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

The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office employs special investigators in a number of roles. When patrol deputies are unable to complete their initial investigation in response to a serious call for help, a detective will be assigned to the case.

Detectives work in units within the sheriff’s office, which are organized to include the following:

  • Cold Case Team
  • Oregon Anti-Trafficking Task Force
  • Special Investigations Unit
  • Dangerous Drugs Team
  • Metro Unit
  • Intercept Unit

The coverage area of the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office includes 291 square miles of unincorporated county as well as the cities of Wood Village and Maywood Park.

In 2012 the sheriff’s office made 2,411 arrests, while detectives in the PD investigated 29 aggravated assaults and 97 burglaries.

To become a detective with the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, candidates can start by developing their skills and experience as a deputy.

Becoming a Detective with the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office

When preparing to become a detective with the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, candidates will need to earn a bachelor’s degree. This is one of the minimum requirements for both deputies and criminal investigators. The sheriff’s office will accept a bachelor’s degree in any major to fulfill this education requirement.

Valuable skills that will be used every day can be enhanced with a bachelor’s degree in the following subjects. These majors will instill a foundation of relevant knowledge and key investigative abilities:

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

Sheriff deputies may be assigned to the Special Investigations Unit or another detective branch according to the demand within the unit and a deputy’s experience and demonstrated skills. Experience and investigative skills are what set deputies in the Special Investigations Unit apart from their colleagues that work patrol.

While deputies may work as investigators, leadership opportunities are reserved for those in higher ranks. As rank increases so do responsibilities and job qualifications:

    • Bachelor’s degree
    • US citizen at least 21 years old
    • Valid driver’s license

  • Sergeant – three years of service with the Multnomah Sheriff’s Office as a Deputy Sheriff
  • Lieutenant – three years of service with the Multnomah Sheriff’s Office as a Sergeant, and currently serving as such
  • Captain – those serving as Captain usually will have at least three years of experience as a Multnomah Sheriff’s Office Sergeant and are appointed by the Sheriff

Detective Training Requirements with the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office

Deputies who are assigned to detective jobs with any unit will undergo extensive training to prepare them for their first assignment. For example, criminal investigator training for those who are assigned to the Special Investigations Unit includes:

  • High risk apprehension
  • K9 drug detection and apprehension
  • Individual and team tactics
  • Education on drug cartels and narcotics organization
  • Coordinated vehicle intercepts
  • Emerging drug identification and patterns
  • Undercover techniques and tactics
  • Electronic surveillance
  • Technological developments in the field of investigations

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