In recent years, the number of working private investigators in the United States has grown exponentially. As of 2020, in excess of 30,000 private investigators are believed to be working in the U.S. alone. Private investigators operate on the edge of society, observing from a distance, blending in with the fabric of society to surreptitiously document the unseen factors in any situation. Private investigators can also come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and genders, as more and more individuals are realizing, the capacity for applying private investigator methodology really depends on a professional’s style and how their prior experience informs on that style.
Persons who might have a natural inclination towards intelligence gathering and other types of private investigation work might not begin their careers in the private sector. Many of these professionals start with public service, working in law enforcement. Members of law enforcement are typically natural-doers, individuals who like to keep their time and minds occupied with productive and fulfilling projects. When members of law enforcement retire, it is not uncommon for them to seek a new career in private investigations. This tracks with private investigator Tyler Maroney’s assertion that private investigators are “refugees from other industries.” In his new book, The Modern Detective: How Corporate Intelligence is Reshaping the World, Maroney examines how the growing private investigation profession has the potential to cause ripple effects around the globe.
The migration of professionals from other industries to private investigations is not unique to the United States. One of the most famous former law enforcement officers to apply their trade to private investigations was Christopher Steele, a former agency with London’s M.I.6. After leaving M.I.6, Steele founded Orbis, a business intelligence firm based in London, England, most famous for “preparing a dossier on connections between the Russian government and Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.” Despite the cartoonishly vast heroics that can sometimes be associated with private investigations, Maroney claims that this power should not be blown out of proportion, “The tool kit available to private investigators is considerably less potent than the one available to spies and cops and prosecutors. We cannot flip witnesses, blackmail agents, develop confidential informants, bug phones, offer protection, send subpoenas or bribe sources.”
The highly-fictionalized profession comes with so many stereotypes, we might underestimate the variety of professionals who might translate their industry skills into private intelligence. Another profession that commonly applies private investigator methodology to their work is journalists. After all, a journalist’s job is to search out the story and find the truth. The principal difference between a journalist and a private investigator is the intent of a journalist is to publish the truth to as many people who find interest while a private investigator discretely hands the findings, or truth, over to their clients for their purposes. Journalist, Ronan Farrow, son of Hollywood actress, Mia Farrow, recently came to fame for using private investigator methodology to expose the criminal activities of Hollywood producer, Harvey Weinstein. Farrow had to fight fire with fire as Weinstein was simultaneously using private investigators on retainer to dig up dirt on the women who made allegations of sexual assault against him and to intimidate the journalists who were his detractors. Ronan used private investigator methodology to track down survivors, document their allegations against Weinstein, and create a record that would become the basis for Weinstein’s criminal conviction last year.
Maroney claims in his book that a private investigator’s role in society is to “keep the fish tank clean,” or in other words, serve as a watchdog against pervasive issues within our society that can easily get our of control with devastating consequences. When you have a complex corporate or personal issue, turn to the assistance of a private investigator to get crucial context. Call Lauth Investigations International today for a free quote on our private investigator services at 317-951-1100.