A Good Investigator Will Play “Knock Knock”
Investigation is not rocket science. Nor is it something that’s easy to do; good investigators spend years – even decades – honing their craft and learning new skills. Keeping up with the technology, taking on new and varied assignments and trying new things. All account for leadership in the field.
You can tell the good one’s from the pretenders, believe me!
Recently I got the chance to ask a group of trainees what they thought were the most important traits of an investigator. Of course, the standard replies came flooding in of being ethical, honest, professional, knowledgeable and like responses. When we drilled down even further, the ability to know legislation, elementise offences, obtain effective information from witness and conduct effective records of interview featured.
But one thing – a critical thing – was missing.
What many people don’t realise is that a good investigator will run things out to the point of exhaustion. He or she will chase every rabbit down every hole in the pursuit of the facts. Unlike what we see on Law and Order or Criminal Minds, it doesn’t involve sitting in front of a computer or flying around in a private jet.
It’s about boots on the ground and asking questions.
Fictional detectives like Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch have a mantra for getting to the bottom of things:
Get off you’re ass and go knock on doors.
As an investigator, I have this saying on a poster next to my desk to remind me that (no matter what technological advances and new ways of thinking/doing things come up) there’s always a sure fire way to find something out.
- Knock on the doors.
- Talk to people to find out what they know.
- Hit the streets and then talk to people more.
- Make notes.
- Follow up and chase things down.
- Practice persistence.
Of course there is a need for computers, the internet, databases, analyst software, Facebook, twitter, instagram and snapchat. These are important tools, particularly in locating people (or skip tracing). Likewise, locating missing persons is an arduous task that can take a lot of time and resources and sometimes not achieve a successful outcome despite all the work.
Finding someone is not as straightforward as it seems. Generally, the more complex a matter the more it will cost you. Simple enquiries can be done easily and cost effectively. But if you need more – if you need investigator’s to go above and beyond – then you need those that are prepared to hit the streets. Those that can elicit information from people to provide the missing puzzle piece.