How to Become a Criminal Investigator With the Paterson
Police Department

The City of Paterson, New Jersey saw 1,552 violent crimes committed within city limits during 2012, including 21 cases of homicide. While the Paterson Police Department investigates all cases of criminal activity throughout the city, the department’s detectives are tasked with investigating major crimes and felonies.

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Qualifying to Become a Detective with the Paterson Police Department

To become a detective with the Paterson Police Department, applicants must start out as entry-level police officers. Officers at this level will have the opportunity to conduct initial criminal investigations. Cases that require some follow up are passed on to more experienced detectives within the PD’s Criminal Investigation Bureau or Narcotics and Vice Bureau.

After gaining valuable experience as a patrol officer, officers will become eligible to sit for the Patterson Detective Civil Service Exam.

Because even entry-level positions with the Paterson PD are competitive, candidates are encouraged to develop their initial qualifications. Having a college education in any of the following areas is not one of the stated requirements, however it can demonstrate essential skills and may open future promotional opportunities:

  • Criminal Justice
  • Law Enforcement
  • Law
  • Forensic Science
  • Psychology

Divisions Within the Paterson Police Department’s Major Investigative Bureaus

The Paterson Police Department’s detectives serve in specialized roles out of two main bureaus:

  • Criminal Investigation Bureau
  • Major Crimes Division
  • Juvenile Offender Division
  • Crime Scene and Evidence Division
  • Narcotics Division
  • Gang Enforcement Unit
  • Special Investigations Section
  • Special Assignments

Once detectives are assigned to a particular unit they will gain on-the-job criminal investigator training to supplement their years of experience as a patrol officer.

Detective training is also provided through in-service opportunities, as well as through outside agencies such as the FBI or Homeland Security.

Recent Cases Handled by Paterson Police Department Detectives

A six-month investigation that went by the name of Operation Blue Bullet stands as one recent example of a successful investigation handled by Paterson Police Department detectives. The investigation culminated in the dismantling of a major prescription drug ring and the arrest of 13 suspects on related charges.

Besides Operation Blue Bullet, Detective with the Paterson PD have also had several other recent successes that highlight the importance of advanced criminal investigations in Paterson:

  • Detectives recently arrested a 33 year-old man as the main suspect in the shooting death of another man and possibly a second victim.
  • In the culmination of a two-week long investigation, detectives arrested a major drug dealer, his customers, and his supplier. More than $20,000-worth of cocaine was recovered in the operation.
  • After a chase and a physical assault on law enforcement officials, detectives were able to subdue an alleged cocaine dealer whose day job was a local high school assistant basketball coach.

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