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.
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.
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 5% from 2012 to 2022 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 an average annual salary of $79,030 as of 2012.2
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
- PhD in Criminal Justice - Law and Public Policy
- PhD in Criminal Justice - Justice Administration-Advanced
- PhD in Criminal Justice - Public Management and Leadership-Advanced
American InterContinental University Online
- Bachelor's of Science in Criminal Justice - Law Enforcement
Grand Canyon University
- M.S. in Criminal Justice: Law Enforcement
- M.S. in Criminal Justice: Legal Studies
- B.S. in Justice Studies
- Criminal Justice, AA (Online)
- Criminal Justice, BA (Online)
- Homeland Security, BA (Online)
Keiser University Graduate School
- Criminal Justice, MA (Online)
- B.S. in Human Services / Criminal Justice
- B.S. in Criminal Justice - Law Enforcement
- B.S. in Criminal Justice
Kent State University
- Master's - Criminology & Criminal Justice - Victimology
- Master's - Criminology & Criminal Justice - Corrections
- Master's - Criminology & Criminal Justice - Police
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Protective-Service/Police-and-detectives.htm
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nat.htm
Last Edited by Charles Sipe on July, 7, 2012