The field of crime scene investigation is expected to grow 18.5% nationally from 2010 to 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Crime scene investigator (CSI) positions in Mississippi include everything from civilian crime scene technicians to specially trained law enforcement agents serving as detectives and investigators.
All of these individuals arrive at crime scenes as quickly as possible, document the crime scene, and gather evidence that forensic scientists will analyze back at the crime laboratory. This type of job requires substantial training, a high degree of attention to detail, and the ability to stay composed under difficult working conditions.
Since most CSI jobs in Mississippi are found in government agencies, CSIs in Mississippi typically work for state or local law enforcement agencies. The following departments are among those that employ specialized crime scene investigators:
- Columbus Police Department
- Forensic Lab: Major Crime Scene Response
- Criminal Investigations Division
- Desoto County Sheriff’s Department Crime Scene Unit
- Hattiesburg Police Department Crime Scene Investigation Unit
Crime Scene Investigation in Mississippi
A number of law enforcement agencies in Mississippi employ sworn officers as their CSIs. Often, this entails working a crime from the initial crime scene to its completion in court. This is the case for the nine investigators of the Criminal Investigations Division of the Columbus Police Department and the ten criminal investigators of the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department’s Crime Scene Investigation Unit.
Other sworn officers in Mississippi specialize in crime scene investigation. For instance, the Crime Scene Unit of the Desoto County Sheriff’s Department is staffed by detectives that specialize in finding and collecting physical evidence at crime scenes. In addition, this department uses senior patrol deputies who work as crime scene technicians.
CSI Education and Training in Mississippi
The requirements to become a CSI in Mississippi vary depending on whether the position is open to civilians or only available to sworn officers. Typically, a bachelor’s degree in forensic science, chemistry, or biology is required to become a crime scene technician. Degrees with a forensic science concentration can be obtained through criminal justice or chemistry programs.
Entering the field of criminal science investigation is competitive, and obtaining this type of criminal justice degree will provide both the technical training and the knowledge of the legal system that CSIs must be familiar with.
Prospective students can obtain criminal justice degrees ranging from an associate’s to a master’s degree from schools located in Mississippi. Another option is to enroll in one of the online schools that offer degrees in this field.
Those employed as CSIs must continually update their skills, since technology in the field advances rapidly. CSIs frequently continue taking college courses throughout their careers.
CSI Certification in Mississippi
CSIs in Mississippi have the option of joining their state’s division of the International Association for Identification. This organization of forensic scientists provides options for certification in specialties such as:
- Fingerprint analysis
- Bloodstain pattern analysis
- Crime Scene investigation, analysis, or reconstruction
- Forensic art, video, and photography