How to Become a Criminal Investigator with the North Charleston
Police Department

Many detectives and criminal investigators that work in North Charleston, South Carolina naturally gravitate towards the city’s main center for criminal investigations: The North Carolina Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division (CID) and Special Operations Division (SOD). The CID consists of the Detective Bureau and the Special Investigations Bureau. According to the CID, detectives that work in this division have several key responsibilities, including:

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  • Identifying crimes
  • Following-up on crimes
  • Collecting evidence
  • Analyzing crimes
  • Preserving evidence
  • Providing school security
  • Fostering good neighborhood relations
  • Promoting victim advocacy
  • Providing departmental training

Steps to Becoming a Detective with the North Charleston Police Department

Most detectives and criminal investigators in North Charleston begin their career by becoming a police officer. According to the city’s Human Resources Department, after interested parties submit an employee application they begin a series of interviews. From there, job candidates must:

  • Complete a physical fitness examination
  • Take a reading comprehension test
  • Pass a polygraph session
  • Submit to an extensive background check
  • Allow drug screening
  • Participate in a psychological assessment

Job Qualifications Law enforcement professionals are required to meet several basic employment guidelines to join the North Charleston Police Department, and to ultimately become detectives or other criminal investigators. Job candidates are encouraged to become familiar with the Human Resources Department’s list of terms for both qualifications and disqualifications.

Qualification criteria:

  • 21 years of age or older
  • Be a citizen of the United States
  • Have a valid South Carolina driver’s license
  • Prove good employment and credit history
  • Possess a high school diploma or equal education
  • Show healthy physical and mental condition
  • Must allow polygraph, drug, physical and psychological testing
  • Complete a 3-week recruit course and 9-week police academy class
  • Successfully pass a reading and writing comprehension exam

Disqualification Factors:

  • DUI convictions, driving suspensions or hit-and-runs into last 5 years
  • Committing crimes of moral depravity
  • Criminal domestic violence convictions
  • Falsifying facts through applications or interviews
  • Absences to scheduled appointments
  • Military dishonorable discharges
  • Felony convictions of any kind
  • Recent history of selling, using or buying illegal drugs
  • Incidents of employee theft
  • Shoplifting charges at 17 years old or higher

Popular Degrees Options – The North Charleston Police Department only requires that aspiring detectives entering the field as police officers have a high school diploma or equivalent level of education to qualify. However, an increasing number of job candidates complete four years of post-secondary education before entering the workforce.

As a result, a bachelor’s degree is becoming more common among job applicants in the state. In fact, the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce reports that over 43% of jobseekers searching for criminal investigator or special agent jobs in South Carolina hold at least a bachelor’s degree.

Popular degree options include:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration
  • Bachelor of Arts in Criminology
  • Bachelor of Science in Forensics
  • Bachelor of Arts in Sociology

Specialized Investigative Units within the North Charleston Police Department

Detective Bureau – Investigators that work for the Detective Bureau are either assigned to the Investigative Section or the Investigative Support Section. The Investigative Section has three units: Fraud & Forgery Unit, Persons Crimes Unit, and Property Crimes Unit. The Investigative Support Section has four units: Forensics Unit, Property and Evidence Unit, Gang Intervention Team, and Crime Analysis Unit.

Special Investigative Bureau – The Special Investigative Bureau has its own set of units that include: School Resource Officers Unit, Special Victims Unit, Victim Advocates Unit, Training Unit, Neighborhood Resource Officers Unit, and Reserve Officers Unit. The Special Investigative Bureau is also responsible for the Cadet program.

Special Operations Division – The Special Operations Division also employs detectives and criminal investigators. The division’s primary function is recognizing and investigating organized crime factions including narcotics, vice and drug money laundering. The division also provides the community with additional specialized services:

  • Intelligence Led Investigations
  • Dignitary Protection
  • Major Accident Investigations
  • Harbor Patrol
  • Information Services

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