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  #1  
Old 06-07-2012, 7:24 PM
tanksoldier tanksoldier is offline
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Default "Specialized Investigator" gigs

I'm thinking of applying to several "Investigator" openings with the state. They are all, at least in theory, entry-level positions with academy sponsorship available.

DMV, Insurance Fraud, Social Services, etc.

I realize that probably more than a few experienced officers and/or academy graduates might be applying to these same positions... tho the examination seems to be open continuous.

I'm more interested into any insight anyone might have into the work itself. I realize door kicking, car chases and foot pursuits may not be the order of the day... but is the work fulfilling? Challenging? Worthwhile?

What say you?
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Old 06-07-2012, 11:12 PM
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If your looking for a 8-5 job with weekends and holidays off, most of these positions will give you that. Some are good assignments, some are not. Just depends on what your interested in. You will usually have the ability to transfer to different state agencies (DMV, BMQD, ABC, etc) without losing state benefits or seniority.
Downside is these are not 830.1 positions, and last I heard do not have safety retirement. They also do not pay as well as most police officer and deputy positions.
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Old 06-08-2012, 8:52 PM
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last I heard do not have safety retirement.
I know that ABC Investigators get 2.5@55

http://www.abc.ca.gov/jobs/Investigator%20Flyer.pdf

...don't know if the others are different.
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Old 06-08-2012, 11:16 PM
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Originally Posted by tanksoldier View Post
I know that ABC Investigators get 2.5@55

http://www.abc.ca.gov/jobs/Investigator%20Flyer.pdf

...don't know if the others are different.
Many agencies have 3%@50, 2.5%@50, etc. With the latest recession a lot of agencies are re-negotiating retirement benefits for new hires, so 2.5@55 may be about as good as it gets for a while.
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Old 06-09-2012, 1:37 AM
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Old 06-09-2012, 2:00 AM
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You don't always have a first pick at your assignment location.
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Old 06-09-2012, 9:47 AM
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Originally Posted by 5shot View Post
Downside is these are not 830.1 positions, and last I heard do not have safety retirement. They also do not pay as well as most police officer and deputy positions.
They are 830.2 positions, which have statewide Peace Officer authority, not just city or county wide. And yes, they do have safety retirement.
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Old 06-09-2012, 5:30 PM
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Originally Posted by cowboykenny View Post
You don't always have a first pick at your assignment location.
The announcements up currently are for specific locations.

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Old 06-09-2012, 5:35 PM
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I applied for a bunch of ABC spots a few years ago. If I remember right, you do a general ABC application, and once that goes through and you're on the list, when certain positions open up, you apply for them. I interviewed in Oakland and in Redding, didn't get either one. ABC isn't a terrible gig. All plain clothes stuff, lots of coordinating with locals, lots of checking paperwork and the various types of licenses at different establishments. Lots of paperwork. Lots...of...paperwork...
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Old 06-09-2012, 5:37 PM
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I applied for a bunch of ABC spots a few years ago. If I remember right, you do a general ABC application, and once that goes through and you're on the list, when certain positions open up, you apply for them. I interviewed in Oakland and in Redding, didn't get either one. ABC isn't a terrible gig. All plain clothes stuff, lots of coordinating with locals, lots of checking paperwork and the various types of licenses at different establishments. Lots of paperwork. Lots...of...paperwork...
That's true of all investigator jobs. 10% field work, 90% paperwork.
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Old 06-09-2012, 6:07 PM
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If I remember right, you do a general ABC application, and once that goes through and you're on the list, when certain positions open up, you apply for them.
The way it seems to be working currently is you take a general "investigator" exam, which is pretty basic, which covers all "investigator" positions for all the different agencies: ABC, Insurance, Social Services, etc... and if you score well enough to be in the top 3 levels you can apply to any investigator position with any agency.

What the individual agencies' process may be after that, I don't have any data yet.

DMV want a lot of stuff up front: Transcript and behavior questionnaire, etc submitted with the state application. Others don't seem to want anything but the app up front.
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Old 06-09-2012, 6:24 PM
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From CalCop:
They are 830.2 positions, which have statewide Peace Officer authority, not just city or county wide. And yes, they do have safety retirement.

Not to thread jack, but I think you mean they have authority to enforce all laws, regardless of location. As a 830.37 peace officer I am not limited to my county as jurisdiction. My enforcement is just detailed to laws relating to fire, arson and insurance fraud. I can arrest someone anywhere. I do not have authority off duty, but then, I have zero interest in busting a guy for much of anything when off the clock. The status doesn't change for me when off duty, just the authority to act on it.
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Old 06-09-2012, 6:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Sacmedic View Post
Not to thread jack, but I think you mean they have authority to enforce all laws, regardless of location.
Well, 5shot made it sound as if 830.1 cops somehow had a leg up on 830.2 cops. I was just pointing out that 830.2 cops actually have broader authority regarding location of crimes committed. Unless a crime happens in their presence, 830.1 cops are limited to their jurisdiction, meaning city or county limits. 830.2 cops do not have that restriction. I guess I don't understand why 5shot figured there was a downside to being an ABC agent (830.2 cop) when compared to an 830.1 cop. I picked the only comparison I could think of.
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Old 06-09-2012, 6:40 PM
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I would also look into where the funding comes from. If its a "General Fund" position I doubt they will hire any more people. If its a specialty fund I would still be careful. When general fund folks get laid off the state goes by state seniority and will "bump" any "specialty fund" folks. Bottom line is last hired....first to get laid off. I know the state is already getting plans ready for additional lay offs. I know a few folks that got laid off and are working for local agencies. Some are just plain out of work. I'm not even counting the demotions!

My son wanted to become a LEO. I told him not to even consider state service. He is now a local LEO.
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  #15  
Old 06-09-2012, 7:11 PM
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CalCop,

I see your point. I understand the illustration you were trying to make.
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Old 06-09-2012, 10:57 PM
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Originally Posted by CalCop View Post
That's true of all investigator jobs. 10% field work, 90% paperwork.
I don't know your investigative experience, but that doesn't sound very realistic. I guess there are guys who can do 90% of their work with a phone and computer at their desk, but that hasn't been my experience. That may be true in agencies that deal with regulatory issues instead of criminal investigations, or with investigators in supervisory/management positions. I guess it depends on the work assignment. Most of the criminal investigators I've worked with spent about 60-70% of the day in the field.
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Old 06-09-2012, 11:08 PM
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Originally Posted by CalCop View Post
They are 830.2 positions, which have statewide Peace Officer authority, not just city or county wide.
Not entirely true. ABC agents have 830.2 authority. But most of the other state investigative agencies, medical, insurance fraud, DMV, labor board, etc have 830.3 or lower authority. And there is a reason why the legislature defined peace officer authority in lowering degrees.
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Old 06-10-2012, 12:55 AM
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Originally Posted by 5shot View Post
I don't know your investigative experience, but that doesn't sound very realistic. I guess there are guys who can do 90% of their work with a phone and computer at their desk, but that hasn't been my experience. That may be true in agencies that deal with regulatory issues instead of criminal investigations, or with investigators in supervisory/management positions. I guess it depends on the work assignment. Most of the criminal investigators I've worked with spent about 60-70% of the day in the field.
I was overstating to make a point...if you don't like paperwork...don't become an investigator. However, my experience has been different than yours. I would say at least 50% goes to paperwork. For example, if I spend two hours interviewing a suspect, it takes me the whole next work day to put the interview to paper. And if I take photos and notes of a crime scene, I spend twice that amount of time, or more, booking evidence, analyzing, organizing, preparing exhibits, etc. So, I would say I easily spend more time at office work than field work for my investigations.
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Last edited by CalCop; 06-10-2012 at 12:58 AM..
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Old 06-10-2012, 4:11 AM
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Good thread. I had thought about applying to ABC but I want to get my bachelor's first. Soul Stealer, would DHS take apps from people with just an AA degree or do you need a bachelors?
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Old 06-10-2012, 9:41 AM
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5shot,

With all due respect, the exact number our individual peace officer classification is listed in the Penal Code is not indicative of a certain degree of authority. A peace officer listed at the trailing end of section 830 makes a valid arrest just like someone listed near the top. The scope of intended duties changes based on where the position is listed in the code, but people in the non-830.1 & 830.2 positions typically do those jobs because it is their area of expertise. The most significant difference in code sections below 830.2 is that the employer can decide whether to allow these classifications to carry firearms, on duty. That is a discussion for another thread though.
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Old 06-10-2012, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Sacmedic View Post
5shot,

With all due respect, the exact number our individual peace officer classification is listed in the Penal Code is not indicative of a certain degree of authority. A peace officer listed at the trailing end of section 830 makes a valid arrest just like someone listed near the top. The scope of intended duties changes based on where the position is listed in the code, but people in the non-830.1 & 830.2 positions typically do those jobs because it is their area of expertise. The most significant difference in code sections below 830.2 is that the employer can decide whether to allow these classifications to carry firearms, on duty. That is a discussion for another thread though.
The terms "full duty" and "limited duty" use to be commonly used when describing peace officers descriptions. When the state legislature started defining peace officer authority, it was with the intention of avoiding the police corruption that was common in some states.
The CHP was set up to work statewide, but their primary duties was to enforce the vehicle code, and working other traffic matters. That way there would not be a state police department, where 1 person, corrupt or not, could control law enforcement in the whole state. California did have a "state police" division also, but their primary duties was limited to guarding state properties, buildings, and officials.
"Primary duties" is the key word. As peace officer descriptions go down the code, 830.2, .3, etc., the primary authority gets more limited to what the actual function of their organization is. And as you said, their ability to carry firearms on or off duty also has limitations on it as you go down thru the code.
But the legislature also did not want to limit a peace officer's authority to take action to protect the public safety when a crime was committed in their presence. So all peace officers have the authority to take action on most crimes committed in their presence. But not the authority to go looking for those crimes.
Peace officer status is just one of the things to consider when looking for a law enforcement job. Just like work schedules, locations, duties, pay, retirement, and benefits.
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Old 06-10-2012, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by tanksoldier View Post
I'm more interested into any insight anyone might have into the work itself. I realize door kicking, car chases and foot pursuits may not be the order of the day... but is the work fulfilling? Challenging? Worthwhile?
FWIW, I know several people who have worked for each of the agencies you listed. The experience of those who worked for the Dept of Insurance seems to be the most rewarding. They regularly put on their raid gear and did surveillance, search warrants, arrests, crime scene processing, etc. And they all seemed to enjoy the freedom and camaraderie. I heard no complaints from the DMV guys, but some moved on to DOI and liked it better. DOJ and ABC seemed to enjoy it as well. There is one exception. The one guy I know who worked social services was very frustrated. Felt more like a social worker than a cop, and his chain didn't back his desire to enforce many things.
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Last edited by CalCop; 06-10-2012 at 11:20 AM..
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Old 06-10-2012, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by CalCop View Post
I was overstating to make a point...if you don't like paperwork...don't become an investigator. However, my experience has been different than yours. I would say at least 50% goes to paperwork. For example, if I spend two hours interviewing a suspect, it takes me the whole next work day to put the interview to paper. And if I take photos and notes of a crime scene, I spend twice that amount of time, or more, booking evidence, analyzing, organizing, preparing exhibits, etc. So, I would say I easily spend more time at office work than field work for my investigations.
Yea, I just thought the 90%-10% was a little too vague. I can see your 50-50 example being more representative of a average investigative workload. And of course there are extreme variations to that. I've worked assignments where I only checked into the office once a week. And assignments like a warrant detail, where we'd spend the whole day in the field, and the only paperwork we'd do was a booking slip.
Paperwork depends a lot on the assignment, agency, amount of support staff, etc.
But it's the same if your working in a patrol function. Unless you work for a agency that's big enough to have "report cars", most officers/deputies will write several reports a day. Sometimes working the whole shift on just one call. Traffic officers will also usually write several reports a day.
Paperwork just goes with most law enforcement jobs.
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Old 06-10-2012, 11:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CalCop View Post
They are 830.2 positions, which have statewide Peace Officer authority, not just city or county wide. And yes, they do have safety retirement.
This. And I will tell you upfront since I applied for some of these positions, they want POST training ahead of time.

Also, the ABC is the elite of the Investigator series. They do it all and kick ***.
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Old 06-10-2012, 12:49 PM
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Good info. So who else is going to apply for these jobs?
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Old 06-10-2012, 1:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tanksoldier View Post
The announcements up currently are for specific locations.

Salaries may be a downside for some, or a upside for others. Just to compare law enforcement salaries: a O.C.S.D. Deputy makes $5089-$7308 + up to $300 additional for POST pay.
A O.C.S.D. and O.C.D.A. Investigator make $6230-$7975 + up to $300 additional for POST pay. Plus 3%@50 retirement. Of course some cities and counties pay more, some less.
So again, there's a lot of things to consider when looking into a law enforcement career.
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Old 06-10-2012, 2:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Raider510 View Post
Good thread. I had thought about applying to ABC but I want to get my bachelor's first. Soul Stealer, would DHS take apps from people with just an AA degree or do you need a bachelors?
Most government agencies like individuals to have 4 year degrees. Now that being said, a 2 year degree will work with either military and or LE experience.
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Old 06-14-2012, 6:18 AM
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Originally Posted by SoulStealer View Post
Most government agencies like individuals to have 4 year degrees. Now that being said, a 2 year degree will work with either military and or LE experience.
Sounds good, luckily I have both. Although my 3 years for the POST certificate will be up later this year....

I'm working on getting my BS now, should be done in 2 years hopefully
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Old 06-15-2012, 9:11 PM
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Quote:
The most significant difference in code sections below 830.2 is that the employer can decide whether to allow these classifications to carry firearms, on duty.
How do you find out what a specific department or agency policy is?

I'm not too keen on wielding peace officer authority and responsibility while unarmed.

I'm rarely unarmed as a private individual.
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Old 06-16-2012, 12:41 AM
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Tanksoldier,

Every agency employing peace officers below 830.2 is different. It all depends on the mindset of the agency administration and the relative threat level involved in the job. For example, some probation departments still don't arm their PO's, most do. Within some agencies only certain peace officers can while others can't. The best way to find out is to research the agency you are applying for individually. No comprehensive list exists.
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