Surveillance investigators perform in many different organizations. Specific responsibilities and duties may differ, but there are many core tasks related to this job, which include: conducting case research, interviewing witnesses, collecting evidence, and writing reports and opinions. When assigned a case, surveillance investigators usually consult the client on the details of the case and then conduct case-related research. They may also interview potential witnesses, collect evidence and/or provide legal advice to the attorney representing the client.
Surveillance investigators frequently perform other tasks as well. If an investigator is performing investigative services for a law firm or other similar entity, they often take on other tasks such as researching the background of a potential case subject. They also may work in conjunction with lawyers, reviewing documents and records, and assisting in deposition preparation. The goal of all of the above is to obtain and present all information to the judge or jury who will determine the outcome of a case.
Many private investigation agencies rely heavily on surveillance investigators. Their main function is to gather intelligence and evidence that will help in the ongoing process of a criminal justice case. Surveillance agents often visit the home or place of a potential target. They conduct personal interviews, conduct background checks, and gather financial and banking information.
When criminal justice professionals need information related to a case, they often rely on video recordings. Surveillance investigators carefully document any suspicious behaviors, behavior, or appearance of a possible target. Surveillance agents use hidden cameras and digital video recorders to record people’s interactions, and the resulting evidence is collected and stored in a secure and separately maintained database. If a surveillance investigator witness reveals evidence of a suspect of committing a crime, he/she may submit written reports to the police department. The police department will review the report and make their decision. If they decide the evidence is sufficient to file charges against a suspect, they will make the arrest and serve the arrest papers.
Another type of specialized investigator is the covert (or psychological) investigator. These investigators are skilled at psychological tactics such as influencing the target to cooperate with them and provide information. The investigator is able to persuade a target to reveal information or secrets even if doing so would be illegal or immoral. By using deception, the investigator is able to convince the target to agree to the unlawful act.
There are many types of surveillance investigators. Each type of investigator has his/her own specialty: corporate, private, and criminal investigative. Corporate investigators are usually employed by large corporations to conduct internal investigations; however, they can be used for investigative reports on companies that may employ them.
For private investigators, the most common specialized investigation is white collar crime. White collar crimes are less punishable than white collar crimes such as murder, but still require the same investigative techniques and skills. Examples include investigating corporate fraud. In white collar crime, covert video surveillance investigators utilize special surveillance equipment to record statements or other activity, and then review the evidence for possible infidelity.
When hiring a surveillance investigator, it is important to know what his/her qualifications are. Many states do not require licensing or certification, although some do. It is also important to understand how extensive an investigation will be. Sometimes investigators are hired to conduct background checks, phone interviews, surveillance, and interviews. Background checks and phone interviews may require specialized equipment such as hidden cameras, video equipment, GPS trackers, and secret listening devices.
To become a surveillance investigator, one must have a high school diploma or an equivalent. Some states do not require certification, although licensure is available in some areas. Other states, such as California, require training and experience in several different investigation fields. Most private investigators begin their investigations by participating in an internship program at a university.
Private investigators can choose to specialize in one or several areas of investigation. Specialization is a good choice for surveillance investigators, as this allows them to focus their efforts on a specific area of concern. Specializations can include computer forensics, human resource investigations, financial crimes, corporate frauds, skip tracing, and the criminal justice system. A special interest helps give the investigator a specialized, detailed perspective on the case, making investigations more thorough and successful.
Private investigators may use a variety of tools to gather evidence during investigations. They often use surveillance equipment to video or sound in a suspect’s home or place of business, or to plant hidden cameras or listening devices. They may also utilise GPS tracking to track the movements of their subjects. The surveillance investigator may also make physical searches of a suspect’s belongings to determine whether they are hiding evidence or not.