The officers of the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office are dedicated to keeping the 194,029 county residents and many visitors safe. The overall crime rates are below average in Gulfport and only slightly higher in Biloxi. The beach areas outside the big cities have primarily low or average crime rates, as do the rural inland areas.
The Criminal Investigations Unit is one of numerous divisions within the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office. The unit is responsible for investigating felony crimes, analyzing evidence, interviewing witnesses, arresting suspects and testifying for the prosecution.
Becoming a Detective with the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office
Members of the Criminal Investigation Unit are chosen from the ranks of sheriff’s deputies. The following describes the needed qualifications for becoming a deputy en route to serving as a detective:
Education and Experience – Becoming a deputy in the Harrison County sheriff’s office only requires a high school education but candidates with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in a field like criminal justice or law enforcement management will gain a level of relevant knowledge well beyond that of candidates without a college education.
Likewise, there is no specific experience requirement; however, individuals with some law enforcement or military experience are given preference.
There is also a civilian deputy reserve program in which individuals are trained for part time work assigned by the sheriff. This could include patrolling highways/rural roads, serving warrants, assisting with traffic, etc. Information about the program is found on the Harrison County Sheriff’s website. It is an excellent stepping stone to full-time employment.
Satisfying Basic Requirements – Although the qualifications vary for specific positions, all applicants for deputy sheriff’s jobs must meet the following basic requirements:
- At least 21 years old / U.S. citizen
- Good physical condition (medical examination)
- Valid Mississippi driver’s license
- Able to pass background investigation
- No criminal record (will be fingerprinted)
- Good moral character (references required)
Training – Candidates must complete two weeks of rigid training at the Harrison County Law Enforcement Training Academy in Biloxi. The academy provides basic and advanced training to law enforcement offices throughout the state using the standards and training curriculum mandated by the Mississippi Department of Public Safety. Graduates receive certification as law enforcement peace officers.
How to Apply – Applicants can download application forms at theMorrison County Human Resources website. Completed forms can be returned by e-mail or in person to Rose Maske, Human Relations Director, 1041Larkin Smith Drive, Gulfport, MS 3950.
Organization of the Harrison County Criminal Investigation Unit
Special Training – The criminal investigation unit, headed by Lt. Coley Judy, employs 10 deputies who receive the highest level of training, including courses in the following subjects:
- Evidence collection
- Blood splatter analysis
- Forensic photography
- Interviewing and interrogating skills
- Fingerprint lifting
Equipment – The crime scene unit has use of a large van that contains the latest technological devices and other necessities, including:
- Video enhancement system
- Cellular telephone data recovery system
- Latent print developer
- Laptop capable of transforming a pencil sketch into a finished product
- Flood lights
Networking – The Harrison County Sheriff’s Office is part of a network of law enforcement agencies that involves daily e-mail communications and regular meetings to share information. The network has been especially successful for solving crimes that cross municipal, count and state borders.
In addition, two members of the Harrison County criminal investigation unit are liaisons with federal law enforcement by serving on an FBI task force and a US Marshals task force that focus on multi-state criminal activities.