If you go into the woods today……..

How many of you have ever gone to work only to be shot by a hunter claiming he thought you were a bear? Welcome to the world of Private Investigations.

I for one intend to use this real-life story everytime a client or lawyer raises their eyebrows when I tell them how much we charge. “I know it seems expensive….but sometimes we get shot….by people thinking we are bears”.

The shooter in this case has been arrested and held on $150,000.00 bail. It seems that the P.I. was working for an insurance company who suspected the shooter of committing insurance fraud. The P.I. didn’t even realize that he had been shot until he took off his back pack and found two bullet holes.

The “confused” shooter claims that he fired his rifle at something black that looked like a bear. The fact that he yelled at the investigator to get off his land a few minutes before and informed him that he was going to get his gun, will definitely not help his case.

Unless the bears are incredibly intelligent in Denver and it is usual practice to warn them first that you will “go get a gun”. I don’t think so.

The next time you have need to hire a P.I., remember what they may have to go through to get you the evidence. But don’t try to pay them with honey. Afterall, they are not bears, no matter what hunters in Denver may think.

Going to Pakistan on Business? Better Bring Security with You

It would be difficult to think of any industry or profession with greater growth potential – especially in difficult times as this downward economy, than Private Security.

No matter what country you think of; Saudi Arabia, India, China, United Arab Emirates…I have visited all of these countries over the past two years and an overwhelming need for security is the one common denominator that they all share.

That is why I find it amusing everytime our training academy announces a training course such as; Executive Protection Agent and people ask; “after I am trained, can I get work as a bodyguard, or private investigator?”.

This story written by Hasan Mansoor for Asiaone News, speaks about the exploding need for private security in Pakistan – a country with a population of more than 170 million, but a Police force of less than 400,000.

Many of the people who graduate from our academy ask us about working overseas. Overseas pays very well. If we had a client wishing to take some E.P. agents on a busness trip to Pakistan (we would STRONGLY advise on bringing your own professionally trained security to a violent country such as Pakistan if it was absolutely necessary to make the trip), we would pay those agents anywhere from $500 – $800 a day with all expenses included.

Now I ask, where else can you make that kind of money during a recession where layoffs and downsizng are the order of the day? Not even lawyers can be guaranteed to earn that kind of money when many of them being laid off from Law Firms all over the country.

The tougher times get, the more need there is for security. Train today for that high paying assignment tomorrow and count yourself lucky that you are in a field that is as about recession-proof as can be found.

Think "liability" if you want to stay out of trouble.

I speak a lot about liability, but not everyone gets it.

I have seen medical doctors, dentists, business people of all walks of life and lawyers (it is surprising how many lawyers disregard liability)pay little attention to potential lawsuits. The latest category to leave themselves open, have been auctioneers.

The current foreclosure crisis has meant that many properties are being auctioned off. We have been providing security officers at some of the properties in order to make sure that people do not try to steal or commit vandalism when viewing the houses. There was an incident recently in which a bidder decided to withdraw his offer after his bid became the winning bid. He probaly got cold feet.

While he should not have reneged on his offer to buy the property, it was a civil matter best left to civil remedy. Unfortunately, the auctioneers involved decided to take the law into their own hands and would not let the man leave the property. The man became anxious and informed them that he was having difficulty breathing and needed to go to his car for his asthma medication.

Was this true? Maybe, maybe not – but would it be wise to gamble with a person’s health when you already had their personal details and you could easily have obtained his vehicle registration if he decided to leave?
Thankfully, our security officer knew better that to get involved with blocking the man’s way. The auctioneers stood in front of his vehicle and yelled at him. Eventually the man drove off.

If you represent a financial institution, a law firm or an auctioneering firm, you need to think twice before you act inappropriately. I have no doubt that had that man had a serious attack and if he died as a result, his next of kin would have sued for umpteen millions. When it comes to situations like this, you need to think rationally and realize what is involved. What was the worse thing that could have happened when the person decided to renege on his offer?

Apparently, he would have signed forms and the like and most probably he could be sued civilly for not fulfilling his obligations after delivering the winning bid. At the end of the day, the note holder would be in a strong position. Even if the person had given false information and could not be subsequently located, all they had to do was to put the property back on the market. What could that have cost, a couple of thousand in extra advertising and the like? That would have been much better than having to pay the next of kin many millions – not to mention the bad publicity.

We talk a lot about liability because it is a very real threat. Think “threat mitigation”. Those who do not, may pay a very high price.

Attention – Lawyers and Private Investigators!

Lawyers are always in need of process servers to serve civil papers. More often than not, they use the services of a Private Investigator or process service company.

If the P.I. or process server is credible and ethical, there should not be a problem. If on the other hand, the server “claims” to have served the paper, charges the Law Firm for services rendered but does not actually effect the necessary service, it could be the makings of a significant lawsuit. This is what happened in Massachusetts.

The plaintiff in that casewas awarded $3,000,000.00 when the State Court ruled that the Bermuda businessman, Donald P.Lines, had not been served by the company hired to effect the service, Boston based “Stokes & Levin”. It later transpired that the company had used pre-fabricated stamps of the signature of a process server who no longer worked for the company. It did not enhance the image of the Securities and Exchange Commission either as the SEC were the ones who hired “Stokes & Levin”.

I have heard stories of one elderly P.I. in Virginia who gets confused when he serves civil papers and sometimes puts the same time on two different papers even when they are served 20 miles or more apart. Yet, he continues to get requests for service from lawyers that he has known a while. I hope this story serves as a reminder to him and those who hire him that you stand to lose a lot if you don’t get it right – both in reputation and finacial terms. There’s no shame in hanging up the gun belt when the sun starts to set on your career. It’s always better to go out a winner than a defendant.

This is not a bodyguard – this is a walking lawsuit.

If you are like me and you view the latest “bodyguard gone wild” video, you can’t help but wonder, how many millions of dollars will this uncontrollable violent outburst cost Nicole Kidman.

As someone who not only hires personal protection agents, but who also trains them, I can tell you that Ms. Kidman would be far better off looking after herself than being “protected” by this unprofessional hothead. Not only did her security person make a grave mistake by assaulting and battering the photographer in question, but he left her totally unprotected when he jumped out of the vehicle in a rage.

What would he have done if this were a trap? If someone wished to harm Ms. Kidman, or kidnap her, they could have staged this. The ‘photographer’ could have merely been bait used to lure her security and trick him into leaving his vehicle. Being unproteced, another bad guy could have easily harmed her at that stage.

I do not know where celebrities hire amateurs like this. I could refer them to dozens of professional security firms who highly value their professional reputations and who would never dream of hiring an incompetent like this. I would like to think that poor judgement is confined to Hollywood celebrities, but I know that is not the case.

Sometime people hire a “friend of a friend” who used to be in the army, or who used to be a night club bouncer. Those hires are always a mistake. The have LIABILITY written all over them. Whenever you hire someone to work for you, stop and think what might happen if they are not who or what they claim to be.

What happens if they use drugs and have an accident while driving your company vehicle? What happens if they have a temper problem like Ms. Kidman’s employee? I think you already know the answer and it isn’t pretty.

Do yourself a big favor and always do your due diligence. Or you could always hire an expensive law firm. Lawyers have to eat too, I suppose.