• Brad Keating

Understanding The Responsibilities Of A Private Investigator

Updated: Nov 2

You might have heard of the term private investigator before but you might not have a deep understanding of what this profession is about. The common belief is that they are sleuths out to uncover dirt on people for their clients. However, that’s a misconception fueled by what we see from pop culture.


In the simplest term, a private detective is a person who searches about legal, financial, and personal matters for their client. They are more than just sleuths as the line of work is both sensitive and often a topic of debate. If you want to hire a private investigator for your needs, then you must first understand what they are about.


The scope of a PI's work

The Scope Of A P.I.’s Work


A private investigator actually has many tasks at hand. In most cases, private investigators are hired to help build a strong case for a legal battle. It can be other things too and some of those jobs include intervening in the personal life of matter. It’s this part of the job that makes it a sensitive matter.


Another misconception with the work of a private investigator is that most of the time, they are out on the field silently following others. However, most of them actually spend time in the office doing research work through the computer or on other devices.


Of course, fieldwork does happen and this is where surveillance comes into place. They usually keep a close watch on persons of interest to see their activities on the day. This is also what’s considered intelligence gathering. Aside from physical evidence like videos and photos, an investigator will also conduct interviews with people.


Another job of a private investigator is to do a background check on persons of interest. This usually involves securing criminal, employment, and educational records from the right institutions. It also involves interviewing people who are close to the person of interest.


As investigators dive headfirst into critical details when it comes to legal cases, they are also often called to the courtroom to provide testimony regarding their findings. Some would say that investigators are part of the legal system but there are others who would beg to disagree.


Last but not least some investigators are also tasked with providing security services to their clients. This is a common part of the job of an investigator which is why in most cases, they are trained in the use of firearms and in self-defense.


Another misunderstanding people have with investigators is that they are above the law and can do whatever they want. For professional and licensed P.I.s, this isn’t the case. They aren’t above the law. Hence, they should follow it just like anyone else.


Hiring a private investigator

This makes the job trickier than usual. Private detectives have to conduct their job in a way that doesn’t make the person of interest feel he’s at risk or that his privacy is being invaded. For this reason, P.I.s undergo rigorous training to ensure that they are capable of such.


Hiring A Private Investigator


The first thing you don’t want to do is hire a private investigator that isn’t licensed or registered in any way. This is something that can get you in trouble as well so you should only look for professionals that are actually trained and ready for the job at hand.


Most states will require a private investigator to be licensed. This specific license is provided by ASIS International. They should also have the permit to carry a firearm just in case they need it on the job. You can ask for these things from the investigator you are talking with as proof.


As for the experience, you can ask the professional about a few things. For one, investigators should have past experience related to their job. These include being a police officer or a detective. While not a requirement for finding a good private investigator, this is a good trait to have as it’s proof that a person knows his way with the law. Never trust a private investigator that fails to show you licenses and documents that prove his credibility. You’re putting yourself and others in trouble by doing so.


There’s always an air of mystery behind a private investigator. It’s good to understand what they are responsible for just so you know what to expect should the day arrive that you need one. This line of work is not as scary or intimidating as many would believe. It’s an honorable profession manned by honorable people.