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

The Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office provides valuable crime-fighting services to the residents and visitors of their county. Its Investigations Division utilizes the keen skills of criminal investigators to bring in fugitives and solve serious crimes that demand extra attention.

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Becoming a Detective with the Allegheny County Investigations Division

Career Progression – The path to become a detective with the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office starts by getting a foot in the door as a deputy sheriff. New deputies will gain experience and insight into the operations of the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office, and after demonstrating adept skills they may be transferred to the Investigations Division. Being transferred depends on seniority and the availability of criminal investigator jobs within the Division.

Education Options – Candidates who want to become a criminal investigator with the Allegheny Sheriff’s Office should also consider their education and long-term career development. Although having a college degree is not one of the stated requirements, prospective detectives can develop important skills in critical areas of knowledge by having an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in any of the following subjects:

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

Criminal Investigator Training – Detective training requirements start with a deputy’s initial law enforcement academy, where essential topics on the subject of investigations will be covered in the 760 hours of basic training. Instruction on the different aspects of conducting investigations can be enhanced during a deputy’s mandatory in-service training and continuing education.

Once a candidate has been assigned to the Investigations Division, detective training will become more specific to the new investigator’s particular area of focus. Typical areas of concentration for advanced detective training might include:

  • Homicide investigations
  • Suspect investigation, tracking and location
  • Narcotics trafficking investigations
  • Family Court and domestic violence investigations

Working as a Detective in Allegheny County

Detective jobs in the Allegheny County Investigations Division are organized into several categories:

  • Fugitive Squads, which is comprised of four detectives, a uniformed K9 unit, and a detective supervisor who pursue absconders with bench warrants. These squads are also available to help city law enforcement agencies upon request.
  • Court security detail detectives will investigate threats made against those involved in the criminal justice system, such as judges, members of the jury, or other court personnel.
  • Non Support Enforcement Squad detectives track down and arrest those who have failed to appear before the Family Court on charges relating to domestic violence and other family issues.
  • Federal Task Forces detectives may also work with a number of federal task forces, including:
    • DEA
    • FBI
    • Violent Crimes Task Force
    • Narcotics Enforcement Team
    • Cyber Crimes Task Force

Allegheny County sheriff detectives are plainclothes officers who do not wear a uniform to maintain the element of surprise. In one of their most recent cases detectives acting on a tip ended up getting more than what they expected.

Detectives recently nabbed a “most-wanted” firearm offender who had a warrant for additional charges related to probation violations and burglary. As units responded to a tip placing the suspect in a nearby area, they initially stopped one suspect matching his description who turned out not to be the suspect, but who was nevertheless in possession of a stolen firearm. As law enforcement was arresting this man they caught sight of their original suspect, who they proceeded to arrest and find to be in possession of a shot gun and counterfeit casino chips.

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