How to Become a Criminal Investigator With the Bismarck
Police Department

The Bismarck Police Department responded to each of the 218 violent crimes that were committed within the city limits in 2012. Most of these were aggravated assaults, although there were also 16 robberies and one homicide. The Bismarck PD’s Investigations Section is called on occasions when crimes are particularly serious and require an extra level of expertise.

When operating at full capacity, the Investigations Section employs 21 highly experienced detectives to manage an average of more than 350 open, ongoing investigations the Section is handling at any given time. Criminal investigators with the Bismarck PD start out as police officers, during which time they gain valuable experience and detective training that can one day translate into an appointment to the Investigations Section. Learning how to become a detective with the Bismarck Police Department starts by learning how to become a basic cop.

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Meeting the Qualifications to Become a Bismarck PD Criminal Investigator

The average amount of experience a police officer has before he or she is assigned to the Investigations Section is 14 years. This does not preclude ambitious and high-performing officers from transferring to the Section earlier, however prospective detectives should not rush when it comes to developing essential criminal investigator requirements and skills. The final decision about appointment to the Investigations Section is made by police superiors internally, with officers also being encouraged to voice their aspirations.

Whether to point in a solid career trajectory towards detective jobs or to meet initial officer employment requirements, education is an important factor when it comes to being hired with the Bismarck PD. College education dealing with the following subjects in particular can be foundational in developing essential criminal investigator skills:

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

The minimum requirements to apply for entry-level officer jobs with the Bismarck PD are:

  • At least 18 years of age
  • Have the ability to obtain a North Dakota driver’s license
  • Have no felony convictions
  • Meet one of the following:
    • Associate’s degree or two years of completed college education, in any field with at least a 2.0 GPA
    • Four years of active-duty military service
    • Three years of sworn law enforcement experience

Criminal Investigator Training for the Bismarck PD’s Investigations Section

During an officer’s years before being assigned to the Investigations Section, he or she should consider taking advantage of every possible training opportunity that would afford valuable skills for criminal investigator jobs. Making this determination requires knowing what kind of activities go on inside the Investigations Section.

Most detectives in the Investigations Section work with portfolios either in property crimes or personal crimes. These include everything from assaults to burglaries. However the Section also devotes several detectives to the following types of cases:

  • Drugs and narcotics – sometimes involving joint operations with the Metro Area Narcotics Task Force
  • Domestic violence – with some funding coming from a grant provided by the Violence Against Women Act
  • Warrants – involving court security, sex offender checks, and the serving of warrants or subpoenas

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