How to Become a Criminal Investigator with the Virginia Beach
Police Department

Detectives and criminal investigators are creating a brighter, safer future for residents in Virginia Beach. In 2013, the crime rate for Virginia Beach was 26.7 crimes per 1,000 residents. This statistic was considered a huge achievement for law enforcement personnel because the year marked the lowest crime rate for the city in nearly half a century.

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Still, according to the Virginia Beach Police Department’s 2013 Annual Report, the Department handled 11,993 Part 1 crimes in that year. These crimes included:

  • Larceny — 9,326
  • Burglary — 1,388
  • Motor Vehicle Theft — 428
  • Robbery — 306
  • Aggravated Assault — 266
  • Rape — 109
  • Arson — 103
  • Homicide — 17

Qualifying to Become a Detective with the Virginia Beach Police Department

The titles “detective” and “criminal investigator” are not actual ranks in the Virginia Beach Police Department. Rather, these titles are appointed to sworn police officers that are promoted to specialty positions with more distinctive responsibilities within the Department. In general, most officers authorized to work in detective capacities are housed in the Department’s Investigative Division.

Almost 20% of all sworn officers employed by the Virginia Beach Police Department work in the Investigative Division. However, these officers must gain substantial experience as police officers before earning placement in this division.

Joining the Virginia Beach PD – Job competition for police officer positions is stiff. In 2013, the Professional Development and Training Department processed 2,261 applications. Of these, only 53 applicants were accepted into Field Training as certified sworn police officers.

In order to qualify for entry-level police officer positions, job candidates must meet the following requirements:

  • Must be at least 21 years old by the time of hire
  • Must have at least a high school education
  • Must be a United States citizen
  • Must obtain a North Carolina or Virginia driver’s license
  • Must agree to be tobacco-free

New Standards in Education Although job candidates are only required to have a high school diploma or GED to qualify for police officer jobs, this educational standard is largely antiquated. In fact, most recruits in the Virginia Beach Police Department have at least some college experience with roughly half of them holding a bachelor’s degree. Even employees that enter the Department without a college experience eventually attain a degree.

In 2013, there were over a dozen employees in the Virginia Beach Police Department that earned college degrees. These employees included police officers, master police officers, and even sergeants. By and large, employees earned degrees in field-related disciplines. Some examples include:

  • Associate of Applied Science in Administration of Justice
  • Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration
  • Bachelor of Arts in Public Safety
  • Master of Science in Information Technology: Homeland Security Management
  • Master of Arts in Criminal Justice

The Investigative Division within the Virginia Beach PD

Police officers that get assigned to the Virginia Beach Police Department’s Investigative Division frequently work in the Detective Bureau. The Bureau is divided smaller units that are assigned a specialized group of crimes or victims of crimes. Detectives appointed to a specific unit gain specialized knowledge and training to become better equipped to handle the type of crimes designated to their unit. The Detective Bureau houses the following units:

  • Auto Squad
  • Crime Analysis
  • Domestic Violence
  • Economic Crimes
  • Forensic Services
  • Homicide
  • Missing Persons
  • Pawn
  • Property Crimes
  • Robbery
  • Special Victims
  • Warrant & Fugitive

Detectives may also work in the Special Investigations Bureau of the Investigative Division. This Bureau consists of just five units: Criminal Intelligence Unit, Diversion Unit, Internet Crimes Against Children Unit, Narcotics Unit, and the Vice Unit.

Criminal Intelligence Unit: Detectives that work in the Criminal Intelligence Unit are responsible for gathering, analyzing, storing, and dissembling criminal intelligence information.

Diversion Unit: Detectives that work in the Criminal Intelligence Unit are responsible for investigating crimes that involve the illegal diversion of pharmaceutical drugs.

Internet Crimes Against Children Unit: Detectives that work in the Internet Crimes Against Children Unit are responsible for investigating crimes the possession and distribution of child pornography,

Narcotics Unit: Detectives that work in the Narcotics Unit are responsible for investigating illegal narcotics activity. These detectives primarily handle drug interdiction and long-term investigations.

Vice Unit: Detectives that work n the Vice Unit are responsible for investigating crimes that involve vice-related activities. Examples of these crimes include gambling, prostitution, and pornography.

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