How to Become a Private Eye Miami Beach South Beach
A Private Detective is a specialized type of Detective. Also known as Private Eye.
A private eye is someone who delves into things, finds facts, and analyzes information about legal, financial, and personal matters. They offer many services, including verifying people's backgrounds, tracing missing persons, investigating computer crimes, and working with celebrities.
What does a Private Detective do?
Private eyes typically do the following:
- Interview people to gather information
- Do various types of searches, using computer or non-computerized records
- Conduct surveillance (looking for, following, or watching a person without that person noticing)
- Collect evidence to present in court
- Verify employment, income, and facts on a person's background
- Investigate computer crimes, such as identity theft and illegal downloads
- Help in cases of criminal and civil liability, missing-persons cases, and insurance claims and fraud
Private detectives typically work for individuals, attorneys, or businesses. Some have their own investigative agency. Private detectives offer many services, based on clients' needs. They may perform pre-employment background checks, look into accusations that someone has been stealing money from a company, or prove/disprove infidelity in a divorce case.
Private detectives use a variety of tools when researching the facts in a case. Much of their work is done with a computer, which allows them to quickly get information, such as records of a person’s prior arrests, telephone numbers, social-networking-site details, and emails. They make phone calls to verify facts, such as a person's income and place of employment. They also interview people when conducting a background investigation. Private Eyes may go undercover, pretending to be someone else to go unnoticed, to get information, or to observe a suspect.
Detectives also conduct surveillance when investigating a case. They may watch a site, such as a person's home or office, often from an inconspicuous location or a vehicle. Using photographic and video cameras, binoculars, and global positioning systems (GPS), detectives gather information on persons of interest.
Detectives and private eyes must be mindful of the law when conducting investigations, and have a good understanding of federal and local laws, such as the privacy laws. However, as the legality of certain methods may be unclear, private eyes and detectives must make use of good judgment when deciding how to pursue a case. They must collect evidence properly so that it can be used legally in court.
What is the workplace of a Private Detective like?
Private detectives work in a wide variety of environments, depending on the case they are working on. Some spend more time in their offices conducting computer searches and making phone calls. Others spend more time in the field, conducting interviews or doing surveillance. Surveillance can be time-consuming.
Private Eyes generally work alone, but they may work with others while conducting surveillance or following a subject. Some of the work involves confrontation, so the job can be stressful and dangerous. Some situations, such as certain bodyguard assignments for corporate or celebrity clients, call for the private eye to be armed. In most cases, however, a weapon is not necessary because the private detectives and private eye’s main purpose is information gathering, not law enforcement or criminal apprehension.
Owners of investigative agencies have the added stress of having to deal with demanding, and sometimes distraught, clients. Private detectives often work irregular hours because they need to conduct surveillance and to contact people outside of normal work hours. They may work early mornings, evenings, weekends, and holidays. In addition, they may have to work outdoors, or from a vehicle, in all kinds of weather.
If you would like to be a private eye, you may want to consider which department you would like to work for, first. Do you want to handle robberies, homicides, car thefts, or something else? But before then, you will most likely have to be a police officer. You will have to go through a probation period which may last anywhere from 6 to 24 months, depending on the Police Department. Exams might not be offered to you until you complete a certain number of years on the force.
In most cases, an educational requirement must be met in order to qualify for the private eye exam. This also varies by the Police Department, but usually, requires no more than a bachelor degree.
Once you have that covered, you apply for the private eye exam. Granted you pass the exam, you will be stationed in a precinct where your newly acquired skill may be needed the most. If you passed the exam with flying colors you may have the opportunity to pick your new precinct, but don’t count on it.
If you would like to become a private eye then you have to consider what type of Private Eye you would like to be:
Would you like to be a homicide private eye or one that handles, robberies and other crimes?
Would you like to be a forensic private eye? This definitely requires more schooling but is a very rewarding position which has many opportunities in local, state, and federal law enforcement.
Would you like to be an arson private eye? If so, your skills can be used in local law enforcement, as well as federal positions, like ATF, FBI, or US Forest Service (which has a law-enforcement branch).
Nobody ever wants to have to research private eye services and learn how to hire a private eye. But sometimes the twists and turns of life leave you no choice but to find a private eye who can unearth the answers you need.
Figuring out how to hire a private eye can be daunting to someone who has no experience in such matters. However, the task can be done. Whether you are looking for advice on how to find a missing person or something less drastic such as investigative work on a spouse, here are a few tips to keep in mind as you begin hunting for private investigation services:
- Do a web search seeking private eyes in your area who specialize in the type of investigations you need. This will quickly narrow down the possibilities and save you a lot of unnecessary “trial and error” phone calls.
- Once you have whittled the field of potential private investigation services down to a few, contact each firm and begin your own interrogation process. In many ways, the question “how to hire a private eye” should be approached the same way you’d hire ANYONE. Make sure to do a detailed background check on investigators. As with every other occupation, no two private investigators are created equal. Ask for references and ask questions about his or her experience. You don’t want to entrust your case to someone who can’t handle it.
- During the screening process, ask every private investigator you interview to show his license allowing him or her to serve as a P.I. The Internet has allowed a number of “private investigators” to pass themselves off as something they are most assuredly not. Having the ability to tap into online databases and find out generally available information and possessing the ability to conduct thorough, professional and secret investigations are two entirely different things. Someone who can do the latter will have his or her investigator’s license.
- Find out if the private eye is insured. Not all investigative work is dangerous and intensive, but almost without exception, every investigation requires a good deal of driving and traveling by the private investigator. But if he or she is involved in some kind of accident and doesn’t have insurance, guess who is liable for the damages? You. Simply put, don’t work with a private eye who doesn’t carry insurance.
- Once you have settled on a private investigator, confirm he or she will offer a contract spelling out to the letter what services he or she will provide and how much this will cost you. If someone’s not willing to sign a contract, look elsewhere immediately.
Again, being forced into a position in which you need to learn how to hire a private investigator is no fun, but there’s no reason why you can’t be well-prepared and well-informed for the undertaking and figure out how to hire a private investigator who will do the work necessary to answer the questions that have sent you to him or her in the first place.
There are many reasons people may consider hiring a Miami Beach or South Beach Private Eye in Florida. Whether you want to find an old friend or family member, you suspect your spouse or partner of cheating, you need a background check on a prospective tenant or employee, you are suing someone, being sued, or have been charged with a crime, or maybe you are involved in a divorce or child custody dispute. Whatever the reason, there are a few things you need to know, and some things that may be helpful to you when considering using the services of a Florida Private Eye.
How to become a Private Eye
Research the requirements in your area. Almost all US states and many countries require a certain level of education or experience to earn a Private Eye license. The information below will help you qualify in most cases, but it's best to check the law in the area where you plan to work.
Study applicable subjects in college (recommended). Many regions do not require a four-year degree, but it is still highly recommended for anyone without relevant work experience. Complete a two- or four-year degree in criminal law, criminal justice, or police science.
Evaluate your character traits. Your idea of Private Eye work is probably a lot more glamorous than the real thing. Most of your work will involve online research, surveillance, and prepare records for court presentations. This takes someone with particular skills and temperament.
Prepare for boredom. You may think of being a Private Eye as working in a smoky, dark office in a sketchy area of town while damsels in distress line up at your door. In reality, you'll be spending hours in your parked car in the middle of suburbia unable to make a run to Taco Bell even though you're starving because Joe Schmo could come out at any minute. You'll get bored.
Get stealthy. While it depends on the specific line of work you get into, odds are you'll get a case at least here and there where you have to be sneaky. Wherever you go, you need to blend in. Being loud and proud won't get you anywhere in your case
Take training courses (recommended). As valuable as a criminal justice degree can be, it may not cover the practical side of surveillance and database access. Experienced PIs say that hands-on training is the most important step for someone entering the field. Many courses are relatively cheap and only last a few days.
Apply to entry level positions. Existing detective agencies often have open entry-level positions, although this might not involve a steady paycheck. The agency should provide on-the-job training until you gain enough experience to become a proper Private Eye. This typically takes a few years.
Get your license. If a license is required in your area, take the exam as soon as you qualify. Your license will permit you to work as a Private Eye, with the right to access certain databases and perform surveillance. You may continue to work for a private agency, or apply to Private Eye jobs at corporations, government agencies, and law firms.
What do I need to know before hiring a Florida Private Eye?
Hiring a private eye for the first time can seem like a daunting experience, but following the simple guidelines below will not only make the process easier, but you will most probably end up with a more competent, professional and experienced investigator who is much more likely to understand your needs and ultimately achieve the results you need.
- Always make sure the investigation agency is fully licensed and ask for their license number.
- Always verify their license number
- Ask what experience they have (especially in the type of investigation you are considering hiring them for)
- Are they members of any professional organizations? (Such as state Private Eye Associations, etc.)
- Always make sure you have a written contract.
- All private eyes agencies and their investigators must be licensed in Florida, without exception. Prior to being granted a license, prospective Florida private investigators must pass stringent background screening by the Florida Division of Licensing, including demonstrating years of verifiable investigative experience, undergoing state (FDLE) and federal (FBI) criminal records checks and passing a stringent, written examination.
Things to remember about hiring a Florida Private Eye
Although private eyes generally charge for their time (by the hour,) a good private eye will usually offer 10 or 15 minutes of their time to discuss your case, their services, fees, and what they may be able to do for you, at no charge.
Florida private eyes are bound by very strict confidentiality. With few exceptions, once you retain a private eye in Florida, they are prohibited by law from divulging ANY INFORMATION relating to your case to ANYONE, other than their client (you) or their employer. This includes divulging information to law enforcement, the subject of the investigation, or their lawyers.
The Florida Association of Private Investigators, Inc. is a professional organization created to provide a voice for licensed private investigators and related professionals within the State of Florida and throughout the United States. FAPI was originally formed in 1963 and is the oldest Private Investigator's Association in Florida. FAPI offers its members extensive networking opportunities with other experienced investigators nationwide, and a place to share referrals, questions, sources of information and more in a friendly, non-competitive, yet professional atmosphere through our members-only discussion group and forums.
The mission of the Florida Association of Private Investigators, Inc. is to represent integrity, responsibility, and equality for the private investigative profession throughout the State of Florida and nationwide.
The Wasser Agency, located in Miami Beach, South Beach Florida we offer professional advice to people interested in initiating a career as a private eye.