Private investigations can be a great way to find answers when law enforcement or other investigating bodies cannot provide answers. Both corporations and private citizens turn to private investigators to get to the unseen details in their cases and provide clarification in crucial matters. Given the ubiquity of information technology the lines between private investigations and personal investigations can blur very quickly, and it’s important to know when the line has been crossed in getting to the truth.
Private investigations require a great deal of informational tools in order to generate leads and find answers. With the growing sophistication of the internet, access to public records, and thousands of television shows about investigative procedures, it’s easy to see how a layman could view private investigations within their capability. The internet has already connected millions of people who call themselves “armchair detectives.” Armchair detectives are private individuals with an affinity for mystery and intrigue who use their free time examining the evidence of existing cases and attempt to find answers by collaborating and comparing notes online. Researching and discussing cases online is a great way to pass the time and keep the mind occupied, but when the investigation moves offline and into real life, that is where things can get dangerous.
When there is no justice through the proper channels, it’s not unheard of for private citizens to take up the mantle of finding answers. Parents of missing children often pick up where law enforcement left off when they have exhausted all existing leads in their child’s case. The story of Miriam Rodriguez, the woman who tracked down every one of her daughter’s killers one by one and handed them over to the authorities. Despite her success in this mission, her story ended tragically when she was shot in her front yard by members of the cartel who had kidnapped and killed her daughter as another act of revenge. The dangers posed by private investigations is why you should always seek the help of a professional, licensed private investigator. They can provide the same methodology as law enforcement, with similar tools and more freedom.
Many police officers and law enforcement officials turn to private investigations when they retire from their department. Law enforcement officials by nature are typically doers, and sometimes have difficulty enjoying the great deal of down time in retirement. As a result, many make the decision to get their private investigator’s license so they can continue using their skills to serve the community. However, some former law enforcement officers never take this crucial step, but still avail themselves of private investigations in retirement. Not on the internet mind you, but in real life.
One example in which such private investigations went to far is the case of former Houston Police captain, Mark Aguirre. Like many, Aguirre had been plagued by baseless claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election, convinced that fraudulent voting had taken place that would benefit the Democratic party in the outcome. Despite the fact that these claims have been refuted by a series of judges in multiple states and the amount of illegal votes cast by imposters or deceased persons was under 50—which amounts to a statistical anomaly. However, Aguirre remained convinced.
With many states allowing their citizens to vote earlier than normal in the election due to the pandemic, hundreds of thousands of votes were already theoretically en route to be counted through the mail. Aguirre and a few of his friends and associates had set up what he referred to as a “command post” at a hotel in Houston. They had been running surveillance on individuals who they believed to be transporting illegal votes, one of whom was an air conditioning repair man. On October 19, about two weeks before Election Day, Aguirre placed a call to Lt. Wayne Rubio in the Texas Attorney General’s Office and asked him to conduct a traffic stop for the repairman’s truck. When Rubio refused, Aguirre responded that he would take care of the traffic stop himself and “make a citizen’s arrest.” In an interview with police, Aguirre said that he ran the man’s truck off the road, got out of the vehicle, brandished a firearm and forced the repairman to the ground with a knee on his back. Fortunately, no one was hurt in this confrontation, and when law enforcement responded, a search of the truck yielded no evidence of transporting illegal ballots. The truck only contained equipment and parts relevant to the driver’s business. Aguirre was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. If he is convicted, he could face up to 20 years in prison.
While no one was hurt in this incident, it is a perfect reason why taking private investigations into your own hands can be dangerous and ill-advised. If private citizens feel there is a problem that is not being properly investigated, it is recommended they seek the expertise of a licensed private investigator to find answers. They are professionals with the tools and access to get to the bottom of murky situations. Despite their toolchest of experience in law enforcement, former police officers do not have the same resources in retirement as they did on the force. While their expertise could assist in a private investigator’s case, it’s best to leave it to the professionals.