Private Investigator Near Me
Taking what you might know from the movies off the table, what do you actually know about a private investigator? Living in Los Angeles, you are likely use to the glitz and the glamour that is associated with being in the vicinity of Hollywood. It can make the line between real-life and fictitious roles blur, especially when some careers have obvious discrepancies.
A real-life private investigator is a trained and licensed civilian who is hired by an individual or organization to help with civil and criminal matters. Services are often more specialized and might include things like surveillance, background checks, and more. Not quite the Sherlock Holmes picture you had in mind? Well, my dear Watson, the private investigation industry can be a fulfilling career even without the bells and whistles like on the big screen.
What Does a Private Investigator Do?
Private investigators have their own set of industry requirements. Most private investigators possess unique qualities that make them good at their job. Things like great observation skills and a keen eye can be the difference between catching a detail that breaks a case or the entire thing falling through.
A private investigator might find themselves doing the following as a part of their specialty:
- Handling different types of surveillance activities for a variety of clientele
- Going undercover
- Doing intense research on a subject
- Documenting and reporting findings in a case
- Conducting interviews
The Types of Investigations Conducted in the US
Private investigators across the country offer services that range in specialty from background checks to computer forensics. From Alaska to Hawaii and the East Coast to the West Coast, a lot of the requests look the same from clients seeking the expertise of a private investigator. Even in Los Angeles and the areas surrounding the popular types of investigations remain the same.
Many people seek the help of private investigators to locate loved ones who have gone missing. A delicate subject, and often approached gently, these cases may or may not end the way the client wants them to. In missing persons’ cases, most law enforcement has to assign a timeline to them. Once the timeline expires, they can no longer allocate resources to what they consider to be a dead end. Families will then turn to a private investigator to pick up where the case was left.
Surveillance services are like the “multi-tool” of private investigation. Surveillance is the foundation in a lot of the specialties within the industry – infidelity, missing persons, child custody, etc. Technology has made conducting surveillance tasks a lot easier and with a minimal chance of being caught in the act. A good private investigator is discreet, to begin with, and won’t be detected even if they don’t use fancy technology.
Child Custody and Family Cases
Family court is difficult for everyone involved. At the end of the day, the best interest of the child is what matters in these cases. Likely, the state, CPS, or the party trying to gain custody will hire a private investigator. The goal is to provide the court with enough evidence to determine who is most fit for custody when an agreement can’t be made.
Background Check Services
The single most popular job requested from private investigators. Background checks are used in multiple industries, and even in some people’s love lives. Employers want to know who they are hiring, or they may even use it to narrow down and verify what an applicant has told them. The point of the background check is to verify that information provided is correct and that something isn’t lingering in someone’s past that may make them a questionable hire.
Specialties in the Private Investigation Industry
You could compare a specialty in the private investigation industry to a major and minor when going to college for a degree. The only difference is that the specialties in the private investigation industry can be one or multiple. There really isn’t a limit to the possibilities.
Some of the specialties that you might see (as recognized by the United States Association of Professional Investigators) are:
- Civil Investiagations
- Criminology and Behavioral Sciences
- Criminal Investigations
- Terrorism and Intelligence
- Investigative Business Administration
- Special Victim
- Insurance Investigations
- Investigative Law and Ethics
- Computer and Internet Forensics
You may even see some private investigators offering fugitive recovery services. This specialty is interesting because it is primarily for bail bondsmen and bounty hunters who are searching for those who have jumped bail. They offer their services for a portion of the bounty, locating the fugitive and allowing someone else to bring them in.
What Are The Requirements for Becoming a Private Investigator?
Most of the career private investigators have backgrounds in law enforcement, military, or other form of public service. Working as a private investigator requires licensing in most states. The only states that require no licensing for private investigators are Idaho, Mississippi, and South Dakota. Alaska and Wyoming do not require state-level licensing, but it is required on a locality-level.
All the other states require some level of licensing to be a private investigator. Some of the general requirements that may be seen for licensing include:
- Be at least the minimum required age (ranges from 18-25)
- Obtain a high school diploma or GED
- Be a citizen of the United States or a legal resident
- Industry experience or related college experience
- Submit to background checks that verify clean record free of felonies or convictions that involve crimes of moral turpitude
California’s Licensing Requirements
The state of California has a unique set of licensing requirements. The background checks must be completed with the California Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Applicants are required to pay for all the fees associated with the background checks and fingerprinting. As a state, the requirements for experience are extensive based on the type of education or previous work you have done. Once these requirements are fulfilled, you still have to pass the two-hour multiple-choice exam. The exam covers areas like laws, regulations, terminology, evidence handling, and more. It is safe to bet that if you live in California and you search licensed private investigator “near me,” you will find a highly educated selection to choose from.
What Happens if a Case Involves Another State?
Reciprocity is how some states have simplified the process of handling private investigation work across state lines. Not all states offer the same convenience, meaning that a private investigator would require licensing in that state to conduct business.
To explain how reciprocity works, a private investigator is working on a missing persons case in California. All of the evidence that the investigator has uncovered makes them believe that they may now be in Florida. Since Florida is a state that has a reciprocity agreement, the private investigator can follow that lead and continue their business in Florida for that case.
Same case, but the trail leads the investigator to Nevada. There is no reciprocity agreement in Nevada, so in order to continue the investigation, the investigator would have to have a Nevada license.
The states with reciprocity include:
The Benefits of Searching for A “Private Investigator Near Me”
Choosing to find a private investigator near you makes it easier to meet with one another. Part of working with a private investigator is cultivating enough of a relationship that they have a better idea of your case. There is only so much that can be discussed or uncovered over the phone. Much like a private investigator needs to get in the field to get answers, you need to get out there to meet and see if they can offer you what you need in terms of your case.
You need to be able to trust your private investigator, and they need to be able to trust you. Too many times, people will seek the help of private investigators and not be able to meet with them because they are too far away. A little known fact about a private investigator, they are great at reading body language. If you aren’t telling them the entire truth, they are going to pick up on that in person. Without honesty, they may not be able to find anything out on your case because you are keeping vital information from them.
Part of having a private investigator handle a case for you is being able to see the evidence you need. Most private investigators will put together files, digital and hard copy for their clients. If you seek surveillance work and call a private investigator in Northern California but are located in Southern California, it isn’t conducive to the working relationship to employ their services.
Even more important than the location of the private investigator and their agency is the type of work they do. Most private investigators are upfront on their websites and ads about the work they do. It isn’t worth either party’s time if you seek something they don’t offer.
Kay & Associates – Private Investigators Near Me in LA
For a wide variety of private investigation services available near you in Los Angeles, Kay & Associates has licensing and expertise in handling private investigations since 1992. Are you looking for any help in the following PI areas:
- Asset Location
- Financial Fraud
- Accident Investigation
- Criminal and Post-Conviction Defense
- Small Business and Corporate
- Background Searches
- Child support and custody
- Digital Forensics
- Asset Protection
- Missing persons
Offering honesty, professionalism, and discreet services, Kay & Associates brings the best services for anyone looking for private investigators “near me” in the greater Los Angeles and Orange County areas. Start your journey with Kay & Associates by calling for your free 15-minute case consultation, or you can email us for more information. Affordable services and experts who want to take your case.