How to Become a Criminal Investigator With the Bergen County Sheriff's Office

The Bergen County Sheriff’s Office is the largest law enforcement agency in the county, responsible for the safety and security of nearly one million residents. When particularly heinous or challenging crimes occur, the Office calls upon its Bureau of Criminal Investigations to ensure justice is served.

Officers who work as part of the BCI regularly assist law enforcement agencies throughout the county in matters relating to criminal investigations through three primary divisions:

  • Crime Scene Unit
  • Firearms Identification and Ballistics Unit
  • Detective Unit

The Detective Unit is where specialized criminal investigators work tirelessly to close cases and develop convincing evidence for prosecution.

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Meeting the Qualifications to Join the Bergen County Sheriff’s Department

Applicants for criminal investigator jobs will need to have the following traits:

  • Ability to understand and carry out written instructions
  • Ability to perform a variety of investigations
  • Ability to learn from demonstrations, written instructions, and oral directions
  • Ability to keep records and prepare reports

Although not one of the specific requirements to become a detective with the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office Bureau of Criminal Investigations, an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in specific subject areas can demonstrate a candidate posses these traits.

Additionally, college education can serve to lay a solid foundation for investigative careers as well as qualifying applicants for a wider range of employment options. Some particularly relevant areas of study include:

  • Criminal Justice
  • Law Enforcement
  • Police Science
  • Crime Scene Investigations
  • Forensic Science

Entry-level candidates can apply to become a criminal investigator in Bergen County. Although they will need to acquire additional experience and detective training before being entrusted to lead investigations, candidates with no prior experience may apply for detective jobs under the title of Sheriff’s Investigator. The minimum criminal investigator requirements for this position are:

  • High school diploma or its equivalent
  • At least 18 years of age
  • US citizenship
  • New Jersey driver’s license upon hire

Becoming a Detective with the Bergen County Sheriff’s Department

The first step in completing an application with the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office is to indicate an employment preference with this agency when registering to take a civil service exam. Sheriff’s Investigator vacancies are posted on the civil service commission’s jobs page. When these positions become vacant, candidates must apply according to the application instructions contained within the announcement.

After gaining experience as a Sheriff’s Investigator, the sheriff’s office will determine if candidates are qualified and ready to join the Detective Unit in the Bureau of Criminal Investigations.

Those who advance to investigator positions will already have ample detective experience. Criminal investigator training will have been acquired progressively in stages, and will cover such topics as:

  • Leading criminal investigations
  • Undercover surveillance and investigations
  • Organized criminal networks
  • White collar financial crimes

The Bergen County Sheriff’s Detective Unit is particularly adept at conducting:

  • Fugitive apprehensions
  • Missing persons investigations
  • Gang operations
  • Conducting internal affairs investigations

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