Law Enforcement Careers in Mississippi

The FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Program published crime stats for Mississippi showing that law enforcement officers responded to some 8,272 violent crimes in 2019. In the same year, 70,000 property crimes occurred – considerably more than the national average on a per capita basis.

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It’s clear that the law enforcement professionals of Mississippi’s municipal police departments, county sheriff’s offices and state police divisions have their work cut out for them. There is no more difficult job to do, but there is also no job that’s more rewarding. Anybody in Mississippi looking for a career that is as meaningful as it is challenging has to consider a job in law enforcement, whether at the state level, with county sheriff’s departments or local police departments serving the many cities and small communities throughout the state.

State Jobs with the Department of Public Safety

Mississippi Highway Patrol

The Mississippi Highway Patrol consists of teams known as enforcement troops that are assigned to 9 separate districts throughout the state and tasked with supporting local agencies in the interest of public safety. State troopers here patrol the highways in their respective districts, enforce state and federal traffic laws on highways, make arrests, and provide assistance to motorists.

Mississippi state troopers receive training in the areas of human behavior, investigation, law, and patrol procedures.

Mississippi Bureau of Investigations

The Mississippi Bureau of Investigations (MBI) has general police powers throughout the state. Its mission is to investigate, prevent, and report crime while acting as a coordination liaison between other state, federal, and local authorities. The MBI is organized into the following divisions/units:

  • Special Operations and Major Crimes Unit
  • Victim Assistance Program
  • Salvage Inspection Unit
  • Criminal Information Center
  • Human Trafficking Unit
  • Crime Scene Unit
  • Cold Case Unit
  • Executive Protection Division

The MBI consists entirely of state troopers who receive rigorous training and academic preparation that consists of dozens of weeks spent in classrooms, fitness centers, firing ranges, and reviewing emergency operations procedures at the Mississippi Law Enforcement Officers’ Training Academy (MLEOTA).

County Sheriff Law Enforcement Jobs in Mississippi

Sheriff’s deputies patrol and respond to calls within a large, county-wide jurisdiction that usually overlaps with a number of smaller municipal jurisdictions covered by local police departments. That means they often coordinate with and support these local PDs, in addition to serving as the primary law enforcement agencies in unincorporated and other outlying areas outside city limits. Professional opportunities for sheriff’s deputies in Mississippi often extend beyond traditional patrol duties to include criminal investigations, serving summons and subpoenas, animal control, and more.

Hinds County Sheriff’s Office

The Hinds County Sheriff’s Office is committed to education, investigation, and enforcement to prevent crime and build a strong community focused on safety. The office achieves this through a Community Oriented Policing and Problem Solving model that includes developing and nurturing partnerships with the community. The duties of deputy sheriffs here include courthouse, detention, and patrol services.

Harrison County Sheriff’s Office

The Harrison County Sheriff’s Office has an enforcement, communications, investigations, and corrections division, as well as a mobile command center and training academy. The investigations division includes criminal investigations, animal control, aviation, and a SWAT Team.

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Officers here must be certified as law enforcement officers by the Mississippi Board of Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Training before being allowed to perform unsupervised patrol duties.

Forrest County Sheriff’s Office

The Forrest County Sheriff’s Office takes on the responsibility of providing law enforcement services for the roughly 75,000 residents of the county. The agency is divided into ten divisions, including warrants, patrol, investigations, and an adult correctional facility.

Municipal Police Jobs in Mississippi

A strong moral character and the ability to successfully pass a thorough background investigation that looks at the criminal and financial history of all applicants are just two of the requirements to become a law enforcement officer with one of Mississippi’s municipal police departments.

Jackson Police Department

The uniformed officers of the Jackson Police Department provide services to the 175,000 citizens of Jackson and patrol the city’s 115 square miles. As of 2019, there are 500 sworn officers and 264 civilian personnel working here. As part of the application process, candidates must undergo a psychological evaluation, polygraph test, and background investigation.

Gulfport Police Department

The 167 sworn officers of the Gulfport Police Department provide traditional police services to Gulfport’s 71,750 citizens and 144,000 annual visitors. Before qualifying for the 10-week training academy, prospective candidates must undergo pre-interview testing, a board interview, background and polygraph investigation, as well as medical and psychological evaluations

Biloxi Police Department

The Biloxi Police Department includes a staff of 128 sworn officers, 50 civilian employees, and an annual operating budget of $16 million. The department has a strong focus on community-centered policing, with outreach programs such as DARE, National Night Out Against Violence, and the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics. Candidates must be able to successfully complete a physical agility test, written exam, polygraph evaluation, psychological evaluation, and extensive background investigation before beginning the 12-week training program.

Hattiesburg Police Department

The 138 sworn police officers of the Hattiesburg Police Department are responsible for maintaining law and order in their city, which includes 55 square miles of territory and around 46,000 residents. Applicants must be of good moral character, pass physical agility tests, a panel interview, background investigation, polygraph exam, medical and psychological evaluations before becoming officer candidates and beginning formal training at the academy.

Greenville Police Department

The Greenville Police Department has partnered with Crime Stoppers, acting as a virtual precinct by taking tips through phone and online submissions. This cooperation has led to more than 560 arrests. Applicants for police officer positions with the department must submit a short, hand-written autobiography and provide four character references in addition to the standard screening, interviews, background checks and medical and psychological evaluations required to qualify for formal training.

Mississippi Law Enforcement Salaries

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average salary for law enforcement officers in Mississippi was $38,940 as of May 2021.

The following police/sheriff’s department salary data was sourced from May 2021 BLS stats (early career = 25th percentile, senior/late career = 90th percentile).

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Police Officer Salaries

The average, starting salary for police officers working in Mississippi’s largest police departments is about $34,000.

Biloxi Police Department

Police officers with the Biloxi Police Department earn a starting salary of $37,340.

Gulfport Police Department

The annual starting salary for patrol officer recruits with the Gulfport Police Department is $37,370.

Hattiesburg Police Department

The starting salary for police officers with the Hattiesburg Police Department is $32,100; however, those with a bachelor’s degree start at a slightly higher salary.

Jackson Police Department

The entry-level salary for police officers with the Jackson Police Department is $29,980. The midpoint salary for these law enforcement professionals is $37,100, and the maximum salary is $50,630.

State Trooper and State Police Salaries

Troopers with the Mississippi Highway Patrol earn a starting salary of $38,940 and a top salary of $51,540.

2021 US Bureau of Labor Statistics salary figures for police and sheriff’s patrol officers. Job growth projections from the US Department of Labor-sponsored resource, Projections Central. Figures are based on state data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed August 2022.

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