Passing of PPIAC member Neil Hoener
Unfortunately, 2019 came with sad news for us in Colorado in PPIAC. PPIAC member Neil Hoener passed away January 2nd after a long battle with cancer. His obituary is at www.dignitymemorial.com/obituaries/colorado-springs-co/neil-hoener-8109225.
He was a retired FBI agent in Colorado Springs and conducted federal background checks under contract, as well as being a licensed Colorado PI. He was a strong supporter of PPIAC and licensing since joining in 2009. He testified before legislative committees and attended stakeholder meetings. He was a valuable resource and friend to many, including to us.
In the Document stage of this Investigative protocol it is time to review and document the factual information and evidence. There are three components to this: evidentiary discovery and disclosures, attorney-client and client, and the legal investigator’s work product. There are three purposes to this documentation: existing and excluded, cross referenced across components, and to maintain evidence protocols and procedures. the legal investigator should follow a protocol and methodology that includes record keeping and tracking - just as they do when reviewing of discovery and disclosures from opposing parties. In this we see the course of our own investigation, and the opposing investigation. This is primarily useful in criminal defense and looking into official investigations leading to charges and prosecution.
-- continued at www.DeathCaseReview.com/afi-llc-blog/fact-finding-investigations-document
Current information on our primary agency website for services, forms, and CVs.
-- About Us - www.DeathCaseReview.com/about-us.html
-- Our Services - www.DeathCaseReview.com/our-services.html
-- Dean's CV - http://dab-cv.DeathCaseReview.com
-- Karen's CV - http://ksb-cv.DeathCaseReview.com
-- Passing of PPIAC Member, friend and colleague, Neil Hoener
-- New Commentary - Fact Finding Investigations - Document
-- Agency Information and Principal CVs
-- Commentary from the blog archives of AFI-LLC
- Underlying Importance of Equivocal Death Investigations
- Our Forensic Testimonial Evidence Recovery (FTER) Experience
- My007Spy Online Spy Shop
- Our Services - How We Can Help You in 2018 and Beyond (now 2019)
-- Book Available – ‘Death and Serious Bodily Injury Investigation for the Professional Investigator’
-- Case Studies from AFI-LLC
- Suspicious Death - Independent Investigation (Expert Consultation)
- Decedent Identification - Protocol Opinion (Expert Affidavit)
-- Top Tip of 2019 for our PI Colleagues
-- Expert Affiliations
-- Tidbits From Our Profession – Association Conferences and Events
-- Associations and News
-- News From Our Profession
- Surveillance Technology: 1984 to Present
- What It's Really Like Being A Death Investigator
- Personal Property and Auto Claims
- Force Concepts Training
-- Legislative News You Can Use... from NCISS
- Congress and Data Privacy & Records
- Congress and Consumer Protection
-- The Quint-Essential Qualities of a Professional Investigator
-- IN CLOSING...
Rocky Mountain West Agency owned by Dean A. Beers, CLI CCDI CFI-FTER and Karen S. Beers, BSW CCDI CFI-FTER.
We provide Expert Consultations and Legal Investigations of Personal Injury, Negligence & Death in Civil, Criminal and Probate litigation. We are Subject Matter Experts in Equivocal Death Investigation and Analysis, Medicolegal Investigations of Death and Serious Bodily Injury.
Based in the Rocky Mountain West, we provide expert consultations nationally. Learn details at www.DeathCaseReview.com
Keep up with the current events of our agency and profession through our blog. Dating back to the fall of 2011, there are dozens of articles, tips and resources for professional investigators.
Underlying Importance of Equivocal Death Investigations (09/04/2017)
Since 2008, our agency has provided Equivocal Death Investigations to families - directly, or through other investigators and attorneys. The majority are as officially ruled, many have discrepancies in the official investigations - most don't change the official findings, some do - and these issues are what troubles families. In addition, there is false information to deal with. We have had many cases used in training, with confidentiality. Most often, the beginning of the concerns arise from 1) lack of good communication with the families by the investigating agencies; and 2) lay persons providing opinions and stirring up already traumatic and emotional issues. Karen has written on these contributing problems before.
-- continued at www.DeathCaseReview.com/afi-llc-blog/underlying-importance-of-equivocal-death-investigations
Our Forensic Testimonial Evidence Recovery (FTER) Experience (11/06/2017)
The course is generally intended to be taught over two days, split between instruction and practical application throughout the course. For the pre-conference events, the course is reduced to one day and focuses primarily on instruction. To obtain certification, the training has been categorized into two practical learning assignments. Each assignment will be evaluated by the instructor. The questions from the textbook must also be answered in essay format and submitted for grading. The final exam involves a 100 question multiple choice/true or false test. The test will be emailed to you and must be completed within 24 hours. All tests are open book. You have 8 weeks to complete the program. Extensions are available upon request. Upon successful completion of the course of study a Certificate of Training will be provided. A passing score of 80% is required to earn the designation of CDITC Certified FTER Forensic Interviewer (CFI-FTER).
-- continued at www.DeathCaseReview.com/afi-llc-blog/our-forensic-testimonial-evidence-recovery-fter-experience
My007Spy Online Spy Shop (12/04/2017)
We are proud and honored to be an authorized affiliate of LawMate USA and retailer of these exception products for PIs, process servers, law enforcement, military and other public service and safety groups.
-- continued at www.DeathCaseReview.com/afi-llc-blog/my007spy-online-spy-shop
Our Services - How We Can Help You in 2018 and Beyond (01/01/2018)
This holds true for 2018 and into 2019…
In 2017 we found ourselves celebrating 30 years in business as professional investigators! We are excited to usher in 2018 with you - our friends, clients and colleagues. Some we have known 30 years - others 20, 10, 5 or very recently. To each of you - Thank You and we wish you a very healthy and prosperous 2018 for you and your families!
-- continued at www.DeathCaseReview.com/afi-llc-blog/our-services-how-we-can-help-you-in-2018-and-beyond
We believe that medicolegal investigation and consultation is a team effort. Stephen Cina MD and Harold Schueler PhD are our agency affiliated experts in our respective fields offering our clients comprehensive medicolegal services.
Dr. Cina, based in Colorado, is the former Chief Medical Examiner of Cook County IL. and now provides contract and independent forensic autopsies and consultations.
Dr. Schueler is now a profession at mid-Atlantic university, and is the former Chief Forensic Toxicologist of a large mid-Atlantic metropolitan area.
We are proud of our working relationship with Dr. Cina, since 2002 and Dr. Schueler since 2010. Contact our office to consult on medicolegal death and injury causation. The CVs of both Dr. Cina and Dr. Schueler are available by Contacting Us
Through our colleagues, we also offer direct referrals from our Affiliated Experts Referral Program! Each are available nationally.
- Forensic Nursing
- Forensic Photography
- Digital Forensics - Cell Phones
- Digital Forensics - Computers
- Digital Forensics - GPS / Vehicles
- Forensic Debugging / Technical Surveillance Countermeasures
AFI-LLC is offering our latest - and very detailed book (over 200 pages) - on Investigating Death & Serious Bodily Injuries for civil or criminal cases, "Death and Serious Bodily Injury Investigation for the Professional Investigator" by Dean & Karen Beers.
Regularly for $95 plus shipping, save 25% - email us today and we'll ship your book tomorrow! Just $75 via PayPal.
This guide is over 200 pages and includes the core of our distance learning course manual. It includes over 20 additional forensic, death and serious bodily injury based articles. You will learn how to conduct death and SBI investigations to better advise your client, and prepare the case for expert consultation - and we are prepared to be your affiliated experts!
Contact us now - firstname.lastname@example.org for book and ordering details - or visit www.DeathandInjuryInvestigationGuide.com
We are often asked about the types of traumatic injury and death cases we review - from family equivocal deaths to civil and criminal cases for attorneys and investigators. Each month we will present two previous cases - of hundreds - with a variety of circumstances, evidence, and conclusions.
Suspicious Death - Independent Investigation (Expert Consultation)
Our agency was retained by a private investigator on behalf of the decedent’s family. The decedent was found by family members in his garage with a gunshot wound under his chin; a shotgun was by his side. Family members reported that the decedent’s co-habitant girlfriend and her young son were home. An argument and alcohol consumption had preceded this incident. The official ruling was Suicide due to a single gunshot wound to the head.
Information for investigative review purposes was limited to scene photographs and statements from non-present family members. This is usually insufficient to conduct an adequate Equivocal Death Investigation. As a subject matter expert on blood spatter and crime scenes, this agency was contacted to review the photographs and determine if a more comprehensive investigation should be conducted by the retained private investigator.
A review of the photographs revealed several important factors in support of suicide. Blood spatter was absent (referred to as ‘void’) in key areas that indicated the decedent was holding, and how, the shotgun at the time of discharge and his consequential death. This information was presented to the family to their satisfaction. By report, the official investigation did not address this important issue of blood spatter.
Independent investigation concurred with the official ruling of Suicide due to a single shotgun wound to the chin.
Decedent Identification - Protocol Opinion (Expert Affidavit)
Decedent Identification – Protocol Opinion (Expert) Our agency was retained by appeal counsel, based on our experience in identification of human remains at the medical examiner’s offices, to assist with a post-conviction appeal. At issue was if the official investigation used the available resources and protocols to identify the decedent, and if such identification would have aided the defense. It should be noted that the decedent was not identified until several years post-conviction.
Based upon experience as death investigator and deputy coroner, it was opined that the likelihood of determining the decedent’s identity prior to the defendant’s trial would have been substantially increased if the defense had conducted a full investigation into the identity of the body found. The physical description of the decedent was entered into the FBI’s N.C.I.C. database. However, this information was either incorrect or too vague at key points of identification (clothing, hair color, height, weight, dentition, eye color, etc.). A forensic expert should have reviewed the description of “Jane Doe” that was entered to ensure that the description was correctly reported in a thorough way so that it could have the best chance of being matched up with relevant missing-person reports in the N.C.I.C. database.
This information may have resulted in a ‘hit’ and identification of the decedent before the trial and conviction. In addition, it was opined that the defense should have retained an independent forensic pathologist to perform a second autopsy or at least conduct an autopsy review. This would have increased the chances of finding additional characteristics that could lead to a more accurate description of “Jane Doe” that would lead to her identity. Other deficiencies in attempts to identify the decedent included failure to have a sketch and description sent to the available resources for identifying missing persons, regional law enforcement offices and medical examiner or coroner offices. This same information should have been provided to print media and television, available social networks, missing persons groups, non-profit groups (i.e. Red Cross and Salvation Army) and, private investigator and law enforcement associations.
It should be noted that this incident was approximately one decade ago and resources were more limited than at this time. This opinion was based upon resources available at that time.
If you need to find assistance outside of your area, here are steps to take to find a vetted and reliable professional:
1. Don't throw your request for assistance out to unvetted groups in social media or generic listserves. Why trust your business and your client to the unknown? Its bad business. Sure, they're free - but you get what you pay for.
2. Reach out to someone you know and trust in the area.
3. Reach out to the state or specialty association - join them.
4. Reach out to a national association - NCISS and NALI vet their membership to be in compliance with licensing and ethics - join them.
5. If international, reach out to WAD (they also vet their membership to be in compliance with licensing and ethics) - join them.
6. Vet your decision, including through your associations network.
Its your reputation. We give preference to professionals supporting our profession and holding membership in their state associations, NCISS, NALI and WAD, and specialty associations such as CDITC - many of which are cross members - join them. Through our memberships we have a trusted network of thousands in almost every state and almost 100 countries. We have a very personal network of over 2000 PIs we personally know and trust. That happened through our interactions in associations who support and grow our profession.
Don't just join - be active! We are involved in every association we belong to - not just as members, but from committees to the board, and Karen is the Administrative Manager or Executive Director of two.
It comes with a cost - so does bad decisions. Here some of our memberships and recommendations, and members of these associations get preference for direct referrals - www.DeathCaseReview.com/Associations.
Do you have news of your associations and members to share? Please let us know!
An association events calendar and information is at www.nciss.org/event-calendar
Florida Association of Private Investigators (FAPI) Annual Litigator and Investigators Conference
02/21 to 02/23 - Altamonte Springs FL
Details at www.MyFAPI.org
World Association of Detectives (WAD) Midterm Meeting
03/21 to 03/23 – Honolulu HI
Details at www.WAD.net
Professional Association of Wisconsin licensed Investigators (PAWLI) Annual Conference
03/29 to 03/30 – Wisconsin Rapids WI
Details at www.PAWLI.com
National Council of Investigation & Security Services (NCISS) Annual Meeting and Hit the Hill
04/29 to 05/01
Details at www.NCISS.org
Professional Private Investigators Association of Colorado (PPIAC) Annual Conference
07/24 to 07/26
Details at www.PPIAC.org
Is your association planning a conference we can share? Email us the details - associates@DeathCaseReview.com!
We are dedicated ambassadors to our profession and work within several associations with others to continually protect and improve our profession and resources, as well as networking and continuing education opportunities.
Professional Private investigations Association of Colorado (www.PPIAC.org) Monthly meetings, including a training speaker, are the first Wednesday of each month, usually in the Denver metro area. PPIAC continues to hold specialized training sessions for new and veteran investigators, and also specific to the new licensing program.
PPIAC has announced they will be hosting 2-3 one-day training events in 2019. The first will focus on the basics of investigations - from buisness components to the fundamentals. A second event will be advanced investigative topics and techniques. Interest and schedule permitting, a third even will continue the advanced session.
PPIAC has also announced their annual conference has moved from the fall to early summer to honor Private Investigators Day on July 24th. The event will begin with a pre-conference full day of OSINT with Cynthia Hetherington (separate registration and fee) on 07/24, followed by two days of seminar speakers and topics attendees have come to expect and commend of PPIAC - 07/25 to 07/26. Block your calendars now. The venue will be in beautiful Colorado Springs - a destination to plan a couple extra days of vacation!
National Association of Legal Investigators (www.NALI.com)
NALI is the premier association for legal investigators for civil plaintiff and criminal defense, and oversees the prestigious Certified Legal Investigator (CLI) program. Experience is required to join and all members are subject to a background check.
Legal Investigators working cases for civil plaintiff or criminal defense - join the National Association of Legal Investigators! (http://nalionline.org/become-a-member - please contact our office and use us as a reference on the application)
The current issue of NALI's official journal - The Legal Investigator - is now available online at www.nalionline.org/publications.htm
National Council of Investigation and Security Services (www.NCISS.org)
Each day we find an increasing number of problems confronting the orderly growth of our profession. These problems include, among others: overly restrictive legislation regarding training and standards, proliferation of legislation requiring local licensing, public misunderstanding and misinformation on the role and contribution of private investigators and security services, and an uninformed media. It is the role of NCISS to meet and solve these problems while seeking to uncover and recommend action on any hidden potential problems which may have an effect on our profession.
Karen is the NCISS Executive Director, and and oversees the day-to-day operations of the association and members, working closing with the Executive Committee and Board to advocate for the investigative and security professions.
The current issue of NCISS's official journal - Your Advocate - is available online at www.nciss.org/your-advocate
Special news and alerts are at www.nciss.org/important-nciss-news
World Association of Detectives (www.WAD.net)
W.A.D. is a global alliance of investigators and security professionals with origins dating back to 1921 and formalized in 1925. W.A.D. is the longest established and largest association of its kind in the world.
Karen is the W.A.D. Administrative Manager, and Dean is the Governor of the Americas (North, Central and South America). Together we work to further the mission of W.A.D. and provide resources to clients needing assistance in these regions.
The current issue of WAD's official newsletter - Beyond Global - is available online at www.wad.net/newsletters-beyond-global
Additional memberships include FALI, TALI and CALI state associations, as well as specialty specific national associations (see right sidebar). If your association has news, please send it to us for inclusion in our newsletter.
Surveillance Technology: 1984 to Present
Ryan Johnston (Colorado Private Investigations) for Pursuit Magazine
Our immediate past president, Ryan Johnston, has shared a 2015 article he authored for Pursuit Magazine. For those of us who remember 1984, and the 'advanced' technology we had, this is fun. For those who do not - its still a good laugh to see what it was like.
"Colorado Private Investigations are the Rocky Mountain Surveillance specialists. A look back to "old" technology from our first days in 1984."
-- continued at www.pursuitmag.com/surveillance-technology-1984-to-present
Dean started our agency in 1987, so this is nostalgia. Home computers had just been introduced, and 'computer lab' in high school was a class in high demand, but few seats. Pagers were for doctors and drug dealers, and fax machines were uncommon and very costly.
What It's Really Like Being A Death Investigator
(no author - The Oddyssey Online)
This is a good article that only another death investigator could write so accurately. Today, although we are not working active scenes, we still carry a passion for the facts and answers to our clients - from attorneys and professional investigators, to families. It is the experience of over 30 years in legal investigations, which includes our time as deputy coroners / medicolegal death investigators, that drives our passion. Perhaps this article will share what we sometimes struggle to explain and why.
-- continued at www.theodysseyonline.com/death-investigator
Personal Property and Auto Claims
shared by Bob Wall ((Wall Investigations, CO)
How can you, or your client, obtain your personal property and auto claims (CLUE reports)?
The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACT Act) was enacted in 2003 and amends the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), a federal law that regulates, in part, who is permitted to access your consumer report information and how it can be used. The FACT Act entitles a consumer to obtain one free copy of his/her consumer file from certain consumer reporting agencies during each 12-month period.
-- continued at https://personalreports.lexisnexis.com/fact_act_disclosure.jsp
Force Concepts Training
The following program offered by founder of Force Concepts Training Council, and expert in Use of Force, Dennis Root, CCDI, CFI-FTER, is highly recommended!
Force Investigations is the most comprehensive course of its kind and a must for every investigator. The course was developed to provide two days of intensive training on force related topics. Force Investigations will provide you with the information you need to take your investigative skillset to the next level. Force events do not take place in a vacuum and go well beyond the general understanding of the average person. They are high stress and rapidly evolving situations that most people are not prepared for. Therefore, the elements that must be considered and investigated require a specially trained investigator. Someone who understands the variables that lead to these life-changing decisions and the evidence those decisions leave behind. Participants will be exposed to the essential elements that need to be considered and investigated following every use of force event. Real-life encounters involving force are examined to help the professional investigator differentiate between acts of self-defense and unlawful attack.
Topics to be covered include:
• Force Continuums
• Legal & Practical Considerations of Force
• Documenting the Force Event
• Fear & Its Impact on Force
• Time & Distance Considerations
• Real World Observational Capabilities of the Human Eye & Mind
• Physical Performance
• Weapon Considerations
• Crime Scene Assessment
January 21-22, 2019 at the Courtyard by Marriott in Stuart, FL
For details and registration:
(423) 207-4359 or Email: info@ForceConceptsTraining.com
Also, visit www.ForceConceptsTraining.com/Force-Investigations
Your next My007Spy purchase may help NCISS
Starting last month, My007Spy is offering a new discount code. Professional investigators will still save 10%. Now 5% of their purchase will be donated to NCISS by My007Spy!! We are strong supporters and believers in NCISS - National Council of Investigation & Security Services. If you use the below discount, for every order - it never expires - we will donate 5% to NCISS. Its a small amount, but adds up each month.
Don't forget - if you are not a member of NCISS, the reason you can use covert PI gear is because NCISS works daily to protect the interests of all PIs and security agencies nationwide. Visit www.nciss.org/join-nciss or contact us by email for more information.
Your NCISS Board has been hard at work over the last few months including over the holiday season. This upcoming year is going to be a tough year in Congress for our professions (investigators, security agencies, and process servers).
The new Congress, just sworn in on January 3rd, is already proving to be a significant challenge to investigators, security agencies, and process servers in 2019. Here is an update on the activity and outlook to date - https://conta.cc/2S1CyC8.
IMPORTANT - Federal Legislation Watch for 2019!
This means NCISS and YOU have to be prepared NOW and this will be the most important mission, and Hit the Hill event, in several years!
YOUR SUPPORT IS NEEDED NOW!! It is important to develop and have these relationships with our state and federal law makers and regulators.
NCISS and Lobbyit has prepared additional information published in the current NCISS members' magazine, Your Advocate - available as a courtesy at www.nciss.org/Your-Advocate-December-2018.
PS - be sure to check past issues of the Your Advocate digital magazine at www.nciss.org/Your-Advocate
To stay current, please visit www.nciss.org/Important-NCISS-News
Get your battle gear polished and ready to wear as 2019 promises to be a banner year in privacy legislation like we have not seen in more than a decade!
Following the European Union's position on data protection and privacy earlier this year, a number of elected officials across the country have taken note and see privacy and data protection as a viable issue to address. Representatives in Washington D.C. are no exception. The lobbying arm of NCISS, Lobbyit, has already noticed the NCISS Board to expect several bills to be introduced during the 116th Congress which will be launched this week on January 3. As you might imagine, with all of the dissention in Congress, privacy is a topic just primed for a bipartisan rally.
What can YOU do?
NCISS is holding its most important Hit the Hill event in recent years on Tuesday, April 30, 2019. Experienced lobbying members will be there to show you the ropes. For additional information, please go to www.nciss.org. Please make every effort to meet and develop a relationship with your representative both in the U.S. Capitol and in their office at home to create an opportunity to educate them regarding the important work private investigators do. Your livelihood may depend on it.
Together, we can make a difference!
NCISS Legislative Committee - Security & Investigations
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.
Specializes in the Expert Consultations and Legal Investigations of Personal Injuries, Negligence and Death in Civil, Criminal and Probate litigation.
We provide investigations and consultations of any death or serious bodily injury case nationwide with the conveniences of modern technology and assistance of our local professional friends and colleagues.
In addition, we continue to provide Due Diligence Investigations of Individual Locates, Backgrounds and Assets & Liabilities, and Heirs / Relatives for your Civil, Criminal, Probate and Domestic Relations litigation. Additional information at www.DeathCaseReview.com/general-services.html
Call us today, we're glad to help!
Experience the PRIDE of Associates in Forensic Investigations, LLC - Professional Reliable Investigators Defining Excellence in every assignment.
Dean A. Beers, CLI CCDI CFI-FTER* and Karen S. Beers, BSW CCDI CFI-FTER*
Associates in Forensic Investigations, LLC - Associates@DeathCaseReview.com
Colorado (970) 480-7793 - Dean x1 and Karen x2 - Voice / TXT
*Certified Criminal Defense Investigators ~ Certified Forensic Interviewers / Forensic Testimonial Evidence Recovery ~ Certified in Medicolegal Death Investigations
- Legal Investigations - Civil, Criminal & Probate - Pre-Litigation & Litigation
- Expert Consultations and Medicolegal Investigations of Death & SBI
- Individual Locates, Backgrounds, and Assets & Liabilities
- Estate Heirs, Relatives and Next-of-Kin
We specialize in helping other PIs and attorneys assisting families. Contact our agency any time – we’re there when you need us.
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In addition to Covert Cameras and Digital Forensics USB devices, My007Spy Online now offers GPS Tracking Devices and activation services. These are discounted only to certain association memberships, military or law enforcement status.!
Visit www.My007Spy.com/gps-tracker-devices.html or email info@My007Spy.com
* 3 month or 12 month service must be purchased separately.
* Laws vary by state - consult your state and local laws before purchasing. My007Spy makes no warranty of lawful purposes and is not liable for any violations or misuse, or consequential damages.
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