Mississippi, to date, has no licensing or regulation requirements for private investigators. However, private investigators and private investigative agencies operating in Mississippi still have a number of options to pursue when looking to set up shop in the state.
To become a private investigator in Mississippi, you may choose to complete a number of steps:
|Complete an Education Program in Mississippi|
|Seek Experience in Criminal Justice|
|Attain Professional Recognition in Mississippi|
|Obtain a Permit to Carry a Concealed Weapon in Mississippi|
|Maintain your Weapons Permit in Mississippi|
Step 1. Complete an Education Program in Mississippi
An education in criminal justice or a similar program is a smart, first step for many individuals seeking careers as private investigators.
In addition to serving as a solid foundation for this profession, a bachelor’s degree, graduate degree or graduate certificate in criminal justice, computer forensics, security management, investigation, or a related program is also mandatory for other professions in the field of law enforcement or investigations. As such, completing a degree program is a logical step for anyone with an interest in the private investigations field.
Step 2. Seek Experience in Criminal Justice
Just as an education is an important aspect of the field of private investigation, so is experience, as many private investigation agencies seek individuals with experience in investigations or similar areas. As such, upon graduating from a college degree program, it may be wise to seek entry-level employment in an investigative or detective agency as to gain valuable experience in the field.
Step 3. Attain Professional Recognition in Mississippi
Even though Mississippi does not currently have any laws governing the practice of private detectives in the state, many professionals choose to pursue membership in a professional association as to set themselves apart from others in the field.
For example, the Mississippi Private Investigators Association offers membership to private investigators in the state. Through membership, private investigators can receive professional recognition while also engaging in productive and practical dialogue about issues that affect the industry. Further, the Association will serve as a united front for the development of any future legislation in Mississippi.
Private investigators in Mississippi may also seek professional certification through a national association like ASIS International, which offers the Professional Certified Investigator designation, which requires at least 5 years of experience in investigations.
Step 4. Obtain a Permit to Carry a Concealed Weapon in Mississippi
If you intend to carry a firearm as a private detective, you must apply for a permit to carry a concealed weapon (pistol, stun gun or revolver) through the Mississippi Department of Public Safety.
To qualify to obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon, you must:
- Be at least 21 years old
- Be a resident of the State of Mississippi for at least 12 months (Active military or retired law enforcement personnel are exempt from this requirement.)
- Have no felony convictions
- Not chronically or habitually abuse controlled substances or alcohol
- Not been adjudicated mentally incompetent in the last 5 years
- Not be a fugitive from justice
- Not be disqualified to possess or use a weapon based on federal law
To apply to carry a firearm, you must:
- Complete an Individual Firearms Permit application.
- Notarize the application and bring it to the Department of Public Safety headquarters in Jackson or one of the Mississippi Highway Patrol substations, which are located in:
- New Albany
- Present two forms of identification (one being a government-issued photo ID) and get fingerprinted when you drop off your application.
- Submit a fee in the amount of $138, which includes the application fee of $106 and the fingerprint fee of $32 (cash or check made payable to the Department of Public Safety).
Step 5. Maintain your Weapons Permit in Mississippi
To renew your permit, you must complete the Individual Firearms Permit Renewal application and submit the renewal application fee of $56. Permits are renewed every 5 years.