Degree Programs for Criminal Justice Jobs in Maine

The 2014 Maine Crime and Justice Data Book notes that from 2004 to 2014, the overall rate of crime in the state increased by 2.3 percent. Additionally, the number of homicides in Maine has increased over the past five years, and the number of reported rapes in the state has been higher than the national average over the past four years.

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These statistics point to a need for qualified professionals within Maine’s criminal justice system. Whether in law enforcement, legal support, investigations, forensics or corrections, criminal justice professionals keep residents safe and ensure criminals pay their debt to society.

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Law Enforcement and Criminal Investigations Jobs in Maine

Law enforcement officers in Maine may go by different titles, depending upon the agency through which they are employed. Police officers typically work at the municipal level, sheriffs’ deputies work for county sheriff’s offices, while state troopers work for the Maine State Police.

Prerequisites for Becoming a Police Officer or Deputy Sheriff in Maine

According to the Maine Sheriffs’ Association, as of 2014 there are 352 sworn deputy sheriffs working across the state of Maine. Police officers in Maine must meet different requirements depending upon the police department.

Some departments, such as the Bangor Police Department, require applicants to the police academy simply to have a high school diploma or GED; while other departments, including the Portland Police Department, require police officer trainees to have post-high school experience, education or a combination of the two.

Deputy sheriffs in Maine must usually have a high school diploma /GED, and college credits are desirable.

There are numerous police departments and county sheriff’s offices located in Maine, including (but not limited to):

  • Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office – Auburn
  • Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Office – Dover/Foxcroft
  • Lewiston Police Department – Lewiston
  • South Portland Police Department – South Portland

Qualifications for Criminal Investigator Jobs in Maine

Detectives, also referred to as criminal investigators, are the primary investigators of crimes in Maine at the federal, state and local levels. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that as of May 2013, 590 criminal investigators or detectives worked in Maine.

Before becoming a detective at the state level in Maine, one must become a Maine state trooper. This requires being at least 21 years old with a high school diploma or GED (or 20 and have completed at least 60 college credits) and passing various tests.

Detectives at the city and county levels must usually meet the same requirements, although preference is given to applicants with some college education or law enforcement experience.

Federal-level detectives in Maine must be between the ages of 21 and 37 with a bachelor’s degree and criminal investigation experience.

Criminal investigators and detectives work in agencies in Maine such as:

  • Maine State Police Criminal Investigations and Forensics Division
  • Sanford Police Criminal Investigations Division
  • Federal Bureau of Investigations
  • York County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division

Prerequisites for Becoming a Maine State Trooper

Becoming a state trooper in Maine is easier for applicants who have at least some college education. They must also be 20 years old (21 if an applicant has no college education), have a valid Maine driver’s license, and pass criminal background, medical and physical examinations.

Maine State Police work out of barracks across the state, located in cities such as:

  • Augusta
  • Bangor
  • Gray
  • Houlton
  • Skowhegan
  • Alfred
  • Ellsworth

Forensics and Crime Scene Investigations Jobs in Maine

Crime scene investigation and forensic jobs in Maine involve collecting and processing evidence from crime scenes.

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Prerequisites for Forensics Jobs in Maine

Maine’sforensic scientists process the evidence that CSI investigators collect at crime scenes. Criminalists, forensic science technicians, toxicologists and forensic audiovisual specialists are all classified as forensic jobs in Maine.

A minimum of a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, forensic science or science is usually a requirement for these types of jobs.

Certification for forensic scientists is optional but recommended, as many employers in Maine will not hire forensic scientists who are not certified. Certification is available through the American College of Forensic Examiners.

Qualifications for Crime Scene Investigation Jobs in Maine

Maine’s crime scene investigators gather and examine evidence obtained at crime scenes. This broad category includes job titles such ascriminal investigator, crime scene technician, fingerprint examiner, and CSI technology specialist.

An associate or bachelor’s degree is usually necessary for crime scene investigators in Maine, usually in the criminal justice or forensic science area.

Certification is not a mandate for CSI jobs in Maine, but is recommended and might get one hired over non-certified candidates.The American College of Forensic Examiners provides certification for CSI jobs including Certified Criminal Investigator.

Agencies Employing Forensic Scientists and Crime Scene Investigators in Maine

Crime scene investigators and forensic scientists in Maine may find work within many types of law enforcement and investigative agencies at federal, state, county and local levels. Organizations that may employ CSIs or forensic scientists include:

  • Lewiston Police Department Criminal Investigations Division
  • Maine State Police Criminal Investigations and Forensics Division
  • Maine Computer Crimes Task Force

Maine Department of Corrections Jobs

The Maine Sheriffs’ Association notes that as of 2014, there are 740 corrections officers working in the state of Maine. Correctional officers in Maine are responsible for law enforcement inside the state’s prison system. Although according to statistics provided by the U.S. Department of Justice, Maine had the lowest incarceration rate in the nation in 2012, qualified correctional officers are still very much in demand in the state.

All applicants for correctional officer jobs in Maine must be at least 18 years old and U.S. citizens with a high school diploma or GED, a valid Maine driver’s license, and able to pass a physical aptitude test.

Newly hired correctional officers in Maine will receive 240 hours of classroom training in addition to on-the-job training.

The Maine Department of Corrections operates adult facilities within the following locations:

  • Maine State Prison-Warren
  • Southern Maine Re-Entry Center-Alfred
  • Women’s Center- Windham
  • Maine Correctional Center-Windham
  • Downeast Correctional Facility- Machiasport
  • Charleston Correctional Facility-Charleston
  • Bolduc Correctional Facility- Warren

Paralegals and Legal Support Careers in Maine

Maine Revised Statutes state that paralegals and legal assistants in Maine should have the experience, education or training necessary to perform substantive legal work, for which an attorney is responsible. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that in May 2013, there were 1180 paralegals and legal assistants working in Maine.

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A certificate in paralegal studies, associate of science in paralegal studies, or bachelor of science in justice studies are all valuable degrees for aspiring paralegals in Maine.

Professional certification is voluntary for Maine’s paralegals. The National Association of Legal Assistants and the National Federation of Paralegal Associations offers certification through examination. Credentialed paralegals in Maine may find career advancement to be easier than it would be for non-credentialed legal assistants.

Major Law Firms in Maine that May Employ Paralegals and Legal Assistants

Maine paralegals and legal assistants may find work at various locations across the state, including (but not limited to):

  • LeBlanc & Young – Portland
  • McKee Billings, P.A. – Augusta
  • Brann & Isaacson- Lewiston
  • Law Offices of Russell J. Goldsmith- York

Homeland Security and Emergency Management Jobs in Maine

Homeland security and emergency management jobs in Maine involve protecting the borders and citizens of the state and the nation, in times of peace and times of trouble. These types of jobs always require at least an undergraduate degree, such as a bachelor’s degree in emergency management or public administration, and often a graduate degree.

Jobs for those trained in emergency management and homeland security may be available at many different types of agencies at all levels throughout Maine, including:

  • Maine Department of Homeland Security – Augusta
  • Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office – Portland
  • Maine Emergency Management Agency – Augusta
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection – Portland

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