County of Alameda

Chief Investigator, Public Defender's Office (#8585)

Bargaining Unit: ACMEA - PD Investigators Mgmt (R48)
$92.67-$112.53 Hourly / $7,413.60-$9,002.40 BiWeekly /
$16,062.80-$19,505.20 Monthly / $192,753.60-$234,062.40 Yearly


Under direction of the Public Defender or Chief Assistant Public Defender, supervises the Investigation Division, plans, organizes and directs the investigative activities of the Public Defender's Office; establishes and maintains policies and standards for the Investigation Division, coordinates and advises all investigators in pretrial, pre-sentence, and post-conviction case investigations; and performs related work as required.   


The Chief Investigator directs the Investigation Division of the Public Defender’s Office; supervises all investigators and activities in the Public Defender's Office; maintains statistical data for annual reports, implements and maintains Department policies and standards established by the Public Defender. The Chief Investigator is distinguished from the next lower class of Senior Investigator by the exercise of functional guidance and supervision over the work of the staff and by being 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 and oversees 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. Directs the supervision of all investigators and all investigative activities in the Public Defender's Office, which includes pre-trial investigation and assistance to the trial attorney.
  17. Conducts evaluations, enforces performance standards, and conducts disciplinary action as required.
  18. Conducts and implements in-service training programs and advises subordinates in more difficult investigations such as capital homicide cases.
  19. Plans and supervises maintenance of office investigation files and recording systems.
  20. Plans, supervises, and maintains statistical data; prepares annual reports.
  21. Implements policies of the department head on investigative matters.



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




The equivalent of two (2) years of recent full-time experience in the class of Senior Investigator, Public Defender’s Office in the Alameda County classified service.  



The equivalent of six (6) years’ full time experience in the class of Public Defender Investigator III in the Alameda County classified service. One (1) year of cumulative experience must have been in a supervisory or administrative capacity or experience assigning cases and providing coordination and guidance.



The equivalent of twelve (12) years’ recent full-time experience as a criminal field investigator in California preparing criminal cases for trial which must have included all of the following:  1) five (5) years of full-time field work experience in criminal defense investigations, including investigation on serious and violent felonies and one capital case investigation through penalty phase; and 2) the equivalent of three (3) years administrative and supervisory responsibility.


Possession of a current and clear California Motor Vehicle Operator's 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 Requirements:  

Willingness to work irregular hours as individual investigations demand.  

Must be at least 21 years of age.  

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.
  • Holistic defense and promoting client centered representation.
  • 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.
  • Train, supervise, and direct subordinate investigators.
  • Gather, record, and report statistical data.
  • Prepare annual reports.
  • Implement efficient administrative controls.
  • Implement policies and standards.
  • Work harmoniously and cooperatively with the Public Defender and Chief Assistant.


Old doc:  8585h

RM:nw /Revised 5/12/72

Retyped 2/7/77

Revised: TT:kc


Revised: RE:jc 7/16/98

New doc:  Jobspecs/8585


CSC Date:  8/5/98

BG:pf  Revised 5/20/05

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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