How to Become a Crime Scene Investigator Forensic Scientist in DeSoto County, Mississippi

Crime scene and evidence management in DeSoto County involves cooperation between several law enforcement agencies. Following the proper procedures for the collection of evidence by crime scene specialists, and the lab analysis undertaken by forensic scientists, are both critical to building a strong case based on solid evidence for use in the courtroom.

Police departments across DeSoto County use their own specially trained CSI detectives to process local crime scenes, sending the evidence they collect to the State Crime Lab system where forensic scientists working for the Mississippi Department of Public Safety will make a detailed analysis. The sheriff’s department also has resources devoted specifically to CSI and forensics.

Local law enforcement agencies involved in this process include:

  • Hernando Police Department
  • Horn Lake Police Department’s Detective Division
  • Olive Branch Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division
  • Southaven Police Department Detective’s Division
  • DeSoto County Sheriff Department’s Forensic Center and Crime Scenes Unit

Required Education for CSI and Forensic Science Jobs in DeSoto County

Both forensic science and CSI jobs in DeSoto County require applicants to possess a certain level of education before being eligible for these positions.

Crime Scene Investigators – Most CSI officers started out as entry-level patrol officers or deputies with their respective police or sheriff departments and worked their way up the chain of command to the detective level. Applying to become a police officer or sheriff’s deputy requires candidates who are seriously thinking about career advancement to consider studying for a bachelor degree in one of the following:

  • Criminal Justice
  • Law Enforcement
  • Forensic Science
  • Public Administration

Forensic Lab Techs – Forensic scientists working with the state’s Department of Public Safety have the option to be based out of the North Mississippi Regional Laboratory in Batesville. The State Laboratory System has forensic science specialists in three fields, with each field having an associated degree, as described here:

  • Bioscience Section: Candidates must have a bachelor’s degree in:

    • Forensic Science
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Any other directly related field

  • Impression Evidence Division: Candidates must have a bachelor’s degree in any field

  • Analytical Division: Candidates must have a bachelor’s degree in any of the following plus at least 24 semester hours of chemistry, including analytical chemistry:

    • Natural Science
    • Physical Science
    • Forensic Science
    • Chemistry

Across the state of Mississippi including the Southaven area there are a number of colleges and online schools where prospective students can find a variety of relevant degree programs. There are additional schools and colleges just across the border from DeSoto County in Memphis.

Crime Labs in the Region of DeSoto County

The DeSoto County Sheriff Department’s Forensics Center includes some of the latest technology in the field of AFIS, or the Automated Fingerprint Identification System, as part of the world’s most commonly used forensics tool and one which is responsible for thousands of convictions. The sheriff’s department also has computer and cell phone forensics specialists who work in partnership with the United State Secret Service Task Force. 

The Batesville Crime Lab specializes in three areas of forensic analysis:

  • Chemical and controlled substance identification
  • Latent print examinations
  • Blood alcohol toxicology

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