Detective Jason Kirtlan has spent the past eight years working as a homicide detective for the Sacramento Police Department. He began his career working patrol for six years before going into undercover work and eventually becoming a part of Sac PD’s Homicide Unit. Detective Kirtlan received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice from California State University, Sacramento.

(Photo Courtesy of Detective Kirtlan)

(Photo Courtesy of Detective Jason Kirtlan)

How did you get into your line of work?

“After my baseball career ended at California State University, Sacramento, I applied to the Sacramento County Probation Department. I worked at Juvenile Hall for two years. While working at Juvenile Hall, I met a lot of hard-working police officers and sheriff deputies. I went on a ride along and was hooked. I applied with Sac PD and entered the academy in 1998.”

How have you seen your field change since 1998?

“In 1998, officers went to work in a low-tech squad car. The squad car of today is a technological amazement. Law enforcement has become data driven in a lot of aspects. Being able to analyze patterns and crime series gives officers and detectives a better chance of solving crimes and even predicting where the next crime might occur.”

How has a degree helped you professionally? 

“Holding a bachelor’s degree allowed me to gain POST (peace officer standards and training) certificates sooner than if I didn’t have a degree.”

What kind of continuing education is available in your field? What is your opinion regarding continuing education?

“I have completed numerous continuing education courses (drug recognition expert school, rangemaster school, advanced homicide investigations, etc.). There are numerous schools dealing with all types of law enforcement specialties (homicide, narcotics, gangs, officer involved shootings, etc.). Continuing education is extremely important to keep up on trends and new investigative techniques.”

What is your advice to those looking to enter your field?

“In my opinion, 90 percent of street police work is being able to effectively communicate with the people who you are serving. Being able to talk and understand people goes a long way towards peacefully resolving conflicts. The Sacramento Police Department has a requirement that all police officers hold at least an A.A. degree.”

Megan Bowyer is a freelance writer in search of the best food and drinks that Sacramento has to offer. You can find her at any number of dive bars or trendy restaurants; just look for the short blonde feeding the jukebox. Her work can be found at


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