How to Become a Criminal Investigator with the Jackson
Police Department

In Jackson, Mississippi, the crime rate is listed as average to high. Even though its overall crime rate is higher than the national average, the rate for certain crimes has decreased since 2001. This includes auto thefts, rape, robberies, arson and burglaries.

What’s troubling is that the number of murders committed per 100,000 residents increased from 50 to 63 during this period, while the number of assaults rose from 654 to 671.

The goal of the 525 sworn peace officers employed by the Jackson Police Department is to prevent crime, solve cases and enforce the law through community partnerships and by adhering to nationally accredited policies and procedures.

The seven divisions that make up the Jackson Police Department includes the Major Investigations Divisions, which is staffed by detectives responsible for investigating and resolving major crimes committed within Jackson city limits.

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Becoming a Detective with the Jackson PD Major Investigations Division

Becoming a detective in Jackson starts by working as a patrol officer for the Jackson Police Department for a number of years before being eligible for employment. Detectives with the Jackson Police Department earn an annual salary between $35,000 and $58,000.

Satisfying the Qualifications – Candidates must meet the following requirements in order to be eligible to join the force and go on to fill criminal investigator jobs with the Jackson Police Department:

  • At least 21 years old
  • U.S. citizen
  • Valid driver’s license; good driving record
  • No felony or domestic violence convictions
  • High school diploma or GED certificate*

Those with accepted applications are called to schedule the first of the following eligibility tests. Each must be completed before moving on to the next test:

  • Written examination (general knowledge, problem solving, reading)
  • Physical fitness test (push-ups, sit-ups, running)
  • Medical exam
  • Background investigation
  • Psychological test and interview

Applicants must achieve a passing grade in all tests before being placed on the eligibility list for training.

*Although only a high school education is required, students with at least two years of college studies, especially in a field like criminal justice or law enforcement management, have an advantage over the competition. Jackson is home to three four-year universities and the largest two-year community college in the state of Mississippi.

Training – Jackson has a training academy at which recruits from Jackson and other law enforcement agencies from around the state can earn Mississippi Standards and Training peace officer certification. The facility, which includes modern dormitories, classrooms, and a firearms range, uses such state-of-the arts training tools as FATS (firearms training simulation system), driving simulators and computer labs/classrooms.

Every Jackson police department officer recruit must complete 12 weeks at the academy. Cadets stay on site and earn fill-time salaries while training. The wide range of classroom and field courses provided includes:

  • History of law enforcement
  • Principles of law enforcement
  • Report writing
  • Traffic control
  • Defensive tactics
  • Criminal investigation
  • Physical fitness
  • Firearms training
  • Driving training
  • Interview techniques

Officers receive regular continuing education at the academy to stay up-to-date on the latest procedures/policies and when transferred to a different specialization. The academy is at 3000 Saint Charles Street in Jackson; telephone: 601-960-1378.

Structure of the Jackson Police Department Major Investigations Division

The detectives of the Jackson Police Department Major Investigations Division investigate all felony cases from initial follow-up to preparation for prosecution. Each criminal investigator is assigned to one of these specialty units:

  • Auto theft – investigate stolen or carjacked vehicles
  • Crimes Against Persons – investigate homicides, suicides, deaths by firearms and suspicious deaths
  • Juvenile – examines child pornography, child abuse/molestation, internet crimes against children and missing persons
  • Crime Scene Unit – crime scene specialists collect and process all manner of crime scene evidence.
  • Intelligence – supports other units by collecting, researching, analyzing and disseminating relevant information as well as finding witnesses, suspects and/or vehicles

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