County of Alameda

Senior Investigator, Public Defender's Office (#8581)

Bargaining Unit: ACMEA - PD Investigators Mgmt (R48)
$80.66-$97.86 Hourly / $6,452.80-$7,828.80 BiWeekly /
$13,981.07-$16,962.40 Monthly / $167,772.80-$203,548.80 Yearly


Under general supervision from the Chief Investigator, assists in directing, supervising, coordinating, training, and advising investigators of the Public Defender's Office; undertakes investigative tasks of the Division; and does related work as required.  


The Senior Investigator supervises Investigators in either felony or misdemeanor investigations.  The Senior Investigator assists in workload distribution, maintaining quality, quantity, and control of caseload, gathers and reports relevant statistics, trains subordinate investigators, investigates complex felony and homicide cases, provides supervisorial structure of branch offices; and maintains liaison with public agencies.  This class may perform the duties of the Chief Investigator in his/her absence.  

The class of Senior Investigator is distinguished from the Public Defender Investigator III in that the latter is the journey-level professional class in the investigator series and conducts investigations of cases ranging from misdemeanors to complex felonies and capital homicides. This class is further distinguished from the Chief Investigator in that the latter directs the Investigation Division of the Public Defender’s Office and is responsible for the administrative control of the division.  


NOTE:    The following are the duties performed by employees in this classification.  However, employees may perform other related duties at an equivalent level.  Each individual in the classification does not necessarily perform all duties listed.

  1. Investigates all stages of cases where persons have been charged with crimes; pursues leads and searches for evidence, witnesses, and information material to the cases.
  2. Examines and diagrams all necessary measurements at crime scenes.
  3. Gathers, marks, records, and preserves evidence; determines the importance and relevance of physical evidence in investigations.
  4. Photographs crime scenes; photographs clients’ injuries for use as evidence in cases; prepares photographic lineups for witness review.
  5. Locates and interviews witnesses; interviews police and other public agencies, doctors, lawyers, and others who may have official or professional information relevant to a legal defense.
  6. Examines and selects medical and pharmaceutical records and determines their applicability in pending cases.
  7. Reviews police dispatch tapes to determine pertinent and relevant case information; copies dispatch tapes for Public Defenders.
  8. Searches computer resources, including DMV, CRIMS, CORPUS, CASP, and the Internet to locate witnesses, experts, professionals, and obtain other case information.
  9. Compiles information from witness interviews and other record reviews relevant to the defense. Generates written reports upon completion of the fact-finding process; submits written reports to Public Defenders on witnesses’ knowledge of material facts.
  10. Confers with Public Defenders on the reliability and credibility of witnesses; prepares witnesses’ testimony.
  11. Prepares demonstrative evidence for use in court, such as diagrams, charts, photographs, and computer presentations.
  12. Testifies in court regarding facts established by investigations.
  13. Serves subpoena and legal process for the Public Defender’s Office.
  14. Makes arrangements or transports witnesses to and from court or to court-ordered programs; arranges travel and lodging needs for out-of-County witnesses; attends to appropriate witness fee payment.
  15. Develops and maintains working relations with police departments, hospitals, schools, and other public agencies.
  16. Supervises Investigators.
  17. Conducts evaluations, enforces performance standards, and conducts disciplinary action as required.
  18. Maintains supervisorial structure and control of branch office investigative function.
  19. Gathers, records, and reports relevant statistics to the Chief Investigator.
  20. Assists in developing and implementing training programs.



Possession of a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university.  




The equivalent of three (3) years of full-time experience in the class of Public Defender Investigator III in the Alameda County classified service.  



The equivalent of eight (8) years of full-time experience in the class of Investigator in a public defender’s office within the state of California. Three (3) of the required years must have included investigation on serious and violent felonies and one (1) year of the required experience must have been in a supervisory or administrative capacity.  


All candidates must possess a current and clear California Motor Vehicle Operators’ license.  

Physical Requirements:  

Hearing must be normal.  

Using both eyes, must have far vision of at least 20/100 without glasses, correctable to 20/20 with glasses.  Must be free from color blindness and permanent abnormality in either eye.  

Must be able to squat, kneel, and twist. Using accepted body mechanics for lifting heavy objects, must be able to lift 55 pounds.  

Special Requirement:  

All candidates must be at least twenty-one (21) years of age; and all candidates must be willing to work irregular hours as individual investigations demand.  It may be necessary to travel out of town, state, or country and stay overnight to complete job assignments.  

Must provide fingerprints for purposes of search of local, state, and national fingerprint files to disclose any criminal record.  

Any criminal record may result in disqualification.  

NOTE:    The Civil Service Commission may modify the above Minimum Qualifications in the announcement of an examination.


NOTE:    The level and scope of the following knowledge and abilities are related to duties listed under the “Examples of Duties” section of this specification.

Knowledge of:

  • Interviewing, interrogation, and investigative techniques and procedures.
  • Practices and methods employed in criminal detection and criminal investigation.
  • The elements of criminal offenses under California law.
  • Laws of arrest, search and seizure case law, and rules of evidence.
  • Laws relating to the service of subpoenas and the treatment of witnesses.
  • Skip tracing techniques.
  • Criminal procedures relevant to felony, misdemeanor, juvenile, and jury matters.
  • The purposes and organization of the Public Defender's Office.
  • Judicial processes relevant to felony, misdemeanor, juvenile, and jury matters.
  • Modern office practice, Window-based computers including word processing software.
  • Techniques employed in diagramming and making demonstrative evidence to be presented in court.
  • Principles of public administration and personnel management.  

Ability to:

  • Recognize, collect, gather, and preserve evidence.
  • Be objective in fact finding.
  • Evaluate evidence for a particular criminal offense.
  • Determine priorities and importance of various types of evidence.
  • Relate easily to, and gain the confidence of, many varied personalities.
  • Adapt to many different environments.
  • Recognize potentially hostile situations.
  • Interview effectively and analytically.
  • Evaluate the credibility of persons interviewed.
  • Keep accurate records.
  • Prepare articulate written reports and documents, concise or lengthy, as needed.
  • Use laptop, personal computers, and word processing software.
  • Learn computer programs, databases, and access Internet resources.
  • Use measuring devices.
  • Draw diagrams to scale.
  • Use film and digital photographic equipment.
  • Prepare demonstrative evidence for use in court, such as diagrams, charts, and photographs.
  • Use computer presentations software.
  • Manage time efficiently with frequent interruptions.
  • Maintain a congenial attitude under stressful conditions.
  • Maintain ethical and harmonious relationships with law enforcement and other governmental agencies.
  • Maintain high professional standards and observe ethics of defense investigation.
  • Maintain supervisorial structure and control of branch office investigative function.
  • Assist in the training and supervision of investigators.
  • Gather, record, and report statistical data.


PB:nw  Revised 2/77

TT:kb  Revised 1/13/78

Old doc:  0809h

New doc:  8581.doc


CSC Date:  1/16/78

BG:pf  Revised  5/17/05

CSC Date:   9/14/2005

CH:cs  Revised 9/22/10

CSC Date: 10/20/10

AC:sa Revised 01/12/2021

CSC Date: 02/24/2021


Alameda County offers a comprehensive and competitive benefits package that affords wide-ranging health care options to meet the different needs of a diverse workforce and their families. We also sponsor many different employee discount, fitness and health screening programs focused on overall well being.  These benefits include but are not limited to*:

For your Health & Well-Being

  • Medical – HMO & PPO Plans
  • Dental – HMO & PPO Plans
  • Vision or Vision Reimbursement
  • Share the Savings
  • Basic Life Insurance 
  • Supplemental Life Insurance (with optional dependent coverage for eligible employees)
  • Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance 
  • County Allowance Credit
  • Flexible Spending Accounts - Health FSA, Dependent Care and Adoption Assistance
  • Short-Term Disability Insurance
  • Long-Term Disability Insurance
  • Voluntary Benefits - Accident Insurance, Critical Illness, Hospital Indemnity and Legal Services
  • Employee Assistance Program

For your Financial Future

  • Retirement Plan - (Defined Benefit Pension Plan)
  • Deferred Compensation Plan (457 Plan or Roth Plan)

For your Work/Life Balance

  • 12 paid holidays
  • Floating Holidays
  • Vacation and sick leave accrual
  • Vacation purchase program
  • Management Paid Leave**
  • Catastrophic Sick Leave
  • Group Auto/Home Insurance
  • Pet Insurance
  • Commuter Benefits Program
  • Guaranteed Ride Home
  • Employee Wellness Program (e.g. At Work Fitness, Incentive Based Programs, Gym Membership Discounts)
  • Employee Discount Program (e.g. theme parks, cell phone, etc.)
  • Child Care Resources
  • 1st United Services Credit Union 

*Eligibility is determined by Alameda County and offerings may vary by collective bargaining agreement.  This provides a brief summary of the benefits offered and can be subject to change.

** Non-exempt management employees are entitled to up to three days of management paid leave. Exempt management employees are entitled to up to seven days of management paid leave.

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