Security Guard Requirements in Mississippi
Mississippi does not license the private security industry. Mississippi’s armed security guards, however, must hold state credentials. They receive their firearms permits from the Department of Public Safety, or DPS. In order to receive the credential, they must go through a background check process, both at the time of initial credentialing and at the time of renewal. State statute prevents individuals who have had felony convictions from receiving permits. The application includes background questions that provide further opportunity for screening.
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Employer expectations are often higher than those mandated by the state. The Mississippi State Personnel Board has provided job descriptions which may give a prospective security guard, whether armed or unarmed, an idea of employer expectations. Actual requirements will vary according to industry and job role.
Select a Mississippi Security Guard Requirement Topic:
- Find Security Training Near You
- Requirements for DPS-Issued Security Guard Permit in Mississippi
- The Permit Application Process
- Permit Renewals
- Mississippi Civil Service Job Descriptions
- Additional Employer Expectations
- Departments and Additional Information
Requirements for Mississippi DPS-Issued Security Guard Permit
Permit applicants must have fingerprint-based state and federal background checks. Fingerprint cards must be prepared by the Mississippi Highway Patrol/Department of Public Safety. They can be made at the DPS Headquarters in Jackson or one of the following Highway Patrol District Substations:
- New Albany
Hours of operation are included in the application package; these vary from site to site.
The Permit Application Process
Permit application packets can be downloaded from the DPS website (http://www.dps.state.ms.us/firearms/firearms-permit-unit/security-guard-permits). Applications are processed in-person at the Firearm Permit Unit in Jackson; applicants are directed not to mail them. The service is currently offered Monday and Thursday between 8:00 and 4:30.
The application includes qualifying questions about criminal history, mental illness, and addictions. Individuals who answer “yes” to screening questions will need to furnish details. An applicant who has had had a hospitalization due to mental illness, for example, will need to provide documentation from the treatment provider. An applicant who has had a crime pardoned or expunged will need to attach a copy of the order.
Applicants who have served in the military will need to provide information about the type of discharge.
The applicant will need to include a small photograph; it should be no more than 30 days old.
The applicant will sign an affidavit about domestic violence convictions. This form requires notarization. The information release form and affidavit do as well. Applicants who were born outside the United States are required to provide an additional notarized statement.
The applicant will pay a total of $132; this includes a $32 background check fee. The licensing agency accepts cashier’s checks and some credit and debit cards (http://www.dps.state.ms.us/wp-content/uploads/SECURITY-GUARD-PERMIT-APP-2.pdf).
The security guard permit is issued for four years. The security guard will pay a $50 renewal fee and $32 background check fee. Retired law enforcement officers are not required to pay the renewal fee; they pay only the $32 fingerprint processing fee.
Mississippi Civil Service Job Descriptions
The Mississippi State Personnel Board has provided detailed job descriptions for security officers at multiple levels of service (http://agency.governmentjobs.com/mississippi/default.cfm?action=agencyspecs). These were compiled by subject matter experts and are designed to reflect the needs of Mississippi’s public sector. Although public sector jobs represent only a portion of the security guard industry, the descriptions may also provide insight into employer expectations in competitive positions in the private sector.
State job classifications include Security Officer I, II, and III as well as Security Officer Chief I, II, and III. Security officers at each level are expected to hold a high school diploma. Law enforcement training is an expectation for some positions.
The Personnel Board has listed typical physical requirements. Physical Jobs can require lifting ability up to 50 or even 100 lbs . Security guards typically need good visual acuity as well as peripheral and depth vision. Desired personal traits include service orientation, self-management skills, and accountability.
Management competencies are expected at the ‘Security Officer Chief’ level. Among these are emotional maturity, results orientation, and macro orientation.
State agencies expect individuals at the Chief Officer I level to have at least three years of job experience. At Chief Officer III, the expectation is five years.
Additional Employer Expectations
Some employers carry out drug screening as well as comprehensive background checks.
Employers often favor applicants with related experience. Some employers note that a military background is desirable. Some value various other types of experience, from firefighting to experience in a related service industry.
Employers sometimes cite computer and verbal/ written skills among the qualifications. Although high school education is adequate for many positions, some agencies seek employees with degrees at the associate’s level or higher. They may seek various other trainings, for example, crisis intervention.
Information about security guard permits is available from the Firearm Permit Unit. The Firearm Permit Unit can be reached by telephone at (601)987-1593. The Permit Unit references Section 97-37-7 of state statute (http://www.dps.state.ms.us/firearms/firearms-permit-unit/security-guard-permits).
Requirements are subject to change. Bills have been introduced more than once that would create additional requirements for Mississippi’s security professionals.