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Foundation of Life and Business: Private Investigator Ethics

We all hear things from older people in our lives that stick with us and help define who we become.

One of those moments came for me when I sat my dad down to tell him I had enlisted in the Army as a Military Police Officer. He is a Vietnam Veteran and had even spent time as a prisoner of war and like many Vietnam Vets, he didn’t speak often of the War.

But after telling him my plans, he told me that he always admired the MPs in Vietnam because no matter where they were or how dirty and grungy things were, the MPs were always squared away with flawless uniforms, spit shined boots, and ready to help any soldier that needed it.

This simple story moved me. I saw the MP Corp as a springboard to the FBI, but it was more than that. The MP Corp was the embodiment of what I held dear. Integrity, duty, and compassion.

Later during Basic and Military Police School, my Drill Sergeants echoed those same core principals. Pounding into our heads as we did countless push-ups that as members of the MP Corps we needed to be ethical examples for other soldiers. If we were going to enforce laws and regulations on others, we had to hold ourselves to the highest ethical standard.

Though my time in the MP Corps is over, I still hold those values as the foundation for my life and business.

Sadly, not all private investigators do. They promise to do things that are illegal, unethical, or simply not possible.

Some examples of what PIs cannot and should not do for clients include:

■ Break into homes or businesses and steal information.

■ Hack into cell phones or other electronic devices.

■ Videotape people inside their homes.

■ Use pretexts to obtain financial or medical information.

■ Get credit reports without consent.

■ Witness tampering through threats or other means.

■ Bribery of witnesses, law enforcement, etc.

PIs who say they can do these things, at a minimum, have a questionable moral foundation and may be more likely to end up on the wrong side of a lawsuit or criminal charges.

Trust is an integral part of the client/PI relationship and if you can’t trust your private investigator to conduct their everyday business with integrity, how can they be trusted when it matters for you?


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