There are many situations that require the use of a skilled, licensed private investigator.
Some of the situations in which a detective can be of assistance is surveillance and security. While these are things many citizens would commonly take into their own hands, it may not be advisable to do so while attempting to prove the guilt of the third party whom one is watching or protecting themselves from.
This type of work is best done by ex-law enforcement, who has the ability to remain undetected while conducting these activities. Be careful who you select, as some of the PI’s in Arizona are not ex-law enforcement, or have no experience in actual detective work. Selecting someone with a varied background should give you the best bang for your buck, and provide you with someone who is cognizant enough of Arizona law not to violate it while acting on your behalf, and technically capable enough to perform electronic surveillance and advanced investigative techniques.
There is also a licensing organization for Arizona Private Investigators, called the AALPI. You can contact them at 602-225-7400, to inquire about a particular detective, see if there are any open complaints lodged against this individual, find out when the license was issued, etc…
The AALPI is a organization for investigators, but they do not do the actual licensing. The licensing itself is governed by the AZDPS. There are very strict definitions and standards for individuals acting in this capacity, unfortunately, they are rarely enforced. Never assume an individual is licensed and authorized to conduct investigative activities by the state of Arizona.
To learn more about the Arizona statutes governing private detectives, see Arizona Revised Statutes 32-2401 – 32-2413, which can be found on the AZ legislature website. It is a bit overwhelming, but the point to take away is that actual PI’s have a responsibility to their clients, and must act in good faith, be truthful, not have or commit crimes, etc. Please check them out to be sure you understand the investigators powers and limitations.
Here are some red flags to watch out for:
- Any private investigator that seems too cheap, probably is. If you are being quoted rates of 20 an hour, run in the other direction. There is a lot of expense and training that goes into doing a proper job, and low ball bidders will only get you in trouble.
- Remember that the investigator is acting on your behalf, so any wrongdoing on his part could open you up to civil and criminal liability.