How to Become a Criminal Investigator in Mississippi

In 2012, the Institute for Economics and Peace ranked Mississippi as the 10th “least peaceful” state in the country. The report noted that Mississippi has the second-highest rate of prisoners in the correctional system (with 686 prisoners per 100,000 people) and the fourth-highest murder rate in the nation at 7 murders per 100,000 people. The Institute estimated the cost of the violence in Mississippi to be $4.17 billion per year.


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Becoming a Criminal Investigator with the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation (MBI)

Would-be detectives in Mississippi often aspire to work for the Mississippi Department of Safety Bureau of Investigation (referred to as the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, or MBI). Similar to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the MBI investigates crimes across the state, and assists federal, county sheriff’s office and city police department detectives in criminal investigations in which they might need a little help.

Divisions within MBI include:

  • Mississippi Justice Information Center
  • Victim Assistance Program
  • Salvage Inspection Unit
  • Special Operations and Major Crimes Unit
  • Protective Services Unit

The MBI’s District Offices are each responsible for crimes occurring in a Troop, or grouping of counties, within Mississippi. They include:

  • Troop C- Office in Pearl
  • Troop D- Greenwood
  • Troop E-Batesville
  • Troop F- New Albany
  • Troop G- Starkville
  • Troop H-Meridian
  • Troop J- Hattiesburg
  • Troop K- Biloxi
  • Troop M- Brookhaven

Requirements to become an Investigator with MBI include:

  • High school diploma or GED (however, a college degree in criminal justice or a law enforcement-related area is highly preferred)
  • Five years of experience as a sworn officer with the Mississippi Highway Patrol
  • Certificate of Completion from Mississippi Highway Patrol Cadet Training School
  • Good visual acuity and hearing
  • Physical stamina/ability to perform job

Since applicants must first serve as Mississippi Highway Patrol Officers before becoming Investigators, the requirements for becoming a Highway Patrol Officer Trainee are provided here:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Be a U.S. citizen and Mississippi resident
  • Have a valid driver’s license
  • Pass physical fitness test
  • Pass a mental fitness test
  • Pass a written exam
  • Pass a background investigation
  • Education and Experience- must meet one of the following requirements:


  • Complete 60 hours of college coursework or an associate degree, with a GPA of at least 2.0;


  • Have a high school diploma/GED <strong<and four years of active military service;


  • Have a high school diploma/GED and certification from a law enforcement academy and one year of law enforcement work experience;


  • Have a high school diploma or GED and be 23 years old or older

Training required for new sworn officers with the Mississippi Highway Patrol consists of completion of 23 weeks of coursework, physical challenges and practical challenges at the Mississippi Law Enforcement Officers Training Academy in Pearl. Upon graduation, new officers will be given a Certificate of Completion

Becoming an Investigator with the Mississippi Highway Patrol Bureau of Narcotics

At the state level, the Mississippi Highway Patrol (headquartered in Jackson) and the Bureau of Narcotics (headquartered in Oxford) employs investigators, called Agents, to investigate crimes as needed. The requirements to become a DPS Agent I include:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Pass mental, physical, medical and written examinations
  • Pass a lie detector test
  • Pass a background investigation
  • Education and experience – must meet one of the following requirements:


  • Complete 60 hours of college coursework


  • Complete one year of college and two years of work experience as a law enforcement officer


  • Complete four years of work experience as a law enforcement officer


Criminal Investigation Divisions in Mississippi’s Biggest Cities and Counties

Detective jobs are also found within Mississippi’s counties and cities. Sheriff’s offices across the state have their own Investigation Divisions whose detectives investigate county crimes, and city police departments may also have Detective Divisions to investigate crimes within those cities. Some of these include:

  • Prentiss County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Division, Booneville
  • Jones County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigative Division, Laurel
  • Jackson County Sheriff’s Office Investigative Division, Pascagoula
  • Harrison County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division, Gulfport
  • Tishomingo County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigators Division, Iuka
  • City of Biloxi Police Department, Biloxi
  • Yazoo City Police Department Criminal Investigations Division, Yazoo City
  • Vicksburg Police Department Investigations Division, Vicksburg
  • Tupelo Police Department Detective Division, Tupelo
  • Ridgeland Police Department Criminal Investigations Division, Ridgeland

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