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How to Become a Criminal Investigator in Vermont

The Vermont Bureau of Criminal Investigations, headquartered in Waterbury, investigates serious crimes within the state, often those that involve multiple jurisdictions. The Bureau operates under the Vermont State Police Department, and is further structured into two divisions: Criminal Investigations and Special Investigations.

Detectives working under the Bureau of Criminal Investigations initiate investigations, investigate existing cases, contact and interview suspects and witnesses, issue search warrants, compile evidence, and present compiled cases for prosecution to the Attorney General of Vermont and the United States Attorney’s Office within the Department of Justice.


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Becoming a Detective with the Vermont Bureau of Criminal Investigations

To become a detective in Vermont, candidates need to become a State Trooper through the Vermont Department of Public Safety State Police.

Though baseline requirements state that candidates need only to possess a GED or high school diploma, promising candidates often have a four-year degree. Some of the preferred degree programs for criminal investigators include:

  • A Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice
  • A Bachelor of Science degree in Forensic Science
  • A Bachelor of Science degree in Forensic Psychology

Apart from this, candidates must meet the following requirements:

  • Must be a citizen of the United States of America
  • Must be a resident of Vermont
  • Must be at least 20 years old when applying
  • Must have corrected vision of at least 20/20 in one eye and 20/40 in the other
  • Must not be/have been convicted of any felony, misdemeanors or accused of any criminal violations
  • Must have no visible tattoos
  • Must have a valid driver’s license that has not been suspended or revoked within the previous 12 months of the application date
  • Must pass a mandatory physical exam in at least the 50th percentile

For candidates enlisted in the military prior to the application date, an honorable discharge is required. Illegal drug use in the 12 months prior to applying is grounds for automatic disqualification.

Specialty Units within the Vermont Bureau of Criminal Investigations

The Bureau of Criminal Investigations is the agency that deals with serious crimes within the state, and assists in patrol services. This bureau falls under the Vermont State Police Department, and is further structured into two divisions:

  • Criminal Investigations
  • Special Investigations

Criminal Investigations can be broken down into the following categories:

  • The Fire Marshalls Office, which investigates fires that often times result in major damages and sometimes even death
  • The Criminal Investigations Unit, which investigates everything from murder, homicide, white-collar embezzlement and suicide

The Special Investigations Group can be broken down into:

  • A Drug Unit
  • A Computer Crimes Unit
  • An Intelligence Unit
  • A Polygraph unit, which covers everything from pre-employment testing to interviewing

One detective with the Bureau reports to the Chittenden Unit for Special Investigations, a task force that deals with cases related to child abuse and sexual assault.

Crimes Committed in Vermont Warrenting Criminal Investigations

The detectives working in the Vermont Bureau of Criminal Investigations are highly trained individuals who are capable of investigating complex crimes ranging from narcotics and homicide investigations to cyber-crimes and fraud. Over the years, this bureau has successfully solved felony cases related to robbery, sexual and aggravated assault, Internet fraud and identity theft, arson, possession and distribution of child pornography and more.

Vermont Crime On-Line statistics released in 2012 reveal 29,384 criminal cases in the state that year, representing a crime rate of 47.31 per 1,000 residents. Specific crimes that warranted the attention of criminal investigators in Vermont in 2012 were distributed as shown here:

  • 7 murders
  • 71 cases of kidnapping
  • 111 robbery cases
  • 115 cases of forcible rape
  • 550 cases of aggravated assault

Some other crimes include three negligent manslaughters, four cases of sex assault with an object, and 40 statutory rape cases.

Vermont’s Criminal Investigation Departments at the County and City Level

Apart from working for the Vermont Bureau of Criminal Investigation at the state level, aspiring detectives can also apply to the following agencies serving Vermont at the county level:

  • Addison County Sheriff’s Office – Unit for Special Investigations
  • Essex County Sheriff’s Office – Detective Division
  • Orleans County Sheriff’s Office – Investigative Services
  • Washington County Sheriff’s Office – Special Investigations

Candidates can also apply to the following city level law enforcement agencies:

  • Burlington Police Department – Bureau of Criminal Investigations
  • South Burlington Police Department – Bureau of Criminal Investigations
  • Barre Police Department – Bureau of Criminal Investigations
  • Springfield Police Department
  • Brandon Police Department
  • Colchester Police Department
  • Essex Police Department
  • Manchester Police Department
  • Swanton Police Department

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