How to Become a Criminal Investigator With the Vancouver
Police Department

Vancouver’s finest are sworn to serve and protect the residents and visitors of the city, and rise to the challenge no matter how tough, brutal, or gruesome the crime. When felony crimes of a particularly challenging nature arise, patrol officers will hand these cases over to their more experienced colleagues who serve as criminal investigators.

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Detectives working as part of the Vancouver Police Department serve in both the East and West precincts in Neighborhood Response Teams to solve crimes that are committed in these areas. Detectives also serve on specialized units within the PD, such as:

  • Domestic Violence Unit
  • Digital Evidence Cybercrime Unit
  • Evidence Unit
  • Gang Unit
  • Sex Offender Unit
  • Regional Drug Task Force
  • Major Crime Unit

Last year detectives with the Major Crime Unit investigated 5 homicides, 11 robberies, and 27 cases of forcible rape.

Candidates who want to learn more about how to become a criminal investigator with the Vancouver Police Department can begin by learning about some of the basic requirements for these positions.

Steps to Become a Detective with the Vancouver Police Department

Vancouver Police Department detectives get their start as entry-level police officers with the department. After completing their initial year of probation, officers will be eligible to apply for transfer to a detective position. Usually though, police officers will develop their skills over the course of around five years and only then have the experience and seniority to be transferred to a detective position. This decision is based on demand within the unit and competition among those bidding for these detective jobs.

Joining the Police Force – To enter the police force as a new officer, applicants will need to meet the following requirements:

  • At least 21 years of age
  • US citizenship
  • Valid driver’s license
  • High school diploma or equivalent

Because both entry-level police positions and criminal investigator jobs with the Vancouver Police Department can be highly competitive, prospective detectives should consider strategies to make themselves more appealing as applicants.

One way of doing this can be by possessing an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in an area that is related to the field of investigations. In addition to increasing an applicant’s qualifications, a college education in the following subjects will also instill important investigative skills and abilities:

  • Law Enforcement
  • Police Science
  • Criminal Justice
  • Law

Training – Detective training with the Vancouver Police Department is obtained in three primary ways. The first is at a police officer’s initial basic training academy and subsequent field training program where the fundamentals in the field of investigations are laid out and practiced.

Second, in-service training is provided throughout an officer’s career in a wide range of areas, including the field of criminal investigations.

Finally, as officers are transferred to various detective positions in specialized units, they will also undergo training that is specifically related to their particular unit assignment. This may be with the Vancouver Police Department or with an outside agency, such as the FBI National Academy.

The Impact of Detective Work on the Vancouver Community

As an example of the impact Vancouver Police Department criminal investigators have on their local community, one need only look as far as some recent statistics released by the drug task force.

Last year detectives working as part of the Clark County-Vancouver Regional Drug Task Force were involved with 155 assigned cases, which netted the following results:

  • 78 arrests
  • 28 weapons seized
  • 29 vehicles seized
  • 42 search warrants executed
  • Over $222,000 seized in cash
  • 441 pounds of processed marijuana plus 740 plants
  • Over 26 pounds of methamphetamine seized
  • Over 7 pounds of heroin seized

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