Guns, Gams & Gumshoes

A blog for PIs and writers/readers of the PI genre

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Answering Writer’s Question About Police Detectives, PIs and Crime Scenes

Posted by Writing PIs on December 14, 2011

Today we’re answering a writer’s question about private investigators, police detectives and crime scenes.

Writer’s Question: Who has the authority to authorize a PI to work with a detective on a crime scene? What is the procedure to do this?

Guns, Gams, and Gumshoes’s Answer: Cops are very territorial about crime scenes. This is cross-examination they do not want to hear: “Detective, you let an amateur who is not certified as a peace officer traipse through the crime scene, touch evidence, disturb clues…all under minimal supervision?” In other words, a defense attorney would have a field day learning a cop/s allowed a PI onto an active crime scene to work with the police.

However, saying that, there could be extraordinary circumstances where law enforcement would allow a PI to work alongside detectives in an active crime scene. For example, if the PI was working for the victim’s family, or if the PI had some special technical skill or forensics knowledge that would benefit the police investigation. Most certainly, under these special circumstances, the PI would be more likely allowed to work with the police if the PI had been previously employed as law enforcement.

What might the procedure be? It’s really the PI obtaining permission from law enforcement personnel or their supervisor, depending on that law enforcement department’s procedures.

Have a great week, Writing PIs

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