How to Become a Criminal Investigator with the Abilene
Police Department

In 2012, Detectives with the Abilene Police Department investigated 472 reports of violent crime. Among these were three cases of murder or nonnegligent homicide, 38 alleged forcible rape cases, 127 reported robberies and 304 alleged aggravated assault incidents.

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That same year, the department received 4,393 reports involving property, including 18 alleged arson offenses.

Earning the Title of Detective with the Abilene Police Department

All those interested in becoming detectives with the Abilene Police Department have to first enter the field as a patrol officer.

An Abilene police office can only apply for detective jobs after a period of three years of service, and after achieving a passing score on the Detective Civil Service Examination.

In order for an applicant to be successful in obtaining a police officer position in Abilene, they must meet the following requirements:

Education and Experience Qualifications:

  • Earn at least 30 college credits by the date of hire.
  • Be between the ages of 21 and 35 years old. Prospective applicants between the ages of 35 and 44 may be eligible if they have at least five years of military or law enforcement experience. The age limit is raised to 46 for people who have five years of full-time, continuous law enforcement employment or five years cumulative active-duty military service.

Basic Qualifications:

  • Be a U.S. citizen and fluent in the English language.
  • Have a high school diploma or a GED.
  • A Class C driver’s license in the state of Texas or its equivalent from another state.
  • An acceptable driving record.

Disqualifying Factors:

  • A Class a misdemeanor or any type of felony conviction.
  • Having been convicted of a Class B misdemeanor in the past 10 years.
  • Domestic violence related criminal convictions.
  • Being under indictment for any criminal offense.
  • Confession of committing any type of felony offense, even if a trial or a conviction did not result.
  • Anything other than an “honorable” discharge from the U.S. Armed Forces.
  • Addiction to narcotics or excessive use of legal intoxicants such as alcohol.


After completing the state-required police academy, officers with the Abilene Police Department attend the 15-week Police Training Officer (PTO) program.

Advancing to Detective:

An associate’s or bachelor’s degree will give future detectives a major advantage when applying for promotions. Holding a Master’s degree is even more beneficial for potential detectives. Typically, fields of study in college should relate to criminal justice, psychology, or forensic science.

Working in the Abilene Police Department Criminal Investigation Division

All Abilene police officers start their careers in the patrol unit and depending on performance may move up to other units such as traffic or community services.

Detectives within the Abilene Police Department serve in one of the specialty investigative units within the Criminal investigation Division:

  • Property Unit
  • Fraud Unit
  • Persons Unit
  • Special Victims Unit
  • Identification Unit

The Criminal Investigation Division works closely with the Department’s other major divisions:

  • Child Advocacy Center
  • Special Ops Division
  • Communications Division
  • Records Division
  • Youth Division

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