Private Investigators work independently and in cooperation with Law Enforcing offices. They provide their services to clients who hire them. The majority of the work they do is similar to that of a Detective, often conducting investigations on missing people, doing background checks on people, and researching information on legal, financial, or criminal investigation.
Private Investigators are not legally authorized to perform acts that would otherwise be performed by a Police Officer (e.g. arresting people or conducting warranted searches), they may carry and use a firearm provided they have the necessary permits. They are, nevertheless, often required to present the results and findings of their investigations to their clients or in a court of law as testimony and evidence.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common tasks Private Investigators are required to complete.
- Interviewing people to collect information:
- Tracking down people involved with the investigation;
- conducting interviews to gather information; and
- writing reports based on findings.
- Researching information:
- Going through legal or financial records;
- finding information for research;
- verifying the veracity and source of all information found; and
- collecting evidence.
- Performing surveillance:
- Following crime suspects or persons of interest for the investigation;
- recording their activities and whereabouts; and
- informing clients of findings.
- Investigating computer related crimes, kidnappings, disappearances, homicides, suspicious activity, and theft.
- Working in tandem with Law Enforcement offices:
- Sharing investigation results and findings;
- interviewing detained suspects; and
- assisting in the investigation.
- Meeting with their client to show investigation findings.
- Updating clients in the progress of the investigation; and
- asking about further information for the investigation.
- Perform personal background research:
- Investigate past activities and characteristics of a person.
- Performing undercover investigations:
- Evaluating performance or honesty of employees of a company by posing as one or as a client.
- Apprehending criminal suspects or criminals and take them to the authorities.
- Presenting investigation results as evidence and giving testimony in a court of law when necessary:
- Transcribing interviews conducted; and
- organizing evidence to be presented in court.
- Interviewing people to gather information on a case.
- Researching information related to a case.
- Doing surveillance work.
- Going undercover to find information.
- Collecting evidence to be used in a court of law.
- Investigating crimes.
- Handling legal documents and court citations.
- Performing background checks on people.
The average Private Investigator salary is $37,656 per year or $19 per hour. This is around 1.1 times more than the Median wage of the country. Entry level positions start at $26,000 while most experienced workers make up to $53,000. These results are based on 55 salaries extracted from job descriptions.