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Archive for August, 2011

Denver Investigator Conference Benefits

Monday, August 29th, 2011

Did you know the Professional Private Investigators Association of Colorado is having its annual conference in Denver this year? This year’s conference will be held on September 23-24th, 2011. Register today at http://ppiac.org                                                                      Here are some of the benefits and value that the conference provides.

1. Nationally and even internationally acclaimed line up of
speakers which will provide training and educational benefits for the novice to
the highly experienced private investigator. Expand your knowledge base!

2. 8.5 hours continuing education credits for NALI
http://www.nali.com

3. A separate but highly effective day long seminar by PI Magazine’s
Jimmie Mesis which includes private investigator business and marketing tips.
http://www.pimagazine.com/PI-Secrets-Revealed.htm

4. Networking with PPIAC investigators and other non-member attendees
over a 2-3 day period, rather than the typical 2-3 hour monthly meeting. Get to
know private investigators with specialties different than yours. For the novice/aspiring
PI, it’s a great opportunity to gain advice from experienced
investigators.

5. Last year, a majority of attendees walked away with a door prize, with
values of roughly $15 to several hundred dollars. This year’s conference will
have a similar amount of giveaways.

6. For attendees who check in at the Embassy Suites under the PPIAC
rate, there will be complimentary continental breakfast and unlimited Happy Hour
drinks. http://www.embassysuitesdenverairport.com/

7. For PI history buffs or enthusiasts, the opportunity to see PI Museum’s
display on wheels! This could be your only opportunity to view this display in
Colorado. http://pimuseum.org/

8. With a wide range of topics, you are sure to be exposed to investigations
that can make you a more well rounded investigator.

9. This year’s Denver conference provides attendees with a venue that is a
short drive away for the majority of Denver based investigators.

10. Flexibility in registration fees. Sign up for one day, or better yet,
sign up for all three!

11. CATCH UP AND HANG OUT WITH FRIENDS AND COLLEAGUES!

Upcoming Private Investigator Denver Conference

Saturday, August 20th, 2011

Attention all private investigators, private detectives, and paralegals! With summer quickly coming to an end, the Professional Private Investigators Association of Colorado is really putting the 2011 conference planning into overdrive. The conference will be held in Denver, Colorado on September 23rd-24th. See the breakdown for conference fees below. In order to receive the best rate, make sure you register by September 1! Previous PPIAC conferences have had an early bird deadline in August or even July. However, PPIAC wanted to accommodate attendees as best as possible by pushing the early bird registration back and providing the flexibility of a one day fee. Times have been hard, the economy has been down for quite a while and PPIAC has listened by providing a flexible package of options for this year’s conference. Here are the rates:

PPIAC Members early Registration:  $175.00 before September 1st
PPIAC Member after September 1st: $200.00

Non Member early Registration: $225.00 Before September 1st
Non-Member after September 1st $250.00

Last-minute walk-ins: $275.00

Several people have asked about one-day attendance registration.  As there is no PayPal option for one-day, the easiest thing to do is mail in your payment and registration for the 1-day you will attend.  Here are the rates:
Friday 125.00
Saturday 100.00
(before 09/01)

Friday 150.00
Saturday 125.00
(after 09/01)

Last minute walk-ins for Friday are $175 and Saturday $150 (better to register early for the full conference and benefits, including the conference dinner and keynote speaker).

More information regarding the annual conference can be found at PPIAC’s online flyer: http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs040/1103529694576/archive/1107080342788.html 

Information can also be located on PPIAC’s website at: http://ppiac.org/info/annual-conference

Attending the PPIAC conference has many benefits. I’ve heard comments from previous year’s conference attendees who have stated that the PPIAC conference was the best that they have ever been to. Many of these attendees have been to many conferences all across the country. With this year’s speaker line up, I am confident that this year’s conference can match the lofty standards set by the last few PPIAC conferences.

Besides the speaker line up, the conference offers excellent networking opportunities. There are several breaks throughout the day as well as after the daily topics where you have a chance to network with fellow colleagues and meet new ones. I’ve literally seen investigators refer cases on the spot to a colleague who might be better suited to work the case. Spread the word to any interested investigators so they can take advantage of the amazing lineup of speakers we have this year.

PPIAC will be providing a historical perspective on private investigations in the form of PI Museum, which will be rolling into Denver in a mobile exhibit. Help NCISS and PI Museum by making the 50/50 donation to PI Museum.  

Besides the PPIAC conference, Jimmie Mesis will be offering a seminar scheduled for Thursday, September 22nd. That is a separate fee of $150. Thanks for your interest and I look forward to seeing you in Denver for the 2011 PPIAC Conference!

Limit Your Liability Using Investigators

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

Choose an investigator who is insured. An investigator with sufficient insurance will prevent liability from falling back on the client if an investigation goes wrong. Does your investigator carry commercial automobile, professional liability and errors and omissions?

Choose an investigator who is licensed. A licensed investigator has been shown to be qualified, vetted and demonstrated a minimum amount of experience to the state in which he or she is licensed. A licensed investigator eases the burden of due dilligence on the client. Clients can be assured that a licensed investigator’s testimony at a hearing will not be disqualified due to felonies or other questionable histories in their background.

Ask the investigator you use whether the information/documentation they provide will be able to withstand the scrutiny of opposing counsel. Is the information accurate, factual and unbiased? Was the information obtained in a legal manner? Information is of no benefit in a legal setting if it cannot withstand the scrutiny of a judge and cannot be entered into evidence for a case.

Do your investigators adhere to applicable laws during the process of an investigation? Do they know which laws apply to them? Does the investigator use “baiting” methods by contacting represented claimants, gather information that is clearly private and are they aware of the difference between surveillance and harassment/stalking? Investigators who do not take into consideration trespassing, reasonable expectation of privacy, FCRA compliance, etc will surely increase liability to their clients. For insurers, an improper investigation can even increase the risk of bad faith claims.

Ask your investigator if the equipment they use can withstand legal scrutiny. Was a GPS tracking device improperly/illegally used on your case? Will the video equipment be able to display date and time stamped video footage?

Limit your liability in the workplace by conducting background checks on potential and current employees. Do they have, domestic violence, drug or DUI charges, stalking/harassment issues or other questionable records in their backgrounds?

With current employees, conducting employee misconduct investigations can reveal drug/alcohol use on the job, theft of equipment/material items, time theft, disgruntled employee harassment and other issues in the workplace. These issues can lead to increased liability.

Make sure your investigator is aware that he/she is a representative of you, the client. Know your investigator and do not tolerate investigator misconduct with your cases. Your investigator should conduct themselves in a professional manner from beginning of the case to the end. Does the investigator reflect well on you in a legal setting? Believability and credibility in the eyes of a judge and jury are dramatically affected by an investigator who is professionally dressed and conducts themselves in a professional manner.

 

 

Colorado Private Investigator Bill Update

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

After months of emails, networking, testifying, and lobbying, HB 1012 was postponed indefinitely on May 5, 2010. The vote was close: 4-3. HB10-1012 would have limited the use of legitimate sureillance for workers compensations claims in Colorado. Every year, legislation throws curveballs at the insurance industry. HB 1012 would have drastically impacted the ability of employers and insurance companies to conduct surveillance on suspected fraudulent or exaggerated worker’s compensation claims. This was also a critical bill among Colorado private investigators; had it passed, other states might have used it as a template to affect the way surveillance was used on worker’s compensation claims. HB 1012 did not die easily. It took a concentrated effort from everyone involved to bring about its defeat; from concerned business owners, attorneys, insurance claims adjusters and risk managers, to professional private investigators, lobbyists and various associations. Through enlightening letters, phone calls, assisting lobbyists, and even lining up at the Capitol to voice our concerns at the hearings, we all made this happen. API would like to extend a personal thank you to each and every person that took the time and effort to let the Colorado Legislature know your feelings on this matter. This outcome could have been disastrous for the industry- but for your participation. You all deserve a hearty, “Well done!”

Lessons Learned

Friday, August 5th, 2011

The birth of Colorado’s HB11-1195 can be traced back to early 2010 when several Colorado private investigators, through their efforts with HB10-1012 discussed with legislators the goal of restoring licensing to the state of Colorado. At the time, several legislators expressed an interest in assisting the Professional Private Investigators Association of Colorado to introduce a bill for the 2011 session. Some legislators even hinted that a PI licensing bill could be in the works regardless if the profession did not introduce one of their own. In fact, the efforts of Colorado private investigators to restore licensing to Colorado have been ongoing for over 34 years.

Sometime in December 2010, the PPIAC Licensing Committee presented its progress
to the PPIAC Board of Directors. A decision had to be made whether to introduce
a licensing bill for the 2011 Colorado Legislative Session or wait until the following
year. At the time, with little more than a rough draft of the Licensing Key
Points, several of us voiced that it would possibly more prudent to wait until the following year. Many factors led me to be concerned with the plan to introduce the bill in 2011. Among other reasons, the Licensing Committee was behind schedule and legislative funds had not been raised which prevented PPIAC from hiring a lobbyist. No bill sponsors had been secured as the dynamics in the Colorado Legislature had changed from 2010. No longer was one party in control of both the House and the Senate. Instead, the Republicans held the majority in the House, while Democrats held control of the Senate.

Some believed these challenges were too much for PPIAC to overcome. The consensus of the Licensing Committee was that PPIAC should “ride the wave” of HB1012 and
utilize the connections and networking created in 2010. Comments were made indicating this could be a “perfect storm” for a licensing effort. I realized the Licensing Committee was determined to work overtime to help raise funds, hire the lobbyist, work with
the bill writer to get a bill put together, and secure bill sponsors.  All
of this would have to be done within a short period of time for the Licensing
Committee to meet all the deadlines involved for each process.

Still, how would PPIAC ever introduce a bill to garner support and dare we believe,
even sponsorship on a bi-partisan level? The answer was inspired in part by the
dozens of Colorado-based private investigators who are voluntarily licensed in
other states as a way to show they are indeed vetted and have displayed proof
of a minimum amount of experience, among other qualifications. Thus, the answer
for PPIAC was to secure bi-partisan sponsorship, and the only way to secure
bi-partisan sponsorship was through a voluntary licensing concept.

The rest is history as the phrase goes. Through this process, though, I took
away several important lessons. The first is that sometimes life presents you
with challenges that at the time may seem extremely difficult and even
insurmountable. However, how was I to know if PPIAC could succeed if it did not
try? We would have to step out of our comfort zone, utilize teamwork and support those who were confident a licensing bill introduced in 2011 could succeed and have destiny take its course.

The other lesson I learned is that sometimes the answers to life’s problems are
right in front of you. HB1195 provided me the opportunity to take away
reminders to some of life’s valuable lessons. As investigators and as human
beings, whether we consciously realize it or not, we are lifelong learners. HB11-1195
showed that our association and profession is comprised of investigators that
are willing to work hard to make a difference in the future of our profession
and our businesses. I’m proud of PPIAC and what our members have accomplished.

Selecting a Colorado Private Investigator

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

Selecting a qualified private investigative company is far more complex than may be imagined.  Private investigators not only work the cases that their clients give them; conscientious agencies have a duty to insure their clients are getting the very best return for their money.  Is their client happy with the report?  Is there enough communication with the client?  Will their product stand up on its own in court? To make things even more difficult, clients and the general public must now be aware of the latest rash of fake private investigators who are setting up flashy websites and/or advertising on Craigslist. Problems with fake and unscrupulous investigators tend to be more severe in higher population areas such as Denver. These problems would be expected out of a state like Colorado, where there has been no licensing standards for decades. However, the problem with fake and even unlicensed private investigators is also cropping up in states where licensing is mandatory. When hiring a private investigative agency, do not hesitate to request credentials and ask questions.

Colorado legislators are questioning if private investigators know the difference between surveillance and stalking/harrassment or know the laws concerning wiretapping/evesdropping. Now more than ever make sure the private investigators YOU hire know the difference. Your case depends on it.