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How to Become a Criminal Investigator in South Dakota

Crime statistics show that in 2012 South Dakota saw a total of 15 homicides, 464 reported rapes, 2,835 burglaries, $20 million in property loss, 4,584 arrests that were drug related, and 5,897 DUI arrests.

South Dakota’s state-level multijurisdictional detectives serve as Special Agents with the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI). There are twelve field offices across the state where Special Agents conduct investigations on major felony cases such as homicide, theft, fraud, rape, officer-involved shootings, assault, and drug trafficking.

The South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) acts as a liaison to other federal and local agencies such as Interpol, the Federal Crimes Enforcement Network, the El Paso Intelligence Center, the Violent Criminal Apprehension Program, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The DCI also maintains the statewide missing persons’ database.

Working as a special agent with the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation involves preparing search warrants, serving arrest warrants, working with crime victims, giving testimony in court, preparing and interviewing witnesses, and working undercover.

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Training, Education, and Experience Required to Become a Detective in
South Dakota

Meeting the Requirements:

There are two levels at which Special Agents within DCI are employed: Special Agent I and Special Agent II. Both positions require applicants to pass a series of physical tests and oral interviews.

Special Agent I is an entry-level agent who independently conducts criminal investigations or works in tandem with city, county, or other law enforcement agencies. Travel and irregular hours are common.

To qualify for this position, a bachelor’s degree or equivalent education and experience is required. Additional law enforcement experience may substitute for a completed bachelor’s degree.

Applicants must be U.S. citizens clear of any felony convictions, 21 years old, and have a valid South Dakota driver’s license, or the ability to obtain one.

Special Agent II jobs require candidates with all of the above-mentioned criteria as well as law enforcement certification and a minimum of two years’ experience conducting investigations.

Applicants will be asked to disclose specific criminal investigative responsibilities and related law enforcement work experience including to/from dates.

Applicants who do not meet these requirements will be disqualified from consideration.

Submitting an Application:

To apply for a position as a DCI Special Agent, follow these steps:

  1. Complete the online application
  2. Complete the Personal Data Questionnaire
  3. Complete and sign the authorization and release form
  4. Review the physical requirements and minimum qualifications for the position

Applicants who are selected will then need to take additional written tests and oral interviews.

Specialized Sections within the South Dakota Division of Criminal
Investigation (DCI)

The South Dakota DCI is composed of several sections offering a variety of services.

Identification (ID) – This unit is the main repository for crime records in the state. They process, document and archive a comprehensive database of fingerprints and manage the computer information systems that store criminal records and information.

The Criminal Statistical Analysis Center (SAC) – The SACmaintains a database of all crime statistics in the state.

The Criminal Intelligence Unit – This unit helps the local, state and federal government by supporting criminal investigations and providing criminal intelligence information upon request.

High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) – South Dakota is one of six states designated as a high intensity drug trafficking area and receives federal funds specifically for equipment and training to tackle the problem of methamphetamines.

The Task Force on Drugs – This unit receives federal money to assist state and local government agencies with designing programs that improve the functions of the criminal justice system and increase drug control efforts at the state level.

Missing Persons – This unit maintains a comprehensive database of missing persons and missing children in the state, and works with other state and federal agencies to display and provide missing person information.

DCI Law Enforcement Training – The DCI offers law enforcement training in its training center, the George S. Mickelson Criminal Justice Center. Law enforcement officers (full-time and part-time) are required to obtain certification within one year of employment. Law Enforcement Training provides training services for reserve officers, polygraph examiners, computer voice stress analyzers, DARE officers, canine teams, and other relevant continuing education courses.

State Forensic Lab – The DCI operates the state forensic lab in South Dakota and conducts scientific examinations on criminal evidence in support of cases under investigation by various law enforcement agencies.

Detectives in South Dakota’s Municipal and County Criminal Investigation Divisions

Becoming a detective in South Dakota can be joining the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation as a special agent, or joining a local police department or sheriff’s office and putting in the service necessary to be promoted. Other criminal investigation divisions in South Dakota include:

  • Sioux Falls City Police Department Criminal Investigations
  • Rapid City Police Department Criminal Investigations
  • Brookings Police Department Criminal Investigative Division (CID)
  • Watertown Criminal Investigative Division (CID)
  • City of Mitchell Investigative Branch
  • Pierre City Police Criminal Investigations Section
  • Huron Police Department Detectives Section
  • Brown County Sheriff’s Office
  • Yankton City Police Department
  • Vermillion Police Department

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