Posts Tagged ‘surveillance investigator’

The Highly Specialized Career of Professional Investigations

Monday, May 2nd, 2016

Professional private investigations is a career that many people have a great deal of fascination about. Television and media have often depicted the private investigator as an individual who is a do-it-all, a James Bond type of figure willing to tackle and somehow successfully accomplish any type of mission, assignment, or adversity presented to the character.

In reality, professional investigators give a great deal of thought to what cases they are willing to accept. Effective and responsible investigators know that if a case is outside their area of expertise, there is a greater probability that the results of the case will not be optimal. If you are looking for an attorney to resolve a child custody matter, would you hire the attorney that specializes in bankruptcy law, immigration law, or criminal law? You will likely prefer to hire the attorney who specializes in family law, and maybe even more precisely, child custody matters.

Professional private investigators like, attorneys, have specialties of their own. When potential clients are considering whether to hire a private investigator, I will often advise them against hiring the do-it-all private investigator. The old saying, ‘Jack of all trades, master of none’ certainly applies to investigations. A person who is considering hiring a private investigator should first identify what needs to be resolved or what information is being sought. The potential client can then begin looking for an investigator who specializes in obtaining the desired information or resolving the person’s matter. When contacting the investigator or investigative agency, do not hesitate to ask if they specialize in a certain area. Also, do not hesitate to ask how much experience they have in a certain area.

Advanced Professional Investigations is occasionally asked about companies that offer and provide professional services unrelated to investigations, and simultaneously have an in-house investigator or an investigations division. While it may seem tempting to go with the ‘one stop shop’ provider, the client should give consideration to a couple of important factors. First, is there a potential for the in-house investigator to have a bias, or could there be a perceived bias if the investigative findings are presented in a legal setting? Second, if investigation is one of many other professional services offered by a company, how much dedication/focus is the company giving to the investigations division of the company?

Advanced Professional Investigations, LLC is proud to be a fully independent, dedicated professional private investigations agency. What does this mean to our clients? API is able to maintain a direct, customer-focused line of communication with our clients. API obtains its information and documentation in a non-biased manner. API’s results always withstand the scrutiny of any perceived bias in a legal setting. Because API is dedicated to professional investigations, API’s investigators frequently attend conferences, courses, and training to keep on the forefront of investigations. API maintains the latest video recording equipment, with features that are designed specifically for professional investigators, not the general public. API was founded on, and continues to be focused on providing the highest quality results to our clients.

Do you have an investigative case request and you’re not sure who to turn to? Give API a call. Rest assured that if the case request is outside of our areas of specialty, we will let you know and will go the extra step of finding an investigator with the specialty you need.

Colorado Springs Private Investigations Conference

Saturday, September 29th, 2012

Professional Private Investigators Association of Colorado Conference video 

From PPIAC VP of Training Tan Smyth:   This year is a veritable smorgasbord of topics: between October 17th to the morning of Saturday the 20th, we have 14 fantastic speaker presentations.

$200.00 and an RSVP to the PICC seminar is all it takes to join us for this incredible deal.

Take a look at the new events brought to this year’s conference:

PICC– a free day of private investigator training, right before the conference. Marketing your business, Surveillance/Investigator Safety, Database research, the Basics of Skip-Tracing, and FCRA/Permissible Purposes. All that’s required is an RSVP, and a confirmation email to reserve your spot. Hurry, because seats are limited. For more information on PICC, please refer to this link where PInow asked VP of Training Tan Smyth some questions on this training event:

Investigator Panel– This is especially relevant for new people that are trying to figure out a specialty, but aren’t certain, as well as for people seeking to change or add new areas of investigations to their business. We will have a panel of investigators in different areas of specialty, ready to address your questions, such as: what does an insurance defense investigator do? Is surveillance in high demand, and is it advisable for a novice investigator to start with surveillance as a specialty? What do you need to do to become a criminal defense investigator? …and more!

Our latest day ends at 4:30 pm, which means there is still plenty of time for people to enjoy the sights the Colorado Springs area has to offer. Networking is highly encouraged; in this tight economy it’s more important than ever to get your name out there so when people need to refer a job out, they will reach for YOUR business card.

This year’s banquet promises to be a good one: we have Westword’s editor Patty Calhoun as a keynote speaker!

Still not convinced? Our Sponsors and vendors are top-notch:  Tracers Information Systems, Yergey Insurance, IRB, PInow/Servenow, NAIS, and CRC Press will be showing their support and will have tables. We also have advertisers in our conference notebooks; local businesses are also demonstrating support for Colorado PIs. There will be books, gadgets and services galore to help you with YOUR business.

Take advantage of this event and come network with us.

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.

Privacy and the Surveillance Investigator

Monday, September 12th, 2011

You’ve all seen the stories and heard conflicting rulings about the Right to Privacy/Invasion of Privacy. One of the most frequent questions we’re asked about is how private investigators get around the Right to Privacy issue.

The long and short of it is: private investigators don’t, or at least they shouldn’t.

Although private detectives and investigators are often depicted as going in to the grey areas in order to come back with the “money shot,” the fact of the matter is that evidence gathered in an illegal way is dismissed or won’t be allowed to be presented in a legal setting.

Advanced Professional Investigations treats every case as though it were
going to court. It may take a little longer, require more effort and cost a bit
more – but our documentation is not going to compromise your case in court by failing to pass legal scrutiny.

The right to privacy encompasses that which is not determined to be public domain, and as such private investigators and their clients must also be aware of the reasonable expectation of privacy. A person’s home is their domain. The same right that you expect goes for everyone else. For that reason, the ‘invisible’ line is drawn at the threshold of their door. If the subject is involved in activity on the front porch step which benefits the client, private investigators are going to document that (provided there’s not a six-foot privacy fence in the way.) If the subject is inside their home, it’s off limits.

It is far better to wait for a another moment for capturing video surveillance than it is to present documentation gained in a manner that is questionable in the eyes of the law. Advanced Professional Investigations doesn’t take risks with our client’s money on the line.

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.



National Investigative Agencies Vs. the Local PI

Monday, March 21st, 2011

Although national private investigative agencies may seem better suited to handle a case, this is rarely true. For a Colorado investigation case, there is no better investigator than a Colorado private investigator who is familiar with where the courts are, the towns, the streets, shortcuts to get from point A to point B, etc.  A surveillance investigator who is flown in to Denver from Boston to conduct surveillance is instantly at a disadvantage from a Denver surveillance operative or investigator who has been conducting surveillance in Denver for years and knows the neighborhoods and demographics of the area.

Also, the local PI agency will most likely turn over the completed case and billing to the client quicker than a national investigation agency based out of state. The client has a better opportunity of meeting with the private investigator face-to-face with a local agency rather than one based out of state.

A fact that is not well known outside the private investigative community is that national companies usually use local investigators as sub-contractors to do cases. If the client hired the sub-contractor investigator directly, the same product could be received in a shorter time and likely for less money as there is no middle man. There are many national companies that advertise as having local offices in Colorado. However, most of these companies just have a post office or mail drop as an address to give the illusion of having a Colorado office.

Advanced Private Investigations is proudly based in Colorado, between Denver and Colorado Springs. We are actively involved in the Professional Private Investigators Association of Colorado, or PPIAC for short. For more information on PPIAC, please visit