How to Become a Criminal Investigator with the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office

With an estimated 2012 population of 955,205, Milwaukee is the most populous county in Wisconsin even though it is the third smallest in size. The population density is primarily due to the city of Milwaukee which by itself has 598,916 residents (2012) and is the nation’s 30th largest city.

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Forbes Magazine included Milwaukee on its 2013 list of the 10 most dangerous cities in the U.S. According to Forbes, Milwaukee has nearly 1,300 violent crimes/year for every 100,000 people. However,, which looks at crime statistics across 10 years, notes that when compared to the average overall crime rate of 301.1/year per every 100,000 people ,Milwaukee’s was 683.9 in 2000 but had decreased to 574.9 in 2011, showing that Milwaukee County detectives are doing an excellent job!

The Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office, headed by Sheriff David A. Clarke, Jr., has a wide variety of divisions, including highway safety, snow crash control, missing persons, emergency management, etc. The criminal investigations division.(CID) of highly trained, experienced detectives uses a data driven crime reduction strategy to identify and solve serious criminal activity in order to increase the safety and enhance the lives of citizens of and visitors to Milwaukee County.

Becoming a Detective with the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office

Satisfying the Qualifications Criminal investigators are chosen from the ranks of sheriff’s deputies. Interested men and women must an associate’s degree OR at least 60 college-level hours, preferably in a major like criminal/ justice or law enforcement. Although not required, a bachelor’s degree gives the candidate an advantage.

Candidates must also meet all of the following requirements in order to qualify for for sheriff’s deputy jobs so as to ultimately become a detective:

  • U.S. citizen at least 21 years old
  • High school diploma or GED PLUS Resident of Milwaukee County for at least six months
  • No felony or domestic violence convictions
  • 20/20 vision (corrected OK) and normal hearing

Persons whose applications are accepted must then pass a written general knowledge examination, physical agility test and background investigation.

Training – In 2002 the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office opened a new state-of-the-arts training academy in Franklin, WI to train their own deputies as well as officers from other Milwaukee County law enforcement agencies. The 46,500-square foot facility contains eight classrooms, two lecture halls, mock training cell, physical training room, three pistol ranges and a 350-degree tactical firearms room to train cadets for realistic shooting scenarios.

Certification – Candidates for Milwaukee County deputy sheriff jobs are required to spend 14 weeks at the academy to earn Wisconsin law enforcement certifications. Cadets who have 75 percent or better on all tests and examinations receive diplomas at an official graduation ceremony attended by relatives and friends.

Courses provided at the training academy include:

  • Defense tactics
  • Firearms proficiency
  • Emergency vehicle operation
  • Vehicle stops
  • Interpersonal relations
  • Criminal investigation
  • Ethics
  • Taser certification

How to Apply – Applications are only accepted during recruitment periods. Contact the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office to learn the dates of the next recruitment period and for an application form. The sheriff’s office is located at 821 State Street, Room 107, Milwaukee, WI 53233; Tel: 414-278-4766. Or go to the Milwaukee County Human Services website for a list of open jobs and an online application.

Units in the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Criminal Investigation Division

Criminal investigators with the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office CID are assigned to one of five units:

General Investigations Unit –Investigates a wide variety of criminal activities, such as homicides/other violent crimes, weapons offenses, sexual assaults, drug trafficking, battery, sudden deaths, stolen vehicles, intimidation of witnesses and graffiti (tagging) rings. Criminal investigators (CIs) are also involved in warrant sweeps and work with other law enforcement agencies.

Computer Crimes Unit – Investigates identity thefts, child pornography and enticement, credit card fraud, E-mail harassment and check forgery. CIs are trained to conduct forensic examinations of electronic devices (computers, cell phones, etc.).

Special Investigations Unit – Investigates special cases sent to them by the Attorney General, District Attorney, County Executive or the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors. They also look into investigative requests from various citizen groups when requested by the Sheriff. These CIs must exhibit a high degree of professionalism, confidentiality, decorum and knowledge.

Civil Process Unit – Investigates cases involving restraining orders, evictions, commitment orders, replevins and body attachments. They also transport wanted felons back to Wisconsin on extradition orders.

Data Analysis CompStat Unit – This newest, highly innovative unit uses the COMPSTAT model to analyze crime data and trends, as well as to track accountability in all sheriff office operations

Criminal investigators also participate in collective law enforcement task forces such as:

  • Hi Intensity Drug Trafficking Task Force
  • Joint Terrorist Task Force
  • Cyber Crimes Task Force
  • State Internet Crimes against Children Task Force

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