The job of the private investigator starts after a crime has been done. During a crime scene, the first line of people to be dispatched is the uniform police officers. These police will then make an initial crime report. This report will then be given to a private investigator for further examination and analysis. Private investigators also receive help from the police department. Evidences are then collected and considered as the initial stage. After the initial stage, the cases are then assigned to the private investigators. These investigators are given two to three cases a day and having as many as 30 cases to handle is already not unusual for them. These private investigators are just given a limited time to solve these cases, so it is important for them to determine and prioritize cases that have a higher chance to be solved.
Cases which are serious and those with substantial evidences are considered as the highest priority. Private investigators have a lot of methods and approach on gathering information being sure that they will not be negotiated with some money matters. They may contact and interview witnesses and as well as the victims. They also go to the area where the scene happened, and they also perform surveillance operations. Every private investigator has informers. These informers help out in giving significant leads. Private investigators wear civilian clothes and not police uniforms. After these private investigators have gathered enough evidences, they can now arrest the criminal with the help of police officers. Once the suspect is under the custody of the police agency, the next task of the police investigator begins and this is by doing an interrogation. Interrogation consists of a lot of questioning to the suspect and this may also help in solving unsolved crimes. Before putting an end to the case, the private investigator will now prepare a report and present the evidences at the trial.
There is no formal education in becoming a private investigator but most have postsecondary degrees. The first step to take before becoming a private investigator is to be a police officer. After which, programs are then offered for those aspiring to be a private investigator. Courses in criminal justice and political science are offered in private investigation schools. After finishing the program some people enter this kind of occupation after graduation especially those with associate or bachelor degree. Different specializations have different requirements. Like for computer forensics, a computer science degree is needed. This will give a person a complete background on how to use computers for investigation. Most of the work of these private investigators is learned on the job.
The hourly private investigator salary may range from $20 to $200 an hour. This depends on the type of cases being handled. Determining the salary also depends on whether they are working for themselves or for a company. If these private investigators are self employed, they can make all the profits but on the other hand they are in charge for all the costs from cameras, videos and other tools. Working for a company may not costs you that much since all equipments are available but usually there is less pay when there is lesser risk.