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Understanding How Private Investigators Differ from Other Law Enforcement

There is a common misconception perpetuated by movies and crime shows that private investigators undermine police services and solve crimes by breaking laws themselves. In reality, however, private investigators often assist in criminal investigations and can even be found working alongside law enforcement in certain instances.

Under the law, a police officer has restrictions on his or her actions that a PI may not be bound by. For this reason, police often hire private investigators when they can’t pursue the case further.

In addition, the law can only step in once sufficient evidence has been obtained, evidence that a PI may be able to track down. Thus, a private investigator may be hired to perform a criminal investigation only until enough evidence has been collected so that police can take over and make an arrest.

Even though private investigators aren’t restricted by the same laws in terms of assisting the police with investigations, this does not mean they are above the legal system. PIs cannot retrieve evidence by breaking or contravening the law in any way.

Thanks to budget cuts across the country, sometimes private investigators lend assistance not in addition to, but in place of the police when they don’t have the manpower available. According to an LA Times article published in February, the U.S. private security industry will grow 6.3% annually to $19.9 billion by 2016, which is good news both for private investigators and those that hire them.


To become a private investigator, you must be licensed, knowledgeable and experienced. Additionally, laws and regulations vary by state. The National Investigative Training Academy, Inc. (NITA) is an online provider of state-approved in states like Florida and Georgia. See how NITA’s private investigator training classes and can help you achieve your goals. Call 1-800-730-NITA (6482) or enroll now to become a Private Investigator.

Understanding How Private Investigators Differ from Other Law Enforcement

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