How to Become a Criminal Investigator With the Philadelphia
Police Department

Detectives with the Philadelphia Police Department are an integral part of their unit who ensure the most violent crimes and challenging cases are solved and perpetrators are brought to justice. Detectives with the Philadelphia Police Department are usually assigned to individual police districts as well as specialized units like:

  • Homicide
  • Organized crime
  • Missing persons
  • Special victims
  • Arson

Philadelphia Police Department detectives investigate more than 17,000 violent crimes in the city every year, including hundreds of homicides.

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Requirements to Become a Detective with the Philadelphia Police Department

To be promoted to the level of detective within the Philadelphia Police Department, police officers will first need to finish one year of service as Philadelphia Police patrol officers.

After this they will be eligible to take the next civil service detective promotional exam.

When this is announced the department will also point prospective detectives to the right resources for study and explain how to register for the exam. The test is multiple-choice and takes approximately 2-3 hours. An officer’s final score depends on test performance with some points added for seniority.

Before promotion to criminal investigator jobs, candidates will first need to become hired as entry-level police officers. As part of the qualifications to become an entry-level officer, candidates will need to meet one of the following four options:

  • 60 college credits with a GPA of at least 2.0
  • High school diploma with at least six months of active-duty military service
  • One year of service as a certified law enforcement officer in the past three years
  • High school diploma plus completion of two years in the Philadelphia Police Explorers Cadet Program

Candidates can also earn preference points on their initial application with a college education as follows:

  • 1 point for an Associate’s Degree or at least 60 credits
  • 2 points for a Bachelor’s Degree
  • 3 points for a Master’s Degree

Although college credit in any course of study will qualify applicants, there are certain subject areas that will also give prospective detectives a sturdy foundation in the field of criminal investigations. These include:

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

Philadelphia Police Department Criminal Investigator Training Requirements

By the time police officers have been promoted and assigned to criminal investigator jobs within the Philadelphia Police Department, they will have already undergone a significant amount of detective training. This starts with 30 weeks of Police Academy where entry-level officers will learn vital investigative skills:

  • Crime scene reconstruction
  • Conducting initial investigations
  • Establishment of fact
  • Interviewing witnesses and suspects
  • Legal prosecutions and evidence

As officers gain experience they can choose assignments and in-service training courses that will serve to bolster their investigative skills. Training courses that are open to Philadelphia Police Officers and offered by the Pennsylvania State Police include:

  • Animal cruelty investigation
  • Bloodstain pattern analysis for investigators
  • Child abuse investigations
  • Internet crimes investigations
  • Non-traffic death investigations
  • Rape investigation

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