Debunking The Myths
Since 2014 July 24th has been recognized as Professional Investigators Day in honor of the birthday of Eugene Francois Vidocq, the very first Private Investigator who founded the first known detective agency in 1833 – and our profession is a 24/7 adventure.
This year our theme is “Debunking Myths”, but first – some history…
The first Private Investigators Day was recognized in October 1996 by Bob Mackowiak – the founder, publisher and editor of PI Magazine; the day faded after 2002. Beginning in 2014, in order to make the public more aware of the important roles that Private Investigators play in society, Arthur Athas - owner/director of 'Private Investigators Now' (Melbourne, Australia) approached our agency to help reinvigorate this effort to recognize professional Private Investigators worldwide every year. Since that time, and each year, this day has become more recognized. Thank you Bob Mackowiak for starting this day, Arthur Ashe for making it international, and all our friends, colleagues, and clients for growing it every year!
In recent years we have all seen regulations and legislation continued to be enacted based on myths, or bad actors making truths of those myths and casting a dark shadow on our profession. Professional Investigators play key roles in our justice system. We thank our friend and colleague in Miami, Marc Hurwitz (Crossroads Investigations – https://xinvestigations.com) who recently published an excellent article entitled, “Debunked: Common Myths About Private Investigators” – with his permission we are using it, and adding our own experiences.
Debunked: Common Myths About Private Investigators
(from Marc Hurwitz of Crossroads Investigations - FL)
When you hear the terms “private investigator” or “detective,” we're sure a certain image appears in your head. Whether it's an older man smoking in a dim office, or a beautiful young woman dressed in leather pants at the scene of a crime, private investigator stereotypes in pop culture persist. The reality is that private investigators are from all walks of life and investigate a broad range of matters. It’s not always glamorous or even exciting, either.
Here are a few assumptions private investigators encounter in daily life:
- Private investigators are above the law. Private investigators must respect privacy laws and standard procedures for securing access to places and information. While our licenses and status may grant us more privileges, we still cannot trespass on private property or misuse information.
- Private investigators secretly use audio recording devices and GPS tracking devices all the time. Different states have different laws when it comes to recording conversations and placing GPS tracking devices on vehicles. In Florida, a private conversation can only be recorded with the consent of all parties involved, and someone can’t blindly place a GPS tracker on a vehicle without the owner of the vehicle’s consent.
- Private investigators can hack into social media, bank accounts, telephones, and other computer systems. While there are firms that specialize in digital forensic investigations, ethical private investigators generally do not even think about attempting to hack into personal accounts or systems with private information. However, there are legal and acceptable ways for private investigators to secure information that follow applicable HIPAA and FCRA guidelines.
Thanks for sharing this Marc. As professionals we all know these myths. Some new investigators may not, or those coming from professions in which they did have access to sensitive or otherwise restricted information. Even our clients may not know these myths are so. As professionals, it is our responsibility to make the public and every client and potential client aware. Thank you for the reminder.
What can we, as Professional Investigators, do ourselves to end these myths and provide the best services available to our clients?
First, end the myth of competition amongst ourselves. The only competition is ourselves – not each other. Working together to better each other and our profession continues to be our mission and passion, and is for many of our friends and colleagues. Working together to improve networking, continuing education, and teach our clients, the public, and those pushing harmful regulations and legislation – from advocates to legislators – we are essential to our judicial system and righting the wrongs our clients may be subjected to.
The Quint-Essential Qualities of a Professional Investigator
Skills Appropriate for the Assignment
Law firms and medical offices specialize - Professional Investigators also specialize. Their casework and continuing education should also be in your specialized areas.
Experience and Knowledge
Professional Investigators strive to maintain and further these. All professions have requirements of continuing education. The CLI and CCDI programs both require extensive compliance with continuing education.
Responsible and Ethical Conduct
Every component of the investigation has evidentiary considerations. Professional Investigators hold themselves to a higher standard and leaves no question as to the admissibility of their evidence. Information without ethics is not evidence.
Professional Investigators maintain communication with the attorney, client, witnesses, and other key persons in the investigation. Moreover, reports are the product of an organized investigation and should reflect the work product you expect.
Keyword - 'Professional'
Honesty, Integrity & Intelligence. These define Professional Investigators and gives you the confidence that your case is in competent and skilled hands.
Thank You for continuing to be part of our professional family, and welcoming us into yours. For nearly 20 years this day has been celebrated by each of us. What do you do to “Debunk the Myths”?
From the first PI Day - October 1996 - by the founder of PI Magazine, Bob Mackowiak. We had donations from the family grocer Dean worked at until his first day as a PI. Karen was our only visitor to come by and took this pic of Dean and Dave Taggart. The space was donated by the public library and we had resolutions from the Colorado governor, county commissioners, and city council and mayor - some where we sill have these (displayed in the photo background).
(*CCDIs, CFI-FTERs, CFSIs)
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