How to Become a Criminal Investigator With the Oklahoma City
Police Department

Of vital importance among the Oklahoma City Police Department’s 1,029 sworn officers are their veteran detectives. Criminal investigators with the department’s Investigations Division are responsible for bringing justice to the perpetrators of violent and organized crime within the city, which in 2012 included 85 homicide cases.

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Detective jobs with the Investigations Division are assigned according to unit, which include:

  • Assault Unit
  • Burglary Unit
  • Homicide Unit
  • Sex Crimes Unit
  • Missing Persons Unit
  • Domestic Violence Unit
  • White Collar Crime Unit
  • Crimes Against Children Unit

Qualifications to Become a Police Detective in Oklahoma City

Before being assigned to the Investigations Division, candidates will need to first gain experience as a patrol officer. After proof of a solid work ethic and demonstration of abilities, candidates will be evaluated on the following criteria before being transferred to the Investigations Division:

  • Level of education
  • Amount of experience
  • Time spent with the Oklahoma City Police Department
  • Amount of criminal investigator training

Transfer also depends on demand within the Investigations Division.

College education is preferred, although not one of the specific detective requirements. Degree programs in the following subjects may mean more favorable consideration for candidates applying for initial hire, as well as for those applying for a transfer to the Investigations Division:

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

Education is an important factor, and a preference is shown to those applying for entry-level police officer jobs with at least 60 college credits.

To underscore the importance the Oklahoma City Police Department places on college education, it offers a tuition reimbursement program that can cover up to 100 percent of the cost associated with an officer’s college degree program. In addition, the following degree bonus pay incentives are offered:

  • $175 monthly for a master’s degree or above
  • $150 monthly for a bachelor’s degree
  • $75 monthly for an associate’s degree

Training for Criminal Investigator Jobs with the Oklahoma City Investigations Division

Criminal investigator training starts with a new officer’s basic training at police academy. This lasts 28 weeks and covers the essentials of criminal investigations such as:

  • Witness interviewing
  • Suspect interrogation
  • Crime scene reconstruction
  • Gathering evidence for use in prosecution
  • Process of establishing facts
  • Report writing

This criminal investigator training will be augmented throughout an officer’s first six months of field training and his or her on-the-job experience as a solo patrol officer. As prospective detectives gain more experience as a police officer they will have additional chances to complete advanced training in specialized areas of investigations, such as:

  • Homicide investigations
  • Advanced interrogation procedures and strategies
  • Conducting undercover and surveillance operations
  • Conducting advanced investigations
  • Domestic violence investigations
  • Interviewing vulnerable victims
  • Investigating crimes against children

Detectives who have not had the opportunity to attend courses such as these during their time as a patrol officer will have the chance to do so once they are accepted for transfer to the Investigations Division.

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