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

Detectives working as part of the Columbus Division of Police play an integral part in solving the city’s most violent and serious crimes. The preponderance of Columbus police detectives will be found in the Investigative Subdivision Bureaus, which are:

  • Crimes Against Persons
  • Property Crimes
  • Special Victims Bureau

The perpetrators of these crimes do everything from exploit children to distribute illegal drugs. Often times the strongest and most concerted opposition these criminals face is posed by detectives. To become a criminal investigator with the Columbus Division of Police, applicants will first need to get their foot in the door as police officers and demonstrate their skills.

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Columbus Division of Police College Education Incentives

As a demonstration of the importance the Columbus Division of Police places on college education, it offers its officers the option of college tuition reimbursement after a year of service. As officers move up the ranks of the police department, advanced positions such as Deputy Police Chief require applicants to have a bachelor’s degree.

Having a college education can make candidates applying to become a detective with the Columbus Division of Police a stronger initial candidate. A degree in any of the following subjects can also demonstrate a candidate possesses important knowledge and skills:

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

Patrol Detectives and Advanced Detectives with the Columbus Division of Police

Advanced positions with any of the departments that make up the Columbus Division of Police Investigative Subdivisions Bureau are serious full-time criminal investigator jobs. However entry-level police officers may also carry out a significant amount of investigative work. The difference between full-time advanced detective work and patrol detective work has to do with rank, responsibility, and department assignment.

Initial work as a police officer assigned to patrol will expose prospective criminal investigators to several important duty areas, including:

  • Making initial investigations of crimes and complaints
  • Traffic accident investigations
  • Preparing cases for prosecution

The minimum requirements for entry-level police officer positions are:

  • US citizen
  • High school diploma or GED
  • Upon hire must:
    • Have a valid Ohio State driver’s license
    • Be at least 21 years of age

After being hired new officers will be considered to be on probation for one year. After three years as a permanent police officer candidates will become eligible for the rank of Police Sergeant.

Sergeants are leaders among police officers who can be assigned increasingly responsible positions within the Investigative Subdivision Bureaus. By the time officers reach this rank they will be well-versed in investigative theory, training and practice, providing versatile skills as they lead criminal investigations.

Criminal Investigator Training

The first elements of detective training start when officers are completing the initial Basic Peace Officer Training Academy. Basic detective requirements will be covered such as:

  • Conducting investigations
  • Interviewing witnesses, suspects, and victims
  • Crime scene and accident reconstruction

As an officer gains more experience and completes in-service education exercises, detective training will be advanced through courses on subjects more closely related to the caseload of the Investigative Subdivision Bureaus:

  • Homicide investigations
  • Narcotics trafficking and distribution
  • Burglaries
  • Domestic violence investigations

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