What does a private investigator do? A private investigator is an investigator that works for their clients to find information that cannot easily be found in public archives. They are highly skilled investigators that have a wide range of skills. Many private investigators specialize in one area of investigation such as computers, automobiles, background checks and business records. Most private investigators work for themselves and have their own office.
Private investigators perform investigative work for both the public and private sector. Their services can consist of background checks, archiving records, document recovery, telephone investigations and many other services. In order to become a successful private investigator, you must first gain the knowledge required to succeed. This includes gaining a comprehensive knowledge base of the field and acquiring specific skill sets required to effectively perform their job. To become a successful private investigator, you must first learn how to investigate, examine, gather facts, analyze and interpret the information found through various sources and then utilize the results to either prove or disprove a case.
How does a private investigator to carry out their investigative work? Most private investigators utilize digital devices such as computer laptops, digital video recorders, cell phones, GPS trackers and the old standby – a pen, paper and a phone call. You may require one or more of these devices depending on your case assignment. To conduct interviews, research documents and obtain physical evidence you will need a computer, scanner, fax machine, voice recorder, GPS tracker and digital camera.
Most private investigators are former law enforcement officials and have extensive knowledge of police tactics, surveillance techniques and the legal rights of citizens. As a former law enforcement official I served with many agencies throughout the nation and gained valuable insight into the surveillance technologies being utilized by the agencies. Although I did not work for the FBI, I know from my former position as a law enforcement officer that there is an ongoing battle between privacy rights and the necessity to protect citizens from harm. For this reason I am very pro-surveillance and I firmly believe in the use of surveillance tools by law enforcement officers.
In order to legally conduct surveillance, it is necessary that permission be granted by a local governing body such as the local government. This permission may be based upon a suspicion that there is a problem or potential problem such as a rash of robberies in a particular area. Permission may also be granted by a court system to investigate a possible case of child abuse or to monitor a business to ensure that it is conducting business as usual. If a court system requires authorization to conduct surveillance of a private investigator may be used.
Today, private investigators utilize high tech surveillance equipment and sophisticated software to aid in the investigation of suspicious activities. For example, a person can be monitored via GPS and web cam while they are at a location being investigated. This type of extreme surveillance is used in high risk environments such as businesses and government buildings. A private investigation background check would reveal a pattern of suspicious behavior in these locations and this information is available to law enforcement officials.
Private investigators must obtain state and local licenses in order to work in any jurisdiction. These licenses are often referred to as investigator’s license and are required to be renewed on an annual basis. Private investigators that work independently may not have the required licenses to perform surveillance in certain jurisdictions. The private investigators that work for a law enforcement agency will most likely have the necessary licenses. The licenses are obtained by taking a written examination and passing a background check. Many states will also have requirements for continuing education and on-the-job training as well.
Most states require private investigators to undergo firearms training in both the classroom and in the field. Prior to taking the examination, private investigators must successfully complete a specialized training course. Some states will also require private investigators to undergo national certification through one of the many professional associations that are available. These examinations and training classes are often very specific and the information gained cannot be duplicated through any other exam.