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

The Erie County Sheriff’s Office Special Services Division is called in the event of a particularly challenging or brutal crime. The Special Services Division is divided into two branches: the Operational Services branch and the Investigative Services Branch.

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Most detective jobs with the Erie County Sheriff’s Office (ECSCO) can be found within the Investigative Services Branch, which consists of the following specialized personnel units:

  • Computer Crimes Unit
  • Crime Scene Unit
  • Detective Bureau
  • Fire Investigation Unit
  • Narcotics Unit

To become a detective with the Erie County Sheriff’s Office, prospective criminal investigators will need to make sure they are qualified and up for the challenge.

Qualifications to Become a Detective with the Erie County Sheriff’s Office

Detectives with the ECSO Investigative Services Branch start out as deputy sheriffs before gaining experience and passing the detective civil service exam necessary to qualify for criminal investigator jobs.

Qualifying to Join the Force – The entry-level requirements for these sheriff deputy positions require applicants to meet one of the following conditions:

  • 60 semester credits of college education
  • 30 semester college credits plus one year of active military service
  • An equivalent combination of training and experience

An associate’s or bachelor’s degree in any subject will fulfill the initial requirements all candidates are expected to satisfy. In addition to bolstering a candidate’s initial qualifications, a college degree in the following subjects will provide knowledge relevant to jobs in criminal investigations:

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

Advancing to Detective – The Detective Civil Service Exam is made available to experienced deputies as the demand for new detectives arises. The ECSO offers a practice guide for the detective civil service exam.

Detective training includes in-house and external agency training courses designed to impart the most current and applicable criminal investigative techniques possible. Detectives are trained in everything from conducting undercover operations to investigating white-collar crimes.

Detective training requirements are specific to the particular field in which a detective specializes. This can range from conducting suspect interrogations to investigating cyber crimes.

Working in the Erie County Sheriff’s Office Detective Bureau

As a specific division within the Investigative Services Branch, the Detective Bureau employs a team of specialized detectives who take on cases pertaining to a full range of criminal cases. Their duties include maintaining all of the ESCO’s evidence, dignitary protection, and even occasional temporary duty with the Secret Service, FBI, or DEA.

Detectives with the Erie County Sheriff’s Office Detective Bureau also investigate:

  • Homicides
  • Larceny
  • Burglary
  • Forgery
  • Suspicious deaths

Some recent examples of cases handled by Erie County detectives included:

  • The arrest of a woman at a massage parlor in Clarence on charges related to prostitution
  • The arrest of a Williamsville man on charges relating to his alleged robbery of a drugstore in Clarence
  • A senior ECSO detective recently announced the arrest of two men suspected of driving to Buffalo a few times each month to sell heroin

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