How to Become a Criminal Investigator with the Chesapeake
Police Department

Detectives employed by the Chesapeake Police Department work in one of two specific sections within the department:

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Criminal Investigations Section – Detectives that are assigned to the Criminal Investigations Section are largely responsible for investigating a select list of criminal offenses, each with a specialized unit of detectives:

  • Auto Theft Unit
  • Crimes Against Persons Unit
  • Sexual Trauma Unit
  • Crime Scene Search Unit
  • Fraud/Check Unit
  • Crimes Against Property Unit

Vice and Narcotics Section – Detectives that are assigned to the Vice and Narcotics Section are largely responsible for investigating all drug and vice-related offenses in the department.

They often perform drug detection services for patrol officers and carry out special investigations for the chief of police. This section also supports the regional Federal Drug Task Force by appointing a detective to join its task force. Some detectives from this section may investigate businesses that are applying for a liquor license in the city.

Steps to Becoming a Detective with the Chesapeake Police Department

Requirements to Join the Force – Aspiring law enforcement professionals cannot become detectives without first meeting the basic job requirements to become a police officer. According to the Chesapeake Police Department, these qualifications include:

  • Must have United States citizenship
  • Must be at least 21 years old by completion of academy training
  • Must have a high school diploma or GED
  • Must hold a valid driver’s license

The Chesapeake Police Department also has an extensive list of disqualifying factors for job candidates. Applicants that meet any disqualification criteria will not be considered for employment:

  • No felony convictions
  • No convictions that involve deceit, dishonesty, immorality or domestic violence
  • No driver’s license suspensions or revocations within 2 years
  • No DUI convictions within 3 years
  • No reckless driving convictions within 3 years
  • No illegal drug possession, manufacturing or distribution convictions
  • No cocaine, LSD, PCP or hallucinogenic drug use within 5 years
  • No marijuana use within 3 years
  • No dishonorable discharges from military service
  • No more than 3 moving violation convictions within 12 months

Career Advancement to Become a Detective – Detectives are not required to earn a college degree to qualify for jobs with the Chesapeake Police Department. However, since the majority of job candidates for detective positions in the state have a post-secondary degree, college educated applicants are more likely to succeed in an increasingly competitive job market.

According to the Virginia Workforce Connection, degrees among jobseekers looking for detective jobs in the state in 2014 were distributed as shown here:

  • High school diploma or equivalent—42.11%
  • Bachelor’s degree—36.84%
  • Associate’s degree—10.53%
  • Less than high school—5.26%
  • 1-3 years of college, technical or vocational school—5.26%

Law Enforcement Training Once the Chesapeake Police Department accepts a job candidate’s application, the applicant enters into the next phase, which is to complete a career-training program through the Chesapeake Law Enforcement Training Academy. Candidates that enter into the academy must complete a Basic Law Enforcement Class.

The class is 6 months in length and covers field-related topics such as firearms, emergency vehicle operations, and defense tactics.

Degree Options for Detectives in Virginia

Students that intend to pursue a career as a detective typically enter into a field-related degree program. Popular areas of study include criminal justice, law enforcement and police science. Degree programs in these disciplines are ideal because they instruct in courses that are directly applicable to detective and criminal investigator occupations. Classes generally cover topics in crime, corrections, court systems, ethics, and police issues. Popular degree options for detectives in Virginia include:

  • Associate of Applied Science in Police Science
  • Bachelor of Arts in Criminology
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology
  • Master of Science in Administration of Justice and Security

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