In 2017, calls for investigative support continue to originate from within and outside the legal profession. The types of inquiries that our agency receives often involve deeply personal and/or family situations that can be demoralizing and in some cases, devastating to our clients. In many cases, the deception, fraud or harm that’s been perpetrated and subsequently discovered has been occurring for years and as a result, personal trust has diminished or has been lost in its entirety.
As professional licensed investigators, we are often the last option for a client seeking help for a particular problem. By the time our agency has been contacted, a prospective client has already spoken and/or met with a law firm, a law enforcement agency, a government/regulatory office, a professional counselor and/or a respected member of the clergy. The area of investigative expertise required for the purposes of establishing factual clarity and thus advancing a client matter closer to criminal prosecution, civil litigation and/or resolution is; therefore, very unique.
Electronic data research, modern day investigative/interview techniques and traditional surveillance strategies remain an important and effective component of most assignments for investigation. Fortunately, licensed private investigators are required to operate in a legal, ethical and morally responsible manner. The following points should clearly explain the legal and ethical standards under which professionally licensed private investigators in the U.S. are expected to operate:
1. Professionally licensed Investigators are required to be licensed through their appropriate state agency and carry professional liability insurance for investigators registered under their agency license.
2. Professionally licensed Investigators are often members of their professional trade organization on the state, national, and international level. These organizations provide continuing education for Investigators to ensure compliance with new and applicable laws.
3. Professionally licensed Investigators are expected to adhere to a Code of Ethics established by their respective state associations.
4. Professionally licensed Investigators must respect consumer privacy and are legally prohibited from accessing consumer credit reports without a signed release and/or consent from the individual whom the credit report is being requested.
5. Professionally licensed Investigators must complete assignments in a timely manner and when necessary, provide frequent updates to clients. Strict levels of confidentiality are maintained, and thus case information may not be revealed to any third party unless required to do so under court order or Subpoena.
6. Professionally licensed Investigators are required to be clear, upfront, and honest in reporting to clients and to tell the truth while under oath.
7. Professionally licensed Investigators are required to verify each and every piece of data, information, and/or evidence, prior to submitting to clients as being factual.
8. Professionally licensed Investigators may not harass, threaten, and/or intimidate subjects of investigation, adverse parties, witnesses, etc.
9. Professionally licensed Investigators are prohibited from impersonating law enforcement officers or government agents while in the course of their work.
10. Professionally license Investigators are prohibited from using illegal wiretaps, unlawful surveillance methodologies, or other types of unlawful audio or video recording equipment while in the course of any investigation.