Mississippi legislature turned down a bill last month that would have codified the role of private investigators while helping to better legitimize the profession within the state. Mississippi is one of only four states left in the U.S. that have no laws on the books regulating private investigators, and lawmakers claimed that they do not believe crooked PI’s are enough of a concern for the people of Mississippi to warrant regulation.
Richard Brooks, third term president of the Mississippi Professional Investigators Association (MPIA), believes that the Mississippi legislature is dangerously wrong. Brooks has spent the past 15 years assisting law enforcement as a PI, and has licensing in Alabama, Florida, and Louisiana. Having worked for years on a variety of successful cases, Brooks knows the PI business inside and out.
“There are many PI’s who only work in Mississippi because they can’t get licensed in another state for whatever reasons,” said Brooks. He cited a story of a convicted felon that was refused licensure by the state of Alabama that was currently working as a PI in Mississippi. He believes that by allowing unregulated PI’s to work in Mississippi, the integrity of PI’s is undermined across the state.
Under Brooks, the MPIA has made a successful effort to license and approve PI’s. It currently has 50 active licensed members, mostly in Southern Mississippi. Brooks and the MPIA spearheaded the legislation attempt, pushing the bill through the House of Representatives, but it was stopped in the Mississippi Senate.
Brooks intends to redouble efforts for future legislation, believing that complex issues like the use of drones by private investigators will help show the Senate the need for official PI licensing. The MPIA’s efforts could make a huge impact on private investigating throughout the entire gulf coast region as Mississippi PI’s gain legitimacy.