How to Become a Criminal Investigator in Nebraska

The Nebraska Commission on Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice reported that in 2012, crime throughout the state increased by one percent. Violent crimes, however, which include aggravated assault, robbery, forcible rape, and murder-manslaughter, increased statewide by four percent.

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Crime in Nebraska’s largest cities was also on the rise during 2012. In Omaha, for example, the crime rate increased three percent, while crime in Lincoln increased one percent in 2012. One positive statistic in this report is that in 2012, hate crimes statewide decreased by 23 percent.

The Nebraska State Patrol Bureau of Criminal Identification Investigative Services Division is the primary state investigative unit in Nebraska. This division of the state police contains the following sections:

  • Criminal Division – made up of criminal investigators who investigate state cases and assist city and county police departments in investigating crimes
  • Drug Control Division – detectives within this unit investigate drug crimes occurring across Nebraska

The Investigative Services Division is headquartered in Lincoln along with the Nebraska State Patrol. However, its detectives work across the state to investigate and solve crimes.

Joining the Nebraska State Patrol Bureau of Criminal Identification Investigative Services Division

Requirements –Becoming a detective in Nebraska with the Investigative Services Division mandates that candidates first become a State Trooper in the Patrol Division. Only the most qualified Troopers are chosen from those ranks to become Investigators.

Qualifications to become a state trooper in Nebraska are:

  • Age of 21 or older
  • U.S. citizenship
  • Possess a high school diploma/GED (completion of college courses in criminal justice and law enforcement are helpful when a trooper applies to become a detective or investigator, however)
  • Possess a valid driver’s license with infrequent driving offenses/traffic convictions
  • Good physical condition and pass a physical abilities test
  • Good vision and hearing
  • Pass a thorough criminal and moral background check
  • No felony convictions, or certain violent misdemeanor offenses
  • No drug use in the past two to five years
  • No tattoos, piercings or body art that cannot completely be covered by uniform
  • Pass a written examination
  • Pass a polygraph test
  • Pass a psychological test
  • Pass a medical exam
  • Pass various oral interviews

Training –Training for new recruits to become state troopers in Nebraska is paid by the Nebraska State Patrol. Basic Recruit Training lasts 24 weeks in a para-military setting at the Nebraska State Patrol Training Academy in Grand Island. The training includes both academic and physical courses. Subjects taught include (but are not limited to):

  • Weight and dimension laws
  • Patrolling
  • First responder/DPR
  • Firearms
  • Cultural diversity
  • Court procedures
  • DUI/DUID enforcement
  • Accident investigation
  • Criminal and drug statutes
  • Motor vehicle law

Upon completion of training, new state troopers in Nebraska are on a probationary period for the first nine months of employment. They must pass the Field Training and Evaluation Program before being able to function solo. Then, as criminal investigator job opportunities arise in the Nebraska State Patrol, troopers may apply for them.

Criminal Investigation Divisions within Nebraska’s County and City Law Enforcement Agencies

Criminal investigators also work for police departments within some Nebraska cities, as well as within some sheriff’s offices in Nebraska’s counties. These investigative positions can be good training ground for becoming a criminal investigator with the Nebraska State Patrol. Police departments and sheriff’s offices across Nebraska that contain criminal investigations units include (but are not limited to):

  • Grand Island Police Department Criminal Investigations Division – Grand Island
  • Bellevue Police Department Support Division – Bellevue
  • South Sioux City Police Department Criminal Investigations Section- South Sioux City
  • City of Omaha Police Department Criminal Investigation Bureau – Omaha
  • Norfolk Police Division’s Investigations Unit – Norfolk
  • Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Bureau – Omaha
  • Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Division – Lincoln
  • Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office Investigative Division – Papillion
  • Washington County Sheriff’s Office Investigative Unit – Blair
  • Cass County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigative Unit- Plattsmouth

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