Private Detectives and Investigators 2008-4-30 18:03:00 susan0118
Duties
Private detectives and investigators help attorneys, businesses, and the public with a variety of problems. Their service include protecting businesses from theft and vandalism. They may also gather evidence for trials and conduct background investigations. While detectives concentrate on providing protection and investigators specialize in gathering information, many do some of each.
Most detectives and investigators are trained to perform physical surveillance, often for long periods of time, in a car or van. They may observe a site, such as the home of a subject, from a hidden location. The surveillance continues using cameras, binoculars, and a car phone, until the desired evidence is obtained. They also search on-line computer databases containing probate records, motor vehicle registrations, credit reports, and other information.

Private detectives and investigators obtain information by interviewing witnesses and assembling evidence and reports for litigation or criminal trials. They get cases from clients or are assigned to cases by the manager or firm they work for. Many spend considerable time conducting surveilance, seeking to observe inconsistencies in a subject’s behavior. For example, a person who has recently filed a worker’s compensation claim stating that an injury has made walking difficult should not Be able to jog or mow the lawn. If such difficult should not be able to jog or mow the lawn. If such behavior is observed, the investigator takes video or photographs to document the activity and reports back to the supervisor or client.

Some investigations involve verification of facts, such as an individual’s place of employment or income. This might involve a phone call or a visit to the workplace. In other investigations, specially in missing persons cases and background checks, the investigator interviews people to gather as much information as possible about an individual.

Private detectives and investigators who work for retail stores or malls are responsible for theft control. Store detectives protect store merchandise by apprehending anyone attempting to steal merchandise or destroy store property. They detect theft by shoplifters, delivery personnel, and even store employees. Store detectives sometimes conduct inspections of stock areas, dressing rooms, and rest rooms. They may also assist in the opening and closing of the store.

Working Conditions
Private detectives and investigators often work irregular hrs because of the need to conduct surveillance and contact people who may not be available during normal working hrs. Early morning, evening, weekend, and holiday work is common.

Many detectives and investigators spend much time away from their offices conducting interviews or doing surveillance, but some work in their office most of the day conducting computer searches and making phone calls. Some split their time between office and field. Those who have their own agencies and employ other investigators may work primarily in an office and have normal business hrs.

When working a case away from the office, the environment might range from plush boardrooms to seedy bars. Store and hotel detectives work mostly in the business they protect. Investigators generally work alone, but sometimes work with others during surveillance or when following a subject.

Much of the work detectives and investigators do can be confrontational because the person being observed or interviewed may not want to be. As a result, the job can be stressful and sometimes dangerous. Some detectives and investigators carry handguns. In most cases, a weapon is not necessary because the purpose of their work is the gathering of information and not the apprehension of criminals.

Qualifications and Training
There are no formal education requirements for most private detectives and investigator jobs, although most employers prefer high school graduates, many private detectives have college degrees. Almost all private detectives and investigators have previous experience in other occupation. Some work at first for insurance companies. Many investigators enter the field after serving in military or law enforcement jobs.

Retired law enforcement officers, military investigators, and government agents frequently become private detectives and investigators as a second career. Other enter from such field as finance, accounting, investigative reporting, insurance, and law. These individuals often can apply their prior work experience in a related investigation speciality. A few can enter the occupation directly after graduation from college, generally with majors in such fields as criminal justice or police science.

For private detective and investigator jobs, most employers look for individuals who are curious, aggressive and assertive. A candidate must not be afraid of confrontations, should communicate well, and should be able to think quickly.
 

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