How to Become a Criminal Investigator With the Cleveland Division of Police

Each year the Cleveland Police Department responds to hundreds of thousands of calls for help and service. Included among these are more than 5,000 annual calls reporting violent crimes. The Cleveland PD takes violent crimes such as rape, murder, and assault very seriously, and maintains a special unit of detectives who investigate all serious felony and violent crimes committed within the city limits.

Known as the Bureau of Special Investigations, criminal investigators assigned to this section are often the best shot law enforcement has at putting the city’s most notorious and dangerous criminals behind bars. In 2012 the Bureau was involved with investigating:

  • 84 cases of homicide
  • 363 cases of forcible rape
  • 3,252 robberies
  • 1,750 aggravated assaults

Those aspiring to become a criminal investigator with the Cleveland Police Department will first need to prove themselves capable as patrol officers on the force before advancing into these higher ranking positions.

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Becoming a Detective with the Cleveland Police Department Bureau of Special Investigations

In order to become a detective with the Cleveland Police Department Bureau of Special Investigations, candidates will first have to serve as patrol officers for several years. Getting a foot in the door takes commitment and skill, as applicants must be able to pass a physical agility test and rigorous background investigation among other challenges.

When beginning their career path towards criminal investigator jobs with the Cleveland PD Bureau of Special Investigations, prospective detectives should consider obtaining a college education in relevant subject areas such as:

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

While a college degree is not one of the specified criminal investigator requirements, having a relevant associate’s or bachelor’s degree can give applicants a competitive edge and provide the qualifications for future employment opportunities. For example, the requirements to become an advanced criminal investigator with the Office of Professional Standards, which investigates complaints of police misconduct, includes a bachelor’s degree in any subject.

Promotions to detective positions depend on demand and an officer’s job performance.

Detective Training for Specialized Criminal Investigations Units

Detectives play an instrumental role in their range of duties with the Bureau of Special Investigations. The Bureau is organized according to the following sections:

  • Investigative Section
    • Statement Unit
    • Accident Investigations
    • Crime Stoppers
    • Financial Crimes Unit
    • Homicide
  • Special Victims Section
    • Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Unit
    • Domestic Violence Unit

The initial police academy lasts approximately six months, during which time new officers will receive a strong introduction to criminal investigations. As officers attend in-service trainings and advance in their careers they will become even more familiar with these investigative techniques.

By the time officers begin work with the Bureau of Special Investigations, they will have had or will soon experience advanced training in an area of expertise such as:

  • Conducting undercover investigations
  • Multi-agency task force collaboration
  • Interviewing traumatized victims
  • Suspect interrogation
  • Witness interviewing
  • Advanced homicide investigative techniques
  • Investigating white collar and financial crimes
  • Conducting domestic violence and family investigations

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