"She was a classy dame, if you ignored the scar down her face. She had an attitude like my whiskey had a taste: strong and bitter. I liked it. I knew her case would be about as fun to crack as a spoiled egg. There was something I didn't trust about her story, and I figured by the end of this at least one of us would be dead and the other would be a patient in a psychopathic ward."
Those private eye novels often depict some hard-boiled detective with a slanted attitude toward society. Fortunately, you don't need to have such a cynical, independent attitude towards life to be a successful private investigator. Private investigators possess a unique skillset and often sophisticated technology to crack cases work for anyone who needs information. If you obtain your Associate's Degree for becoming a private eye, you'll see the world behind what most people see, and you'll learn that unique set of expertise that enables you to find the information that many others can't or dare not to.
Private investigators fulfill a surprising number of roles in society. The two main areas of employment for individuals with these skills are as members of an investigatory team in law enforcement, or as truly private investigators that are hired by individuals or companies to find out any information they might need. A successful private investigator possesses a unique set of skills that enable them to locate and identify the information others seek. Along with general problem-solving and observational skills, degree programs also train these individuals in areas of law, administration, science, forensics, and technology.
In the area of law enforcement, investigators are hired to look closely at crime scenes, evidence, and suspects. Their skills in science and observation enable them to look past the surface level features and try to reconstruct events in a way that makes sure those who are guilty are represented as such in the courtroom. Working in law enforcement can be a fulfill career, and would require you to investigate crime scenes, follow up with leads, prepare reports, work with other officials, and testify in court if necessary.
A true private investigator works independently and receives contracts for specialized jobs from clients. Often, those clients can be law enforcement agencies or business, and often they are simply individuals with a range of needs. Many times, private investigators are hired to perform background checks, such as on a potential renter of an apartment. Other times these types of services are required when one spouse potentially suspects the other spouse of cheating and technology and special observation techniques are necessary to catch the spouse in the act. There are, in fact, limitless types of jobs a private investigator could be hired to perform, since humans have limitless curiosity and the propensity for causing trouble.
Many private investigators are also hired by businesses as security or investigatory specialists. Banks, attorneys, insurance companies, and financial institutions employ investigators to find out the information about potential clients or partners. Investigators also serve in these organizations to maintain their security on both the physical and digital fronts.
There's no need to be hardboiled and no need to speak as cynically as those classic detective novels suggest. To be a successful private investigator, all it takes is the training in the areas of forensics, science, law, and technology, and the motivation to look closely at investigations to turn up the information others have overlooked. An Associate's Degree for private investigation endows you with these skills, and provides you the opportunity to work for the departments, agencies, and businesses that require individuals with your talents. Or, you can employee yourself independently, truly making your practice private.
Question: What formal education did you receive?
Answer: I currently have my Associate’s Degree in an unrelated field but recently went back to college to earn an advanced degree in criminal justice.
Question: When do you start your day?
Answer: Well one of the perks about being a private investigator is your work hours can be very flexible. Sometimes I’ll work a normal 8 hour day but a week where other times I might work 20 hours straight so it really depends on the client and timeline for the assignment I’m on.
Question: How long do you work for a typical client?
Answer: Most of my clients I work for about a month. It really does depend on what I’m investigating. If it is something like a missing person then of course this could go on for years depending on the family and their resources. I would say however that most of the time I can complete my investigation in under 30 days.
Question: Who are your clients?
Answer: As a private detective my clients range from individuals who want to find out about an extra material affair to missing persons to even insurance fraud. Just when I think I’ve handled every kind of client something new comes into my office. Early on I took almost every client but now I’m pretty selective as I try to only accept clients that I feel I can really help and help in a short period of time.
Question: How many clients to you handle at once?
Answer: Crazy at it seems I can actually handle a dozen or so at a time. The reason is because I’m not fully working 8 hours a day on 1 client. Some of the clients I only need to bother with at night or weekend for example so the rest of the time is spent with my other clients. At first is hard to juggle so many but over time you learn how to use your resources better and time management is a must.
GPS Tracker – GPS allows you to attach a small device to a car and track the car without letting others know you are following them. Having the ability to track and record the activity is also important to establish patterns.
Long Range Video – You’ll need a good camera but also a video camera with the ability to take pics/videos long range. Most of your work will be done long-range so invest early in good equipment
Hidden Audio – Long range recording bugs are used not so much to actually be planted on the subject but planted in close range to listen in on conversations. You can also use longer range devices.
Background Checker – One of the best tools is the internet but the ability to log into a checker type system to run more detailed info on individuals. These checkers can track down old addresses, employers and even email addresses that aren’t public.
Client Software – Having the ability to keep track of clients, bill for your services and load in information regarding their case is a must for any private investigator.