How to Become a Criminal Investigator With the Union County
Police Department

The Union County Police Department is responsible for the safety and security of all residents and visitors to Union County, including those in the City of Elizabeth. To handle the county’s more challenging and serious crimes, the Union County Police Department relies on criminal investigators working in its Detective Bureau.

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Detectives with the Bureau work on cases that involve:

  • Homicides and suspicious deaths
  • Burglaries and robberies
  • Narcotics trafficking
  • Domestic violence
  • Missing persons
  • Financial crimes
  • Sex crimes

The Union County Police Department’s Detective Bureau works closely with other municipal law enforcement agencies to bring about the successful prosecution of criminal activities, and has an especially close relationship with the Elizabeth Police Department.

Path to a Detective Career with the Union County Police Department

To become a criminal investigator with the Union County Detective Bureau, candidates will first need to gain experience in the department’s Patrol Division as entry-level police officers.

Joining the Union County PD – To become a criminal investigator with the Union County Police Department’s Detective Bureau, candidates will first need to become entry-level police officers. This can be accomplished by scoring well on the law enforcement civil service exam and meeting some initial requirements:

  • Be a resident of Union County between the ages of 18-35
  • Have a high school diploma or GED

The duties of a patrol officer coincide in many ways with the duties of future detective jobs with the Union County Police Department’s Detective Bureau. Patrol officers are responsible for conducting initial investigations, and cases requiring extra attention will be passed along to more experienced investigators in the Detective Bureau.

Advancing to Detective – After gaining experience as a patrol officer and depending on the availability within the Detective Bureau, officers can be transferred to the bureau. Which officers are appointed to the Detective Bureau is at the sole discretion of the Police Chief.

Candidates who are thinking about long-term criminal investigator jobs with the Detective Bureau can start by considering a college education. A degree is not one of the stated detective requirements, however having a relevant associate’s or bachelor’s degree can lay a useful foundation in the field of investigations as well as boost an applicant’s qualifications. Academic subjects that are closely related to the field of investigations include:

  • Criminal Justice
  • Police Science
  • Law Enforcement
  • Forensic Science
  • Law

Training Requirements – Because criminal investigators working in the Detective Bureau are experienced police officers they will already be well versed in the fundamentals of conducting a criminal investigation. However investigators who move to the Detective Bureau will also augment the detective training they already have with that which is specific to their area of specialization, which can be in subjects ranging from homicides to the investigation of sex crimes.

Criminal Investigations in Union County, New Jersey

Union County Police Department detectives have recently put their training to good use in several recent high-profile cases:

After two years detectives were able to crack an unsolved murder case with the help of an FBI profiler. The suspect was arrested by detectives in Vauxhall on charges relating to the brutal killing of a Union Township woman

Union County forensic detectives were able to recently link DNA found at the scene of a burglary to a suspect, who was subsequently arrested. Crime scene detectives were able to obtain the DNA from a sample of dried blood taken from a broken window through which the suspect gained entry.

The Union County Homicide Task Force spent three weeks going over the clues in a recent homicide investigation that took place in Elizabeth, making an arrest of the alleged killer after meticulously assembling a case for prosecution.

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