The Investigative Process from A to Z
Posted by Pamela S. on Tuesday, October 9th, 2012
If you have ever wondered how your case is handled by a private investigator, here is a primer on the investigative process, from the time we welcome your business until the results reach your hands. For most private investigators in the field, this
is the view from their office window. Behind that investigator is an entire staff that provides support and works for you.
Every private investigation agency has their own way of doing things, but most follow a similar routine. Most larger private investigation companies are run like any other corporation. There is a strong support staff who help the investigators in the field. Choose an investigation agency run viagra by an owner/operator, or President with extensive experience in investigations. Many owners, such as Tom Sheer, have a background in law enforcement. Other individuals hold various management positions, such as operations, or investigations manager. There are sales staff who have a background in investigations and security issues, IT people who know their SSD 910 from an HDD Raid, and bookkeepers or accountants who prepare your invoices and manage payroll.
Like any other company, investigation agencies couldn’t operate without fine administrative personnel who answer calls, provide information and type and edit the investigators’ reports. Some companies employ a video editor to edit and make copies of surveillance video.
Many P.I. agencies have departments that handle different types of investigations; background searchers conduct database searches and other research. Pre-employment background check staff perform searches and conduct interviews. Many investigation companies also have security divisions.
The process starts when you call or come to the investigator’s office. Most long term clients don’t come to the office; everything is handled by email, phone, fax or courier, as is done in many businesses. Usually you will work with an investigation manager.
We sit down with you, literally, or figuratively speaking and take your information. Please don’t leave anything out, the more information you give us the better. We know that busy lawyers and insurance adjusters often have stacks of files on each case and can’t go through them all, but good identifying information and a photograph of your subject will help reduce your costs by giving us an edge on the ID. We determine the best way to obtain the information that you need, whether that is through surveillance, inquiries, discreet inquiries, searches of databases and other sources of information.
Give us a budget to work with. We will give you a rundown of what we can accomplish based on your budget and the scope of the investigation. Occasionally a file will go over budget, but we will keep you informed if we suspect that is going to happen. For example, let’s say your subject is collecting insurance and claims to be disabled. They haven’t come out of the house for three days and the budget is almost up. On the third day, they come out and load up their car with suitcases and sporting equipment. We start following , but after an hour or two of driving, we have reached budget. Do we discontinue surveillance?
If the subject posted something on Facebook and told their friends that they were going to a ski resort in another state, we would be able to provide this information and together make an informed decision about continuing the investigation. If we don’t know where they are going, we would get video of the subject loading their vehicle, and follow them until we determined that they were going on an extended trip. If the subject was traveling two hours out of town, we would probably stick with them, but that isn’t reasonable if they are going on an 10 hour drive.
Some clients like frequent updates, others, who are experienced clients, realize that we know what we are doing. They may be busy and only want updates if a scenario like the one I just described became a reality.
After the investigator, or investigators working on your file obtain their evidence, they submit a report and video or other evidence. Most investigation companies edit the video and make copies for you. Yes, video is edited, but the originals are kept in case it goes to court. Only extraneous material is edited out.
The report is typed in the format used by the investigation company and an invoice is prepared and sent to you by an agreed upon method. Sometimes reports are sent over the Internet, through courier or hand delivered. Confidentiality is the number one concern. A detailed report
will include the activities of the subject, dates and times of surveillance, weather conditions during surveillance, and other information. The investigation agency will usually provide recommendations, such as continuing surveillance at a later date, or conducting inquiries or further searches to obtain additional information.
The best investigative agencies will work closely with you to obtain evidence that can stand up in court, mediation hearings or other decision making processes.
Former FBI Assistant Director Tom Sheer has recruited the best from the FBI, DEA, IRS and Secret Service to build a formidable team at Sheer Investigations. Our private investigators have the sensitivity and experience to handle the most delicate investigations.