How to Become a Criminal Investigator With the Rochester
Police Department

The Rochester Police Department (RPD) responded to 2,069 violent crimes in 2012, with many of the more serious cases being referred to its Central Investigations Division (CID). Officially known as police investigators, detectives with the CID are in charge of the police department’s most challenging and serious cases.

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Qualifications to Become a Detective with the Rochester Police Department

Candidates who would like to become a criminal investigator with the Rochester Police Department Central Investigations Division are advised to begin researching this career path early on.

Prospective police investigators must already be Rochester Police Department officers for at least a few years as determined by their commanding officer, and must also pass the investigator exam. The investigator exam is offered periodically and is only open to current RPD officers.

Qualifying to Join the Force – As a condition of being hired, candidates are expected to possess certain skills:

  • Good reading, writing, and logical reasoning abilities
  • Must be able to prepare written reports and give courtroom testimony
  • Must be able to pass a civil service exam which evaluates these key skills

While not one of the specific requirements, an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in key subject areas can be beneficial for several reasons:

  • Providing foundational knowledge in important subject matter
  • Opening up additional employment opportunities
  • Improving initial qualifications

Relevant areas of study include:

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

Career Advancement to Investigator – Criminal investigator training begins with basic academy training, where essential investigative skills are covered. As an officer gains years of on-the-job experience and advanced training, investigative skills will be developed.

When an officer passes the Investigator Civil Service Exam to become a police investigator, he or she will be trained in an area of specialization within the Central Investigations Division. Advanced topics include:

  • Latest surveillance and investigative technology
  • Conducting financial crime investigations
  • Cyber crime investigations, especially those committed against children and minors
  • Domestic violence investigations
  • Conducting homicide investigations
  • Crimes against vulnerable populations

Working for the Rochester Police Department’s Central Investigations Division

The Rochester Police Department’s Central Investigations Division is divided into five units:

  • Major Crimes Unit – investigates homicides, police shootings, and unexplained deaths
  • Economic Crimes Unit – deals with complex financial crimes, including counterfeiting, elder-abuse financial crimes, forgery, and retail theft
  • License Investigation Unit – investigates applications people make to obtain licenses, such as those necessary to carry a pistol
  • Impact Team – in charge of domestic violence and child-victim crime investigations
  • Technicians Unit – comprised of evidence and crime scene experts, this unit processes crime scenes and secures evidence

In 2012, police investigators with the Rochester Police Department Central Investigations Division worked 36 murder-homicide cases. A recent murder investigation resulted in the arrest of a 27-year-old Rochester man for the fatal shooting of a man for an as-yet undetermined motive. RPD investigators utilize their education and training every day in cases such as these to ensure justice is carried out.

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