, polygraph, medical exam (including drug test, vision and hearing tests) and psychological evaluation before being offered a job and scheduled for training.

Training – New recruits are required to spend 12 weeks in intensive training at the Montana Law Enforcement Training Academy in Helena. Cadets stay at the academy but are allowed to go home on weekends. Course topics include:

  • Legal procedures
  • Federal and state law
  • Human psychology and behavior
  • Criminal justice system
  • Montana law enforcement system
  • Police procedures
  • Patrol strategies
  • Investigative methods
  • Firearms training
  • Self defense
  • Physical fitness

Academy graduates are eligible for certification by the Montana Peace Officer Standards and Training Board after spending one year on the job.

How to Apply – Applications are only accepted for open positions. The Billings Human Relations Department jobs website has a list of all open positions, online application forms and detailed instructions. For information about openings in Billings, MT, call Lt. Kevin Iffland at 406-657-8478.

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