How to Become a Criminal Investigator with the San Antonio
Police Department

San Antonio, Texas is one of the largest cities in the United States, with a population of approximately 1.4 million people. According to statistics compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigations, in 2012, San Antonio’s law enforcement officers and criminal investigators handled 6,943 violent crime reports.

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Violent crimes committed in San Antonio that year were broken down into the following categories:

  • Murder and nonnegligent manslaughter: 89
  • Forcible rape: 549
  • Robbery: 1,864
  • Aggravated assault: 4,441

Detectives working with the San Antonio Police Department Criminal Investigations Division (CID) have the most active role in investigating major crimes within the city. The San Antonio Police Department employs approximately 2,000 sworn peace officers and criminal investigators, in addition to about 500 support personnel such as administrative assistants and emergency call dispatchers.

Becoming a Detective with the San Antonio Police Department

Aspiring detectives must first enter the San Antonio Police Department as patrol officers before qualifying to be transferred to the Criminal Investigations Division. After five years of satisfactory service, city police officers may apply to become detectives.

Minimum Requirements:

Successful applicants for entry-level patrol officer jobs in San Antonio must meet the following minimum education requirements:

  • A high school diploma with a 2.0 (C) grade point average
  • A GED must also have 12 college credit hours with at least a C average

The candidate must be at least 21 years old but no older than 45 years old by the time he would graduate from the police academy. People between the ages of 18 and 20.5 may only apply if they have served at least two years in the U.S. Armed Forces or have earned an associate’s degree or completed at least 60 college semester hours of credit.

General qualifications stipulate:

  • U.S. citizenship
  • A Texas Class C driver’s license or its equivalent from another state
  • Between 20.5 and 44 years of age at the time of taking the entrance exam
  • No more than two hazardous moving violations within the last 12 months

The hiring process will involve:

  • A thorough background check, which includes review of credit and employment history along with any criminal records
  • A polygraph examination
  • A medical exam, which includes a drug screening as well as physical fitness, vision and hearing testing (Psychological testing is also part of the process)

Disqualifying Factors:

  • Any felony or Class A misdemeanor convictions.
  • A Class B misdemeanor conviction within the last 10 years.
  • A pending court case.
  • Any conviction related to family violence.
  • Any discharge from the U.S. Armed Forces other than “honorable.” Uncharacterized and entry-level discharges may be accepted on a case-by-case basis.
  • Excessive evidence of financial irresponsibility such as bankruptcies, judgments, and unpaid collection accounts. Each situation will be evaluated on its own merits, especially if unavoidable circumstances caused credit problems.
  • An unacceptable work record that includes chronic tardiness, absenteeism, or being compelled to resign due to offenses of moral turpitude such as sexual harassment.
  • Any recreational marijuana use within the past two years; recreational use of marijuana more than three times within the last five years.
  • Use of anabolic steroids without a doctor’s supervision during the last five years.
  • Any history of hallucinogenic drug use, including but not limited to LSD or PCP.
  • Abuse of prescription drugs on more than three occasions.
  • Any illegal uses of illicit drugs including but not limited to heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, opium, Ecstasy, and barbiturates.

Criminal Investigative Units Within the San Antonio CID

Detectives within the San Antonio Police Department Criminal Investigations Division may work in one of the following areas:

  • Homicide
  • Night CID
  • Juvenile Crime Section
  • Vice
  • Narcotics
  • Robbery
  • White Collar Crimes
  • SVU (Special Victims Unit)
  • Auto Theft
  • Repeat Offenders Program
  • Youth Services
  • Forgery
  • Missing Persons
  • Traffic Investigations Detail (TID)

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