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Private Investigation: A Second Career – Former Law Enforcement Professions

One of the perks of being in professional law enforcement is that you can often retire on a full pension after just 20 or 25 years of service. Retiring on a full pension, however, does not give most officers the ability to just cease working altogether for the rest of their lives. Even for those that do have that option, however, they may find that they quickly tire of playing golf or sitting on a beach somewhere.

One of the many options available for retired and former law enforcement is the field of Private Investigation. While the work of a Private Investigator is often very similar to law enforcement, there are also some distinct differences to take into account. Here are three types of private investigation that former law enforcement might enter into, as well as some pros and cons of each.

1) Independent Private Investigator

The Pros: Having a police background will help new Private Investigators quickly gain clients and getting licensed is generally a breeze. It can also be an attractive option for retired cops, since having a pension means you don’t have to scramble for work and being independent gives you more freedom to work your own hours and only take on the kinds of cases that interest you.

The Cons: Being a Private Investigator has different requirements than being a cop and immediately jumping into being an Independent PI may rob you of some necessary training. Detailed reports, adhering to client billing procedures and delivering high quality videos are all part of being an Independent Private Investigator, but not of being a cop. In addition, clients will often not pay additional money for a second PI or backup on cases that require surveillance. Cops that were used to clocking in and out and letting someone else take over at a certain time may become frustrated by having to do everything by themselves.

2) Insurance Fraud Investigator

The Pros: Being an Insurance Fraud Investigator means you don’t have to hustle to find your own clients. Working for a company can also offer ongoing benefits like paid vacations, a 401k plan and other perks. In addition, insurance companies will generally offer specialized training, which can help make the transition from law enforcement to private investigation go more smoothly. They will also often employ more than one fraud investigator as well, which can give former law enforcement officers more of a sense of being part of a team as well as having someone to hand things off to when the workload gets too heavy.

The Cons: Working for someone else doesn’t give you the ability to pick and choose your own cases. You may find yourself doing more surveillance work than you like or be given other assignments that you don’t enjoy or find fulfilling. In addition, the paperwork may be monumental to the point where you feel like you spend more time filling out forms than doing actual investigative work.

3) Criminal Defense Investigation

The Pros: Like working for an insurance company, many Criminal Defense Investigators work for a single firm. This provides many of the same perks as being an Insurance Fraud Investigator, like paid vacations and ongoing contributions to a 401k plan. Criminal Defense Investigators may also have far more leeway in terms of their hours and how they work cases as they may often be the sole investigator for a firm. They may also find the work most familiar to them, as they are still working within the legal system.

The Cons: Many cops who were used to putting “bad guys” in jail may have a hard time transitioning to trying to help prove someone’s innocence – particularly when their investigation actually turns up evidence that they are not innocent. In addition, if you work as a Criminal Defense Investigator in the same city or town that you were a police officer, that may put you at odds with friends who are still on the force.

No matter what kind of investigation you do, one thing that is always important is making sure you have the right coverage for the kind of work you are doing. Give El Dorado Insurance a call today, and let us help you make sure you are covered for any event or crisis.


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