How to Become a Criminal Investigator with the Lincoln
Police Department

Thirty investigators performed detective work for the LPD in 2013 as part of the Support Division’s Criminal Investigations Team (CIT). The members of this team conduct specialized investigations and coordinate the follow-up investigations to major crimes. They work closely with the Community Police Team to investigate the most significant crimes in Lincoln committed against people and property.

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The CIT has three specialized units that include:

  • Technical Investigations
  • Electronic Evidence Unit
  • Family Crimes

Officers of the Lincoln Police Department (LPD) arrested over 2,800 people for felonies in 2013. This represented an increase of nearly 12% compared to 2012’s arrest rate. Detectives were able to clear the three murder cases from 2012, along with 59.9% of the 642 felony assault cases from that year. Over 88% of the 198 rape cases remained unsolved, however.

Joining the Lincoln Police Department and Becoming a Detective

The first step to becoming a detective with the Lincoln Police Department is to join the force as a police officer. Officers who prove to be adept in the field may be promoted to become an investigator after several years on the force.

Although a high school education is the minimum educational requirement to join the LPD, the department prefers applicants that have had college level course work in one of the following areas:

  • Criminal justice
  • Public or business administration
  • Law
  • Sociology or a related field

Recruits take part in 21 weeks of paid training at the Lincoln Academy. After graduation, the recruits are appointed as commissioned police officers and move onto field training. This phase takes about 22 weeks. The new officers work with a designated field training officer and are rotated to a different training officer once a month.

Officers who successfully complete this program are assigned to solo team assignments in the Operations Division.

The Criminal Investigations Team in Lincoln

Part of the mission of the Criminal Investigations Team is to investigate the roughly 30 gangs active in Lincoln. Although the total number of gang related crimes has been decreasing, the percentage of gang related crimes that are committing violent crimes has increased about 10% over the last seven years.

The LPD has increased the number of criminal investigators that focus on gangs. Also, with gang activity producing increasing numbers of felony assaults, robberies, and burglaries, the department moved the gang unit to the CIT from the Lincoln/Lancaster County Narcotics Task Force.

Technical Investigations – This unit’s primary mission is enforcing federal, state, and city laws. The detectives in this unit investigate a wide array of crimes including the following:

  • Abuse of vulnerable adults
  • Counterfeiting
  • Credit card thefts
  • Embezzlement
  • Fraud
  • Forgery
  • Liquor and vice
  • Perjury
  • Highly confidential investigations

Electronic Evidence Unit – The members of this unit have received specialized training that enables them to investigate computer crimes, perform forensic computer analysis, and analyze cellular phones. They support all investigations that involve electronic evidence. In addition, these detectives work with both the Nebraska Internet Crimes Against Children task force and related federal task forces.

Family Crimes – These investigators review reports of child abuse/neglect and domestic violence. They also investigate cases of serious crimes against children and juveniles that have gone missing. These detectives are specially trained to handle cases of sex crimes that involve juveniles as well as cases of incest.

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