Private Detective, PI, or Private Eye?

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What is a Private Investigator, Private Detective, PI, or Private Eye?

The following is from Wikipedia:

A private investigator or private detective (often shortened to PI or private eye) is a person who can be hired by individuals or groups to undertake investigations. Private investigators often work for attorneys in civil cases. Many work for insurance companies to investigate suspicious claims. Before the advent of no-fault divorce, many private investigators were hired to search out evidence of adultery or other illegal conduct within marriage to establish grounds for a divorce. Despite the lack of legal necessity for such evidence in many jurisdictions, according to press reports collecting evidence of adultery or other “bad behavior” by spouses and partners is still one of the most profitable activities investigators undertake, as the stakes being fought over now are child custody, alimony, or marital property disputes.

Many jurisdictions require PIs to be licensed, and they may or may not carry firearms depending on local laws. Some are ex-police officers, some are former federal agents, some are ex-spies and some are ex-military, although many are not. Most of them do not arrest criminals or put them in custody. They are expected to keep detailed notes and to be prepared to testify in court regarding any of their observations on behalf of their clients. Great care is required to remain within the scope of the law; otherwise the investigator may face criminal charges. Irregular hours may also be required when performing surveillance work.

PIs also engage in a large variety of work that is not usually associated with the industry in the mind of the public. For example, many PIs are involved in process serving, the personal delivery of summons, subpoenas and other legal documents to parties in a legal case. The tracing of absconding debtors can also form a large part of a PI’s work load. Many agencies specialize in a particular field of expertise. For example, some PI agencies deal only in tracing. Others may specialize in technical surveillance countermeasures (TSCM), or Electronic Counter Measures (ECM), which is the locating and dealing with unwanted forms of electronic surveillance (for example, a bugged boardroom for industrial espionage purposes). Other PIs, also known as Corporate Investigators, specialize in corporate matters, including anti-fraud work, the protection of intellectual property and trade secrets, anti-piracy, copyright infringement investigations, due diligence investigations and computer forensics work.

Increasingly, modern PIs prefer to be known as “professional investigators” or Licensed Private Investigators (LPI’s) rather than “private investigators” or “private detectives”. This is a response to the image that is sometimes attributed to the profession and an effort to establish and demonstrate the industry to be a proper and respectable profession.

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Looking At The World Through The Eyes of a PI

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Private investigators look at everything differently than most of the rest of the world. It is very common for us to see the odd thing out instead of noticing the focal point of a situation. It is our job to notice the things that others don’t, and that is how we do our job.

It is not uncommon that after a case, we are asked how we got from point A to B, and for a PI, the path may seem very clear. Making outlandish jumps and making logical steps are two very different processes, and for a good private investigator, every step should be a logical one. Unlike the movies, crazy hunches based on little to no actual information don’t work out near as often as portrayed.

Hiring a PI can be a difficult decision to make. However, private investigators are trained to see things that everyone else tends to overlook. Making the decision to hire a PI is having someone else look over a situation that will have an unbiased point of view. Sometimes all a situation needs is a fresh pair of eyes to discover the truth.

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