It is very possible that I will catch some flack concerning my thoughts on this topic, especially from my fellow investigative brothers and sisters out in the trenches, but here goes. “I call it, investigations for dummies”. There I said it. Workman’s Comp Investigations are extremely simple, at least for me. You either are capable of setting up correctly on the “Subject” or you are not. If you ever hear an investigator start talking about his latest gadgets and or his 007 undercover techniques, run fast the other direction. “Again, I can see my inbox filling up with some choice emails”. These guys are all fluff. No gadget, and or high power super aerodynamic photo camera is ever going to replace simple and direct investigative, old school surveillance. For sake of brevity I will offer just a few points.
First, have a well-functioning, no descript vehicle. Meaning to say that your neon blue BMW will probably stand out a bit. Believe me when I tell you that in all my years as an investigator, I’ve had at least a handful of guys show up with flashy cars. I prefer a minivan with legal tint in the back.
Second, make sure your equipment, i.e. camera is fully charged and more importantly with you. Seriously, it happens.
Third, know where to sit. This one is the killer for most rookies, and when I say rookie I mean anyone with three or less years in the field. I would go as far as to say that most investigators feel super uncomfortable unless they have a direct view of the “Subject”. Always know your surroundings and if possible, go for the direct view but not at the expense of getting made within an hour. I could expand on this particular topic more than any other. I’ll save that for a later time and date.
Fourth, don’t be afraid to follow. The biggest tough guys and girls are prone to fall under this spell every so often. Don’t think they (Subject) knows right off the bat that they are being followed. Push the thought completely out of your mind, have some confidence in your skills, and don’t be afraid to lose them. You can always find them later.
Fifth and last point for this particular blog. Always and I mean always do your best to follow the legal rules of the road. Simply stated, “It’s never worth it”. Be it a ticket or worse and accident of any type, it does not pay to break the law.
So while I started out by mentioning, Workman’s Comp Investigations, these simple rules apply to any investigation being marital or child custody. Experience, experience, experience, this is what makes an investigator a real pro. Not your latest hand held camera or your super snazzy hidden pin-hole. Learn the basics, master the basics and you’ll be in our business for a long time to come.