Private Investigations and Personal Security/Your Profession

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Question
I am thinking about a career in private investigation and i was wondering if you could answer a few questions about your job. i.e. previous schooling, working conditions etc.
1.  Why did you decide to become a private investigator?
2.  What courses did you take in high school that you find are useful to your career?
3.  What steps did you take after high school to further pursue this career?
4.  What are the main duties of a private investigator?
5.  How difficult is it to find a job in this field?
6.  What kind of working conditions does your job entail? (hours, location of work etc.)
7.  What is your favourite part of your job?
8.  What do you think the future has in store for private investigator?
9.  Are you self-employed or do you work for a protection agency?
10. What academic advice would you give to someone thinking about a career as a PI?
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR TIME!

Answer
The information at http://www.pihome.com/piinformation/newpi.asp
will answer some of your questions.  I keep adding to it as new questions come up.  I will comment on some of yours and add the appropriate ones to our new pi page.

Q. Why did you decide to become a private investigator?

A. Serendipity lead me to it.  I needed to do something to earn a living and I had learne3d investigative skills as an insurance adjuster and sales skills working in direct sales.

Q. What courses did you take in high school that you find are useful to your career?

A. All of them.  Those that help me learn to think were the best.  I studied some of everything.  A PI needs to be a Jack of all trades, even if not a master at any.

Q. What are the main duties of a private investigator?

A. To get whatever information the client needs a long as it can be done legally and without hurting other people. To think "outside the box." To solve problems others can't or aren't willing to solve.  Research in records, interview people, observe and document things and activities, take video and photographs, write reports, sell ones self and services to others, etc.  Investigative work is non-linear.  A PI must be able to make decisions while acting.

Q. How difficult is it to find a job in this field?

A. About like anything else.  You just have to decide what you want to do.  Determine what is required, and do it.  It takes more preparation and education than getting a hamburger selling job at a fast food restaurant but less than is required to get a job as an accountant, attorney or brain surgeon.

Q. What kind of working conditions does your job entail? (hours, location of work etc.)

A. Especially at first, long hours are required to earn a decent living.  If you want something easy with regular hours, you would need to get a unionized or government job.  Being a private investigator is not for someone wanting regular hours. You can't start surveillance at 8:30 a.m. when you don't know what time the subject leaves the house.  You have to be there and set up while all normal people are still asleep.

Q. What is your favorite part of your job?

A. When I was doing investigation and now, my favorite thing is getting paid combined with the feeling I accomplished something. I enjoyed the unusual work the most.  Flying around the interior of Alaska to depositions, finding a fishing boat skipper who didn't speak English in Mexico and getting a statement, etc.  Those are the exceptions.  The day to day is just work, similar to clerical or secretarial or the work of a salesperson.

Q. What do you think the future has in store for private investigator?

A. Like most everything else, it will keep changing.  It will be competitive for those in the business but for those who are willing to work hard and be honest and reasonable in dealing with others, it will provide a decent income.  It is not a place to get rich quick.

Q. Are you self-employed or do you work for a protection agency?

A. Explore ION's web site for this answer.

Q. What academic advice would you give to someone thinking about a career as a PI?

A. Learn to enjoy learning.  Learn the basics in every discipline possible.  For happiness in life, learning is even better than earning. Money is fickle.  Knowledge and good judgment, along with adequate resources are the ingredients of success and wealth.

Learn the basics of the law to go along with your good skills in reading, writing math and especially communications.  Acting skills can come in handy also.  I personally, am a philosopher by inclination, an economist by education and many other things (carpenter, welder, gardener, logger, commercial pilot, translator, writer, etc) by choice combined with accident and serendipity

Good luck to you.

Leroy Cook

www.pihome.com

Private Investigations and Personal Security

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Leroy Cook

Expertise

I will answer questons about using PIs and about the business of being a private investigator more specifically than questions about the way to investigate. Investigative field work has too many variables for general answers.

Experience

Employment history: Nine years as an insurance adjuster and manager Three years in direct sales and sales training. (World Book) Fourteen years operating my own very ssuccessful PI agency while teaching flying, mostly for fun, in small planes in the Alaska Bush. The past thirteen years operating the only company in the world that "Investigates Investigators." Seriously. We keep track of 36,000 agencies and provide a referral service. 25,000 cases since 1990.

Organizations: World Associaton of Detectives Council of International Investigators National Association of Legal Invetigators American Society of Security Services

Publications: P I Magazine. A regualr columnist for over four years Security Management IASIU Magazine The john Cook Fraud Report

Education: B of A in Economics, U of Washington 1964

Awards: Certified protection Professional Named one of top 25 private investigators of the century by NAIS

Clients: We don`t name clients but there are over 3,000 of them including people from ever

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