How to Become a Criminal Investigator with the Nashville
Police Department

Criminal investigators that land positions with the Nashville Police Department serve as detectives for the Criminal Investigations Division (CID). The CID is currently housed in the Investigative Services Bureau and controls two specialized sections:

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Personal Crimes Section – The Personal Crimes Section manages the Homicide Unit and the Sex Crimes Unit.

Property Crimes Section – Detectives that work in the Property Crimes Section are assigned to one of four units:

  • Auto Theft Unit
  • Technical Surveillance Unit
  • Pawn Shop Unit
  • Fraud Unit

Qualifying to Become a Detective with the Nashville Police Department

Education and Experience Requirements – Most criminal investigators that work for Nashville’s Criminal Investigations Bureau begin their careers as police officers.

To qualify for police officer jobs, future criminal investigators must complete at least sixty semester hours of education from an accredited college or university. Completed studies must culminate in a GPA of 2.0 or higher. However, there are three alternative qualifying pathways:

  • High school diploma (or GED) and two years of active military service. Only honorably discharged military personnel are considered.


  • High school diploma (or GED) and at least two years of law enforcement experience working in a patrol function. Tennessee POST certification or equivalent is additionally required for this option.


  • High school diploma (or GED) and five years of full-time work experience.

Degree Options – The Nashville Police Department requires that all job candidates that lack previous work experience or military service complete sixty credits (approximately two years) of formal education from a college or university.

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development determined that over 75% of jobseekers looking for criminal investigator jobs held at least a bachelor’s degree.

Examples of degrees relevant to criminal investigations include:

  • Associate of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Associate of Applied Science in Police Sciences
  • Bachelor of Science in Emergency Services Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration
  • Master of Business Administration in Justice Studies
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice

Other Job Requirements – According to the Nashville Police Department, aspiring criminal investigators usually start their careers by meeting police officer job requirements:

  • Must be at least twenty-one years old
  • Must be a citizen of the United States
  • Must have a “Class D” driver’s license
  • Must have adequate Distant Visual Acuity, depth perception, and color vision
  • Must meet Tennessee Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission guidelines
  • Must meet the physical and medical standards that the Army and Navy use for enlistment/appointment
  • Must not have a dishonorable discharge from military service
  • Must not have several offenses or chargeable accidents on driving record
  • Must not have a record of guilty or no contest pleas to felony charges
  • Must not have a history law violations involving illegal drugs, force, violence, theft, alcohol, gambling or deceit

Serving as a Detective in Nashville, Tennessee

Statistical reports gleaned by the Nashville Police Department indicate that violent crime is on the rise. The number of violent crimes in Nashville jumped from 7,228 in 2011 to 7,712 in 2012, which equates to an increase of 6.70%.

These violent crimes included:

  • Aggravated Assault – 5,377
  • Robbery – 1,719
  • Attempted and Forcible Rape – 554
  • Murder and Non-Negligent Homicide – 62

Detectives recently became local heroes and media attractions when undercover operatives apprehended 122 drug and prostitution related offenders throughout the Nashville community. A media release by the Nashville Police Department reports that as a result of infiltration into local criminal networks, detectives effectively seized:

  • 683 grams of marijuana
  • 81.3 grams of cocaine
  • 180 pills
  • 5 firearms
  • $8,296 in cash

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