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Archive for October, 2011

Death of the Private Investigator

Monday, October 31st, 2011

For several months now, I’ve seen growing concerns from investigators across the United States regarding the direction of private investigations. These concerns have been raised perhaps as a result of the economy, privacy laws, and even national investigative agencies.

Let’s assume for a moment that those concerns are valid and the scope of the investigations work as we know it will soon be gone and will never be the same. Assume that the private investigator will even cease to exist, as many concerns have been expressed. Does that mean that society simply has no use for the services that investigators provide? Let’s examine the role of the private investigator.

At its core, the private investigator is an information locator and gatherer. The right type of information can be very valuable and powerful to the client. Information therefore is the key to the value a private investigator has to his/her client. However, most clients are becoming more demanding with the information they want. No longer is it enough to provide a client with information simply to satisfy the client’s curiosity. Most clients of the private investigator are looking for a PI because they need information for a current legal action, a pending legal action, or to minimize the possibility of a future legal action. Private investigators must make sure that the information they provide to their clients can withstand legal scrutiny if need be. The investigator who can obtain valuable legally and ethically obtained information will continue to be in demand regardless of outside factors driving the profession. We are, after all, in the information age.

So what should the private investigator do to not only survive, but perhaps thrive in the coming years and even decades? A good start is for us to change our mindset of who we all are. Rather than private investigators, we should look at ourselves as professional investigators, or professional private investigators. The private investigations field will continue to bring never-ending changes. Some changes will be better than others. Some changes should and will be challenged.  Today’s investigator must be willing to embrace the challenges of the changing scope of investigations. For the changes that are inevitable, the successful investigator must be willing to embrace or at the minimum adjust expeditiously to those as well.

Today’s successful investigator must be not only an investigative professional, but a business professional. Being well-versed in business and marketing practices is critical. Many clients, including the private clientele involved in domestic matters, are seeking out investigative firms with a more professional, corporate look and feel. Every facet of the investigator is scrutinized by the client, from the website to the equipment to the knowledge of laws. Even the style of dress is scrutinized. Clients are moving away from choosing investigators with websites containing scandalous, salacious photos of couples “caught in the act” or websites filled with assertions that the investigator is willing to “dig for dirt.” Investigators who maintain a professional demeanor will have a competitive advantage in today’s world.

So are we all witnessing the death of the private investigator? That is unlikely. Rather, I believe that private investigations will continue to evolve and is constantly progressing more and more towards a professional field. For those who already view and hold themselves as professionals, the evolution should be manageable and even welcoming.

Social Network Investigator

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

Can Social Network Investigations Make a Difference in Your Cases?

By now, everyone has heard of social networking. It’s not a fad or something restricted to teens. Private investigators utilize the social networks to help them
develop leads, locate individuals, and follow the information to confirm and document the findings. All of this sounds good, but how can it be applied to
your case? Is social networking just a nicety?

Social networking is quickly becoming a massive part of nearly every private investigator’s case. It is an integral part of most people’s lives. Not only do
people open their networking sites almost immediately upon starting up their home computers or netbooks, but many people now use their social networking
applications (such as Facebook and Twitter) on their smart phones 9% more often than they use it on their computer. The need for people to stay connected with
others outpaces their need for privacy.

Private investigators can use this to their advantage. Advanced Professional Investigations checks dozens of social networking sites for your cases, but for our example let’s look at Facebook. Many subjects are among the 800 million active users on Facebook. Facebook posts can provide leads, confirm information, supply photos and hobby data that will help to fill out a case profile that can save both time and money in confirming or denying questionable data.

API is keenly aware of how much time, effort and money social network and internet investigations can save. Subjects that have a prolific presence on the internet use more than one social networking site; searching these sites may provide invaluable information. It is due to these recent developments that API has created the cost-effective Advanced Social Profile Division. If you would like a more extensive search package added to one of your cases, please contact us for pricing. The information gleaned from this often-requested search greatly helps the chances of the case being resolved quickly.

Investigations Rules

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

Unwritten Rules of Private Investigations

What do professional private investigators think about?  Here is a checklist for scrutinizing the investigative process:

The Private Investigator is an Extension of the Client.  Advanced Professional Investigations represents you, the client.  Whether it’s in the courtroom or in the field, we always remain aware of the fact that we are your representatives.  We dress professionally, behave accordingly, and never forget that our credibility stems from the way we present ourselves as your representatives in the aspect of investigations, from the beginning of the case to the end.

The Private Investigator must withstand legal scrutiny.  Legal scrutiny may come from at least three different areas:  the investigator themselves, the investigation process, and the evidence produced.

Investigator:  How well do you know your private investigator?  How well do you know their background?  Do they have anything in their past that may come up on the stand?  Restraining orders, stalking and harassment charges and convictions are just a start of what you should know about your investigator’s past history. Do they have a professional demeanor?  Believability and credibility in the eyes of the judge and jury are dramatically affected by the impression that an investigator creates on the stand.  Could your investigator pass this scrutiny?

Investigations:  The methods of investigating a case may come under intense scrutiny when brought to court.  Legal ramifications must always be at the forefront of a private investigator’s thought processes.  Does your investigator know the differences between surveillance and stalking?  Do they know Colorado’s statute regarding harassment?  Do they understand what ‘reasonable expectation of privacy’ entails with regard to a surveillance or other private investigation?  Do they understand the pitfalls of GPS tracking devices and certain types of searches in social media? 

Evidence: In this case, evidence describes any documentation produced for a court case. Examples might be a word document, pdf, video or electronic communication.  Will the evidence stand up in court?  For instance, is there a date and time stamp on the video or photo?  Has any documentation been altered or edited?  Was the evidence obtained in a legal manner?

There are many other considerations that we as professional private investigators must take into account. Where does your investigator fit into the process?

Colorado Surveillance Specialists

Sunday, October 16th, 2011

What defines and distinguishes Advanced Professional Investigations is specialized expertise and ethical standards that set the bar in the private investigator field. What we do and how we do it are core to our mission and working philosophy.

Observe

Whether we’re conducting surveillance or another type of private investigation, our purpose is to observe objectively. Our impartiality is your greatest strength.

Record

We obtain expert video surveillance evidence and audio statements that are recorded professionally and legally. We do not use wiretapping or GPS tracking devices.

Report

The culmination of our observations and recordings are delivered to you in a professional and concisely written report.  No opinions.  No speculation.  No suppositions.  Our objective reports provide you with the facts and support you need to make your best case.

Advanced Professional Investigations is a Colorado owned and operated private investigations company, with highly experienced investigators conveniently located throughout the Denver metro area.

We are Denver surveillance specialists, and for that matter we are Colorado surveillance specialists: we wear that hat proudly. Our private investigators each have 10 to 30 years of field surveillance experience. Field experience has a large impact on your bottom line.

Fast Turn Around – Time is money. The quicker we can turn over the results and completed documentation to you, the better. Upon completion of surveillance we send you the report and video within 48 hours.

Did you know API offers Statements and Interviews?
Interviews help you uncover information from potential witnesses that is critical for litigation and to support the facts for your case. API can provide video or voice recorded statements for your cases that have a legal purpose.

Choosing an Unbiased Private Investigator

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

As worker’s compensation plaintiff attorneys become more aware of the use of surveillance
in workers compensation (and other related) claims, they have responded by
focusing on the investigation itself. Many of their strategies lay in questioning
the impartiality of the surveillance investigator conducting the investigation.

Using an unbiased private investigator is critical when insuring there has been no
conflict of interest on a case, and that the results produced from the
investigation have truly remained objective. The use of ‘in-house’
investigators has proven to be an especially vulnerable area for attorneys to
attack the impartiality of surveillance.

A private investigator has no part in adjusting or administering the claim; the only
association they have is in conducting the investigation itself.  Their compensation does not hinge on the
outcome of the claim, nor is it affected by the video documentation obtained.

Accusation of bias is far less likely to adhere to a private investigator conducting
surveillance on a claim than to an in-house investigator. Our surveillance investigators
document ALL of a claimant’s activities that can be observed in public,
assuring the case cannot be discredited through bias. API’s investigators have
a thorough knowledge of Colorado laws pertaining to surveillance. API’s
investigators are highly experienced at conducting surveillance in all of
Colorado, from downtown Denver to Denver International Airport, and from Vail
to Boulder.  We incorporate that knowledge into EVERY case we take.

Our impartiality is your greatest strength.