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

Essex County Sheriff’s detectives moved in when they saw a suspicious male handing something to a woman who had just pulled up in a green Cadillac. Developed over years of experience, their intuition in this case proved to be correct as they discovered 366 envelopes of heroin and 29 vials of crack in the man’s possession.

Cases such as this can be typical for the Essex County Sheriff’s Office, especially for criminal investigators working as part of the Detective Division. This special unit of the sheriff’s office is responsible for several areas of special detective operations ranging from violent fugitive apprehension to white collar crime. Candidates who would like to become a criminal investigator with the Essex County Sheriff’s Office can start by researching the employment requirements for this position.

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Qualifying to Become a Detective with the Essex County Sheriff’s Office

Joining the Essex County Sheriff’s Office – To become a detective with the Essex County Sheriff’s Office, applicants will need to meet certain qualifications for hire. The entry-level position of Sheriff’s Investigator requires the following:

  • New Jersey driver’s license
  • US citizen at least 18 years of age
  • High school diploma or equivalent

Not specifically one of the criminal investigator requirements, studying for certain college degrees can prove to be beneficial:

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

There are several advantages to an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in these subjects:

  • Candidates will be able to distinguish themselves from amongst their competition
  • A degree in these fields can demonstrate foundational knowledge of key subjects
  • A degree can open additional career options and promotional opportunities

Career Advancement to Detective – Criminal investigator jobs with the Essex County Sheriff’s Office start with the entry-level Sheriff’s Investigator position. Once these law enforcement officers have proven their skills and acquired experience they can be considered for promotion to detective and senior detective positions.

Applications for these positions can be initiated when a candidate signs up to take a civil service exam and specifies the Essex County Sheriff’s Office as their law enforcement agency. Testing becomes available periodically and is announced by the Civil Service Commission on their public safety website section. Vacant Sheriff’s Investigator positions are also posted on the Commission’s job announcements section.

Initial criminal investigator training takes place at an academy approved by the New Jersey Police Training Commission. As detectives gain more experience they will receive training for areas in which the Detective Division specializes:

  • Fugitive apprehension
  • Missing person investigations
  • Family court and domestic violence court ruling enforcement

Working as Part of the Essex County Sheriff’s Detective Division

As criminal investigators fulfill the detective training requirements and move up to senior positions in the Detective Division they can expect to participate in more of the serious and high profile cases. Senior detectives with the Division are involved in cases such as:

  • Joint missions with the FBI, US Marshals, DEA, and ICE agencies
  • Gang investigations and task forces
  • Gun and narcotics trafficking
  • White collar crimes
  • Bank robberies
  • Auto thefts

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