Gang Investigator Job Description and Career Outlook

Gang investigators and gang detectives are typically law enforcement professionals who have been specially trained to address problems of gang activity within their jurisdictions. These individuals usually have prior experience as police officers, but may also serve as liaisons to the police force if they have special knowledge or training.

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Gang Investigator Job Description and Common Tasks

The job of a police gang unit is to know and stay current on the specific details of gangs that interact in their jurisdictions. Gangs are very insular communities that are protective of information and members, and it often takes a great deal of fieldwork to develop the necessary contacts and credentials to be involved in the prevention and fighting of crime associated with gangs.

Specific jobs may involve learning the language of the gang, in terms of both culture and gang symbolism. Gangs are known to communicate using pictures, acronyms and even types of sign language to communicate that a gang investigator will need to learn to talk with members of the gang. Gang investigation also involves learning about known gang disputes, territories and also creating dossiers on members that can help solve the gang’s hierarchy of leadership.

Doing this will involve research that entails interviewing and developing relationships with known gang members, and is one of the most important facets of the gang investigator’s job.

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Gang Investigator Requirements and Training

The first sure step to becoming a gang investigator is to become a police officer, or having a background in criminal justice in the area of parole, probation or corrections. Officer candidacy usually involves a fairly intensive screening process, followed by an academy course and testing that usually takes a few months to complete. Other options within the criminal justice career field may be found by having the requisite education in criminology, sociology, law enforcement, and contacting a Gang Investigators Association.

Gang Investigator Salary, Job Outlook and Employers

Police agencies will always need skilled investigators to deal with criminal activity by gangs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects job growth of 7% from 2010 to 2020 for police and detectives.1 Salaries vary depending on position; however, if the investigator is a police officer, pay will be commensurate with time in service and grade in that officer’s jurisdiction. According to the BLS, detectives and criminal investigators earn a median salary of $68,820 as of May 2010.1

Gang Investigator Interviews

Interview with Gary Killam – President of the Florida Gang Investigators Association
Interview with Ron Hampton – President of the East Coast Gang Investigators Association
Interview with Chuck Schoville – President of the Arizona Gang Investigators Association
Interview with Tim Hock – President of the Oklahoma Gang Investigators Association

Gang Investigator and Criminal Investigation Related Degrees

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American InterContinental University Online
Campuses: 1Online
Popular Degrees:

  • Bachelor's of Science in Criminal Justice - Law Enforcement

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Penn Foster Schools
Campuses: 1Online
Popular Degrees:

  • Private Investigator

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Grand Canyon University
Campuses: 1Online
Popular Degrees:

  • M.S. in Criminal Justice: Law Enforcement
  • M.S. in Criminal Justice: Legal Studies
  • B.S. in Justice Studies

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Keiser University
Campuses: 1Online
Popular Degrees:

  • Criminal Justice, BA
  • Criminal Justice, AA

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Walden University
Campuses: 1Online
Popular Degrees:

  • M.S. in Criminal Justice Leadership & Executive Management - General Program
  • B.S. in Human Services - Criminal Justice 
  • Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration - Criminal Justice

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Colorado Technical University Online
Campuses: 1Online
Popular Degrees:

  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice: Human Services
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice

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Capella University
Campuses: 1Online
Popular Degrees:

  • MS - Criminal Justice
  • PhD - Criminal Justice
  • BS - Criminal Justice


References:
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Protective-Service/Police-and-detectives.htm

Last Edited by Charles Sipe on July, 7, 2012