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How to Become a Criminal Investigator in South Carolina

Studies conducted by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that there were 1,160 detectives and criminal investigators employed throughout South Carolina in May 2013. Law enforcement professionals assigned to these jobs earned an average of $27.29/hr. or $56,7760/yr. The top five areas of employment in South Carolina include:

  • Columbia (SC)
  • Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill (NC-SC)
  • Augusta-Richmond County (GA-SC)
  • Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville (SC)
  • Greenville-Mauldin-Easley (SC)
 

Detectives and criminal investigators protect the public by gathering evidence and witness testimony associated with criminal activity. According to the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce, typical job responsibilities include:

  • Collecting and catalogue crime scene evidence
  • Interviewing suspects and witness of crimes
  • Conducting suspect surveillance
  • Acquiring arrest warrants
  • Arresting criminal suspects
  • Filing criminal reports
  • Preparing case documents
  • Testifying in criminal court

Detectives with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) are responsible for investigating some of he most serious crimes committed in the state. SLED detectives provide criminal investigative services in the following specialized units:

  • Special Victims
  • Insurance Fraud
  • Behavioral Science
  • Polygraph
  • Computer Crimes

Steps to Become a Detective with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division

According to SLED, there are generally three main steps to becoming a detective or criminal investigator in South Carolina.

  • The first step is to become a police officer.
  • The second step is complete training with the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy.
  • The third step is to acquire enough work experience to qualify for job promotions.

Basic Qualifications –Most detectives and criminal investigators must first qualify to become a police officer before being considered for a higher position. The basic requirements for police officer jobs with SLED include:

  • At least 21 years of age
  • A United States citizen
  • High school graduate
  • Valid state driver’s license
  • No driver’s license suspense within the last 5 years
  • No felony or criminal domestic violence convictions

Getting the Right Education – According to the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce, the education level of candidates looking for jobs as detectives and criminal investigators in South Carolina as of May 3, 2014 was distributed as follows:

  • Bachelor’s Degree – 41.38%
  • 1-3 Years of Post-Secondary Education – 17.24%
  • Associate’s Degree – 12.07%
  • High School Diploma or Equivalent – 10.34%
  • Vocational School Certificate – 6.09%
  • Master’s Degree – 5.17%

Law enforcement agencies in South Carolina may gauge a prospective detective’s occupational competency based on their level of formal education. Although most advertised jobs only require a high school diploma, the greatest percentage of job candidates has a bachelor’s level of education. Popular areas of study for detectives and criminal investigators include:

  • Law Enforcement
  • Criminal Justice
  • Forensics
  • Criminology
  • Security Management
  • Police Science

Law Enforcement Certification All law enforcement officers, including detectives and criminal investigators, must receive training from the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy within the first twelve month of employment. Upon successfully completing training, detectives and criminal investigators are granted basic law enforcement certification. The Criminal Justice Academy also offers special training in the following areas:

  • Gang Culture
  • Criminal Domestic Violence
  • Defense Tactics
  • Emergency Vehicle Operations
  • Behavioral Science
  • Forensics
  • Traffic Safety and Enforcement

Major Crime Statistics in South Carolina

Detectives and criminal investigators are an important force in the fight against rising crime in South Carolina. The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division reported that in 2011 the state’s violent crime rate was 59.6% compared the nation’s violent crime rate of 38.6%. In fact, South Carolina’s violent crime rate has consistently surpassed the nation’s rate for over thirty years.

SC Counties with the Highest Crime Rates in 2011

  • Greenwood County – 188.3%
  • Dillon County – 130.4%
  • Sumter County – 114.4%
  • Marlboro County – 111.2%
  • Allendale County – 101.2%

SC Violent Offenses in 2011

  • Aggravated Assault – 21,280
  • Robbery – 4,615
  • Rape – 1,666
  • Murder – 322

SC Other Criminal Offenses in 2011

  • Property Crime – 182,796
  • Breaking or Entering – 47,221
  • Larceny – 121,792
  • Motor Vehicle Theft – 13,783

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