What Does a Private Investigator Do?
What does a private investigator do? A private investigator (PI) is a professional investigator that uses many methods to gather evidence and organize it in a legal way. Many private investigators use computer-aided research (CDR) to create databases of current and past telephone numbers, records, location maps, customer lists, business contracts, and more. These databases are then used to aid in the detection of potential legal problems. In some cases, private investigators may also use specialized software to track the movements of individuals or groups.
An investigator can be called in to serve a number of purposes, including corporate, private, or emotional, investigative purposes. In order to execute surveillance techniques and gather evidence, a private investigator must learn about the ins and outs of different legal procedures and their ramifications. Often, an investigator’s main focus is on gathering and organizing evidence and putting together databases of this information in the form of reports, PowerPoint presentations, etc. In fact, many surveillance techniques rely on large PIs working in teams to perform multiple tasks.
The PI’s job is to follow-up on leads and intelligence provided by law enforcement agencies. This includes the execution of surveillance, phone records, GPS tracking, interviewing suspects, gathering proof, and any other necessary steps. In other cases, a private investigator may be employed by a prosecutor to conduct investigative interviews or to review digital evidence that may be critical to a trial. Private investigators are sometimes referred to as “private detectives” or “special investigators” by other law enforcement agencies and the media.
The most common services offered by a private investigator include surveillance techniques. They can perform background investigations to discover if someone has ever been convicted of a crime. Sometimes they are called in to determine if someone is telling the truth about their background and criminal history. Cell phone records can often be revealing, especially if the cellular telephones of the subjects in question are frequently used for both work and private affairs.
Other specialized services offered by private investigators include the recovery of deleted text messages or emails, the retrieval of passwords or security codes, the finding of lost mail or credit cards, the identifying of anonymous online forums, websites, chatrooms, and social networking accounts, and the investigation of personal injuries, lawsuits, or insurance claims. Sometimes an investigator will specialize in a specific field such as computer forensics, computer crimes, intellectual property law, finance/reorts, fraud, missing persons, private investigative sales, and Internet scams. A good investigator will have a strong understanding of all the legalities of search warrant applications and federal laws regarding electronic surveillance and other Internet investigations. He/she will also possess strong skills in locating possible perpetrators. Private investigators are adept at locating missing people, and conducting anonymous searches.
Besides investigating and providing investigations, some private investigators provide background checks, corporate security screening, executive personality assessments, employer/employee litigation support, and executive background checks. Background checks can often reveal a lot about an individual, especially if the person has committed any crimes or is under investigation. Employers hire private investigators to help them verify information provided by potential employees, making sure that the information provided is true and accurate. Private investigators are also hired by government agencies and large companies to help them carry out routine business tasks, such as maintaining employee records and tracking down errant employees. By hiring a private investigator, you can get the answers you need to help your business run smoothly.
When it comes to surveillance, it’s not just about catching perpetrators. For many years, private investigators have been hired by law enforcement agencies to track down child predators, tax cheats, terrorists, corporate executives, and other criminal offenders. In many cases, private investigators use a combination of surveillance techniques, computer forensic tools, and personal interviews to help them find these criminals. The United States Department of Justice uses private investigators to monitor many of the nation’s most wanted individuals. Meanwhile, the Drug Enforcement Administration funds sting operations in which sting suspects are placed in dangerous situations in order to provide agents with vital information about their associates.
Another task of a good private investigator is to serve as a liaison between another party and the subject of the investigation. In many cases, a private investigator’s assistance can save the lives of those who have been accused of committing a crime. Sometimes the information provided by an investigator allows a jury to be aware of mitigating circumstances surrounding a crime for which the defendant may be innocent. In the world of criminal justice, it’s hard to think of an investigation that doesn’t require the services of a good private investigator.