A recent blog article questioned whether law enforcement experience has any bearing on investigations and solving serious crimes. In my response, there is no contest on the superior option of hiring a former law enforcement, state, federal officer, or military-decorated private investigator over a private investigator with no real-world law enforcement experience outside of a computer screen.
Some less qualified will claim expertise in investigative techniques despite never having undergone law enforcement training, attending a state police academy, or even conducting a criminal investigation. Sometimes these investigators will mimic other private investigators’ experience or use the experience of their family member who was in law enforcement.
These individuals are good at writing blog posts, but their lack of real-world law enforcement experience may leave them ill-equipped to handle the challenges of private investigation work. They always will refute that experience matters and shrug off those who have experience in the real world of investigations.
It’s common for new clients to give me a call who previously hired an inexperienced private investigator, which left them disappointed and frustrated with the lack of services they provided. And those private investigators who failed these clients typically have no prior certified law enforcement and/or military experience.
These cases always involve investigations involving murder, death investigations, and criminal defense, sensitive cases that would require a high level of expertise and investigative skill. These are skills only learned through physical hands-on experience in the military or by police officers. That can be a beat cop responding to daily calls for service or a homicide detective who investigates severe crimes against persons, federal law enforcement, and military personnel with prior experience serving overseas.
It’s important to have a qualified investigator on the case. While not all private investigators with prior law enforcement experience are guaranteed to be successful, the training and experience gained through such a career path can provide significant advantages in conducting these types of investigations.
As a result, it’s important for clients to carefully consider the qualifications and experience of a potential investigator before hiring them for a case to ensure the best possible outcome. A lack of experience in conducting investigations or familiarity with the legal system can lead to missed opportunities, ineffective strategies, and, ultimately, a failed investigation.
- Professional Training
Law enforcement agencies provide extensive training to their officers, covering a wide range of skills and techniques necessary for their job. This training often includes investigative techniques, evidence collection, crime scene processing, witness interviews, and report writing, among others. All of these skills are also essential for private investigators, who often work in similar areas, such as criminal and civil investigations, surveillance, and background checks. Having already undergone this training, a former law enforcement officer can enter the private investigation field with a strong foundation of knowledge and experience.
Working in law enforcement allows for numerous networking opportunities, both with other officers and professionals in related fields. Former law enforcement officers often have access to a network of contacts, including prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges, and other law enforcement personnel. These contacts can be invaluable in conducting investigations, as they can provide valuable information, contacts, and resources.
- Experience with Legal System
Law enforcement officers often work closely with the legal system and have a thorough understanding of the laws and regulations surrounding investigations. They are well-versed in the procedures and protocols for gathering evidence and presenting it in court. This experience can be especially beneficial for private investigators, who may be called upon to provide evidence in legal proceedings. The knowledge of how the legal system works and what is required for evidence to be admissible can be a major advantage for a private investigator.
- Physical and Mental Preparedness
Law enforcement work requires physical and mental preparedness, which is another benefit for former officers entering the private investigation field. This type of work can be physically demanding, requiring long hours of surveillance or tracking, and sometimes difficult terrain or environments. Law enforcement officers are typically well-trained in physical fitness and are accustomed to handling these demands. Additionally, working in law enforcement can be mentally taxing, with the need to make quick decisions and assess situations under pressure. This experience can translate well to the private investigation field, where a strong mindset and resilience are necessary for success.
- Knowledge of Criminal Behavior
Finally, working in law enforcement provides extensive exposure to criminal behavior and activities. This knowledge can be extremely beneficial for private investigators, as it provides insight into the methods and tactics used by criminals. This knowledge can aid in conducting investigations, anticipating and identifying potential criminal activity, and developing effective strategies to uncover and prevent crime.
In conclusion, having a career in law enforcement prior to becoming a private investigator provides a significant advantage for those entering the field. It includes professional training, networking opportunities, experience with the legal system, physical and mental preparedness, and knowledge of criminal behavior. It’s important for those seeking the services of a private investigator to consider the individual’s qualifications and experience when making their choice, to ensure the best possible outcome for their case.