What Does It Take to be a Private Investigator?

What Are The Skills, Knowledge, Experience Needed To Be A Private Investigator?

One thing you get used to as a private investigator is fielding questions about your job. The most common question: “What do you do?” The next question is usually some variation of: “What does it take to be a private investigator?”

The first question is almost impossible to answer: no two private detectives perform the same general day-to-day tasks. Taking private investigators in Tucson or Phoenix as an example, there are many private investigators that we work with that are essentially one-man operations that may focus on surveillance or another specific task, while other private investigators operate out of large investigative agencies and work for attorneys on complex legal cases

Answering the second question is far simpler. Being a private investigator primarily requires an open mind.

Every private detective approaches investigation differently, but one thing they share is that they do not foreclose on potential avenues of investigation. A good P.I. wants to hear all sides of the story and wants to acquire as much information as possible. It is important to approach a case without pre-conceived notions of right/wrong, guilt/innocence, etc. Doing so would surely mean opportunities to uncover facts could be missed.

Frequently, when a private investigator takes a criminal defense case, they are presented with a police report that gives insight into the investigation performed by the police. After reviewing a police report it often becomes clear that not all theories or investigative leads were followed before a suspect was arrested. A good P.I. can take such a report and identify flaws in the investigation or other potential subjects that were never pursued, which in turn casts doubt upon a prosecutor’s case.

You can see how if a P.I. adopted a simplistic vision of guilty/innocent, an investigation would be incomplete. If, for instance, a P.I. looked at a police report and immediately agreed with the police’s assessment of the situation , they would not be performing an essential function of their job.

Therefore, if you’re wondering what it takes to be a P.I. know that there is not a single specific skill you must have. You simply need an open mind.