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

The Wake County Sheriff’s Office holds the responsibility of ensuring the safety of all those within the unincorporated areas of the county. When serious crimes such as murders or assaults occur, a special branch of the sheriff’s office is called in to handle the situation- the Criminal Investigations Division (CID). Seven additional teams of specialists can be found within the CID, who together take on Wake County’s toughest crimes:

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  • Property Crimes Unit
  • Person Crimes Unit
  • Juvenile Crimes Unit
  • Intelligence Unit
  • Fraud Unit
  • School Resource Officers
  • Public Protection Registration Unit – tasked with ensuring sex offenders are in compliance

To become a detective with the Wake County Sheriff’s Office applicants will need to first gain experience and criminal investigator training. Officially known as a Deputy Sheriff-Investigator, these law enforcement officials stand as a stark line between serious crimes and the law-abiding public.

Qualifying to Become a Criminal Investigator with the Wake County Sheriff’s Office

Sheriff’s Deputy Investigator Qualifications – The job classification for the Deputy Sheriff-Investigator position with the Wake County Sheriff’s Office states the following requirements:

  • Intermediate level of writing, reading, and mathematical abilities
  • Ability to maintain documentation of events
  • Ability to analyze data

A good way of demonstrating these essential qualifications while at the same time laying a foundation for a long-term career in the field of criminal investigations is an appropriate college education. While this is not explicitly one of the detective requirements, an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in any of the following areas can increase career potential and demonstrate a strong commitment to the subject:

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

The minimum criminal investigation requirements to become a Deputy Sheriff-Investigator are:

  • High school diploma
  • At least three years of law enforcement experience
  • Valid driver’s license
  • CPR certification
  • Completion of basic law enforcement training

Career Advancement to Become a Detective – Most current detectives with the Wake County Sheriff’s CID got their start as entry-level deputies and moved up into criminal investigator jobs as they gained the requisite experience. To initially become a sheriff’s deputy candidates will need to:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Have a mostly clean criminal record
  • Be a US citizen
  • Pass a physical fitness test
  • Pass a reading test
  • Make it through the basic training academy, followed by a field training section

Accomplishing these tasks and working for three years as a deputy sheriff will give future detectives many of the valuable skills on which they will come to depend. Once assigned to one of the CID’s special units, investigators may take advantage of additional detective training in areas relating to their specific unit, such as:

  • Conducting organized crime and gang investigations
  • North Carolina sex offender laws and statutes
  • Intelligence technology
  • Money laundering and illicit business
  • Homicide investigations

Serving as a Detective in Wake County

Working as a criminal investigator as part of the CID can be both challenging and rewarding. One recent successful bust involved undercover detectives working in a joint operation with the Department of Insurance to stamp out illegal bondsman solicitation. Two undercover detectives were offered bail bonding services as they were pretending to be in need of such services on jail property. Under North Carolina law, bail surety bondsmen are prohibited from soliciting around any place where prisoners are held, and the bondsman was arrested.

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