Matching Night Vision Gear to Your Mission

matching-night-vision-gear-to-your-mission

Helicopters stealthily ew in the cover of darkness into Pakistani airspace. These were no ordinary helicopters, and neither were their pilots nor the passengers riding along inside. They were American Navy SEALs and support personnel. And one of the things they all had in common is that they were all wearing night vision goggles.

That mission involved the Army’s 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment and 23 SEALs from the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, known as DEVGRU and better known as SEAL Team 6. They successfully found and killed Osama bin Laden.

Like many military special operations missions, law enforcement tactical operations often take place at night. That means all SWAT operators can benet from having tools that will help them see better in the dark, including image intensication night vision systems and thermal vision infrared devices.

The value of such tools in police and military operations has been proven again and again for decades. Night vision is used in a variety of domestic law enforcement operations including aviation. For example, law enforcement pilots ying both xed-wing aircraft and helicopters for a variety of federal agencies, including the DEA, the Border Patrol, and the FBI’s storied Hostage Rescue Team (HRT) commonly y with night vision.

Local law enforcement is another story all together. While the majority of big city SWAT teams have night vision tools, many smaller agencies don’t have the budget necessary to acquire such equipment. However, the cost of night vision and thermal is decreasing with more new technological innovations and increased sales. Which means night vision and thermal imaging tools are becoming more readily available. The trick is choosing the right tools for your agency.

Night Vision Devices

Image intensication night vision equipment is mission specic. So when a department is thinking about adding this equipment into its inventory, the questions that must be answered are: How will the equipment be used and who is going to use it? Basically, night vision devices boil down to three primary types: viewers, weapons sights, and goggles.

Viewers. These are similar to standard optical spotting scopes only they work great at night. They can be used for surveillance, to help identify and prevent possible attacks, and to help you locate the best approach to a location.

Night Vision Weapon Sights. This is a tool for the designated sniper and/or spotter. Since both sniper and spotter do a lot of mandatory intelligence gathering, so it seems logical that at least one sniper or spotter in a team operating in low light would be outfitted with a night vision scope.

Night Vision Goggles (NVG). These are usually worn on the heads of tactical ocers and attached with a head harness or helmet mount. In an urban environment, you may not need a goggle for every team member. Five-ocer entry teams have accomplished their missions with as few as two devices.

When allocating NVGs your priority is entry team members number one and number three. Here’s why: As the number one officer makes entry, generally the number two officer throws a ash-bang, and the number three officer flows in afterward. This is the way it’s done by a lot of teams, and it shows why the number one and three officers in the stack have the greatest need for NVG. They are going to be the first officers into what is likely to be a darkened room.

When performing night operations in areas with rough terrain where an officer can stumble over such hazards as rocks, fallen trees, and other ground clutter, night vision can be a critical safety tool. That environment calls for as many team members as possible to have NVG.

Real World Users

While writing this article, I was honored to spend some time with units from two law enforcement agencies that have great need for night vision on the job. I’m talking about the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the U.S. Border Patrol.

Recently the Special Operations Group (SOG) of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission started working with new night vision devices. One of the leaders told me that these devices are a must for the unit. “We are in the middle of the Florida swamps looking for illegal poachers, drug smugglers, or someone who is just deeply lost in the Everglades,” the leader said.

The inherent dangers they face in the swamps, both human and animal, are very real for SOG. The people they are looking for are often heavily armed with ries, and the swamps are home to alligators and several species of venomous snakes, including rattlesnakes, coral snakes, copperheads, and water moccasins. Night vision is very important for the safety of these officers.

The U.S. Border Patrol’s working environment on the Southwest border is about as dierent from the Florida swamps as could be. But like their fellow law enforcement professionals in Florida, Border Patrol ocers in southern Arizona have a great need for night vision.

One agent explained the danger they face in the Arizona desert. He told me if they see a suspected illegal immigrant crossing the border there is nothing they can do about it as back-up is about an hour away, and the coyotes (human trackers) are heavily armed. Shockingly, the majority of border agents have outdated night vision equipment or none at all. The agent went on to explain that in the Border Patrol it’s a first come first get when it comes to equipment.

Thermal Devices

Infrared thermal cameras and viewers can be used as a type of night vision device, but they work very dierently from image intensication systems. While image intensication systems such as the ubiquitous AN/PVS-14 intensify available light in the environment to give the user night vision, thermal devices measure the heat radiating from a person, animal, or object and convert that heat into an image of the “target.”

While researching this article, I was privileged to have FLIR’s Breach PTQ136 multifunctional thermal imaging monocular at my disposal. I have spent many years using night vision, and it was rather interesting to use this very compact handheld thermal.

Weighing only 7.4 ounces, the FLIR Breach (www.ir.com) can be concealed in a pocket or mounted to a helmet via its mini- rail feature. The Breach has an internal memory and can record up to 1,000 images and 2.5 hours of video in day or night conditions. It also features advanced image processing and a bright high-definition display for enhanced image clarity. This is a great tool for law enforcement operations.

Choosing the Right Device

Both night vision and thermal systems have a role in police work. To discuss which is best for what application, I went to my local subject matter expert, Lt. Glenn Hamann of the Titusville (FL) Police Department who also happens to be the SWAT team commander. Hamann says both tools are extremely benecial for small unit tactical missions, especially for threat detection and ambush prevention.

Hamann works in his city’s urban environments and in the area’s forests, fields, and swamps. He offers this advice, “When making building entries, night vision is the way to go, as night vision works with glass such as mirrors and windows and thermal not so much. However, in open field environments or forest environments whether looking for dangerous men who may be wearing camouflaged clothing or predator animals who have their own built in camouflage, thermal is the way to go.”

Law enforcement administrators will have to decide whether night vision or thermal or both is best for their mission. The good news is that costs are coming down on this equipment.

Another point to consider is that not every unit needs top-of-the-line night vision gear. You can save money by matching the gear to the light conditions where your team operates. Generation 3 gear is critical in extremely dark conditions, less so where there is a lot of ambient light.

Paul Pawela is the director of law enforcement training for the National Association of Chiefs of Police (www.nacoponline.org). He is a nationally recognized expert in rearms and defensive tactics and has been awarded the John Edgar Hoover Memorial Gold Medal for distinguished public service.

POLICE magazine -used with permission from author by Paul Pawela and Photographer Abboud Bedro

Lets Talk About Parler

lets-talk-about-parler

The demand for uncensored and unbiased social media has now been met by Parler. For the past few years, users on social media have been looking for an alternative to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Each of these platforms are known to censor, shadow ban, and ban users from utilizing their 1st Amendment. Parler stepped up to the plate in order to meet the demands and the needs of the people; a twofold evolution.

A perfect example of censoring is when users post an opposing political view and are censored aka muted from other users so their posts are not visible. This type of censoring led to shadow banning and blocking, specifically on Instagram. Shadow banning is when Instagram puts the search capabilities of an account on low to zero visibility. In some cases, it can lead to disabling an account for a certain period of time or banning an account entirely. With the inability to express opinions in a safe and conducive environment, Parler was created to offer what other platforms refuse to do.

Parler seems to offer the opportunity for users to express their thoughts and opinions without being censored or banned. Everyone should have the opportunity to express their opinions regardless of their political view, origin, income level, etc.; freedom of speech is paramount. Parler is relatively new and because of that, it presents a level of cyber security risk and additional risk factors that need to be addressed. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see an imposter or some sort of phishing type attacks come from this. With regard to risk factors, this will just be another social media risk where companies will have to do damage control and reputation management.

If you’re a user on social media and are looking for a platform that is taking part of upholding your 1st Amendment, create an account and see how it goes. Remember, much like other social media platforms, be mindful of what you post. In my experience, I have seen individuals lose their jobs and their livelihoods because they expressed their opinions that were considered to be a reputational risk; this has occurred on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and even Reddit. Parler was created with an intention to allow true freedom of expression, however, people will use this as an opportunity to cause harm or heartache. Just be mindful.

From a business perspective, it might be a good idea to have a proactive program in place that can actively monitor social media platforms from a conduct standpoint, as the reputation of a business is huge. This proactive approach may include monitoring your own staff to limit reputational and possible financial damage.

Ricoh Danielson is a cyber security researcher with areas of focus in digital forensics, incident response, and overall cyber security. He is a graduate from Thomas Jefferson School of Law, Colorado Tech University, UCLA, and Villanova University. Ricoh was the owner of a digital forensics firm, Fortitude Tech, where he assisted in preservation of digital evidence in the means of digital forensics. Ricoh was one of the founders of EXXO Tech learning as well. Ricoh has also led the veteran community in development and education.

The above article is his expressed opinions based upon his past experiences. The above does not represent any company, business or any products. These are the opinions and experience of the writer.

Ricoh Danielson blogs used directly from author with consent

An Overview of HIT-T: High Intensity Technical Team

“Remember, you are your own 1st Responder.”
-Ricoh Danielson

“Time is money,” a phrase commonly used throughout the years to highlight the importance of wealth, specifically financial gain. From a cyber security perspective, however, the phrase can mean the complete opposite. In the moment of a cyber incident, the phrase “time is money” goes into effect due to the importance of a timely response in order to not lose money and more importantly, customers. Decisions need to be made quickly and without hesitation as there may not be enough time to call up a team of executives and attorneys to discuss what needs to be done in depth. That being said, when an incident does occur, it is crucial to have a HIT-T and level threshold that allows you to evaluate and determine how the incident will be handled. For example, a company may have a level threshold of 0 to 5 and when an incident occurs, the level determines how they will respond. If it is considered a level 0, the company may determine that to be low risk (e.g. suspicious email found) and the response time does not have to be immediate. In fact, having a HIT-T that is on-call for a cyber incident allows them to evaluate and determine level threshold.

For the sake of time management and cost of value, having a HIT-T is crucial because a cyber incident, regardless of threshold, cost money. As stated previously, level threshold determines response and some events may not qualify or quantify a need for one. By utilizing a HIT-T, facts are gathered and analyzed quickly and effectively without having to call attorneys and other stakeholders that cost additional money for the company. In situations where the level threshold is high and a full cyber response is required, a HIT-T will determine the following: 1) what was affected, 2) the impact, 3) data elements, and 4) who will be contacted (e.g. attorneys, executives, and vendors).

As we enter the new year, developing a HIT-T as a business defense should be of utmost importance for your company. Remember, develop a team with individuals who have the technical aptitude to make split decisions with minimal time under pressure. Decisions should be made within a designated SLA to ensure there is minimal impact to the company. Have a team that specializes in different areas such as privacy, incident response, digital forensics, legal, threat intelligence, and vulnerability/patch management. Consider adding a spokesperson for your team and someone that will question the decisions to ensure it’s in the best interest of the company and stakeholders. If you are employed with an enterprise business, a HIT-T can be created by cross-training and selecting a group of team members with the necessary technical skills and the ability to understand the importance of time, risk, and customers. For smaller businesses, such as medical providers, creating a HIT-T may be difficult and having a designated IT vendor is not the same. If possible, define certain team members and an IT vendor as the key players who can be on-call 24/7 in the event a cyber incident occurs. If a HIT-T cannot be created and all other avenues have been exhausted, consider hiring an incident response company that will respond as soon as an incident occurs, but it will cost you time, money, and people. Having no reaction is the worst reaction and doing something is better than doing nothing.

Investigating Emojis: Do You Speak Emoji?

Purpose:
My purpose for this article is to help to provide a perspective that may be of value to you during your investigations. Furthermore, the information I will provide may shed some light with regards to digital forensic investigations and media investigations. These are PAST experiences prior to 2018.

Investigating emojis is like speaking another language, however, if you find the commonality of what the emoji stands for, you will have a point of reference for basic conversation. For example, when you are learning a new language, whether for cultural reasons or to understand a new form of “slang,” certain words or emojis will differ with regard to the meaning and dialect; not all emojis are created equal.

In a past case dealing with narcotics, there was a burner phone that was obtained during the apprehension and we were tasked to do forensics on it. During the forensic discovery, we noted that the dealer used emojis to communicate as well as GPS for location drops; barely any words were used. As we dug into the meaning behind the use of emojis through the narcotics phone, we were able to decipher the hidden language.


An example below was a similar extraction where as we can see the emojis did most of the talking. Establishing the correlating values of the emojis to the value of the street items is how this drug dealer was prosecuted.


It is important to understand the emoji language, its interpretation, the context with the specific device, and the individual you are doing the forensic discovery on. Further, it is important to understand the presumed crime and overall matter of interest. Understanding and deciphering these language bites can help bridge a communication gap that some may not understand.

In order to understand the alternative meanings of emojis, find out how these emojis are being interpreted and how you can understand them better; research is going to be your best friend. What would also be helpful is to understand the person in question and whether the interpretation of those emojis will differ depending on the culture or additional factors depending on the person in question. You may find yourself in a highly complex case where tools such as Axiom and Cellebrite will carry forward to a certain point, but it will be upon you to make the determination and deciphering of what an emoji stands for. If it’s beyond your capability, you may need to consult with a professional or conduct more research.

About the Author:
Ricoh Danielson is a cyber security researcher with areas of focus in digital forensics, incident response, and overall cyber security. He is a graduate from Thomas Jefferson School of Law, Colorado Tech University, UCLA, and Villanova University. Ricoh was the owner of a digital forensics firm, Fortitude Tech, where he assisted in preservation of digital evidence in the means of digital forensics. Ricoh was one of the founders of EXXO Tech learning as well. Ricoh has also led the veteran community in development and education.

The above article is his expressed opinions based upon his past experiences. The above does not represent any company, business or any products. These are the opinions and experience of the writer.

Used with direct permission from author

Cloud Incident Response and Forensics

With the number of medical companies either jumping into the cloud by choice in order to gain a competitive edge over their competitors, or being pushed into the cloud, it has become necessary to respond to an incident in their cloud environment. It is essential for these medical companies, both large and small, to have a game plan when they respond to an incident. Defaulting to their service provider in the hope that they will provide an incident response plan is just sheer stupidity. Simply relying on insurance and hope to ensure cloud coverage is also wishful thinking. A structure, a game plan and a first responder are all unequivocally essential.

When companies move their applications, infrastructure and services to the cloud, such a move exposes them to a whole new range of unknown and unassessable vulnerabilities and there is simply just not enough talent to go around to address these security needs. Right now, in the information security talent pool that is capable of handling the cloud, there are only a limited amount of people that can successfully, and fully, address security needs. These companies still need to ensure that they have employees capable of achieving this, much like they would have in their own local business. “Just because there is a new dress, it does not mean that the dance has changed”. In 2022, other companies are going to be pushed into the cloud or fall by the wayside. What this means is that it is vital to move to the cloud in order to stay in business. Laws are now even stricter and require more compliance than ever because of exposure to unknown risks.

The big question is, what can we do about it? The first thing to do is to acquire visibility into these environments. The second thing, is to understand the most critical applications and systems, especially those that need to remain up at all times. This will provide an insight into which items need to be most urgently addressed.

Used with direct permission from author

Hidden Child Investigation 2018

As many of you know I specialize in locating missing people. That is missing accidentally or missing purposefully. The later always is harder. People who are intentionally covering their tracks make life very interesting for investigators.

The case I speak of began when a flustered woman called me begging for help. The quick story behind this was her husband had been previously married. During that marriage a one night stand occurred. Fast forward around a decade and the man has been divorced and now remarried to my client. A knock at the door reveals this woman from his past and a child he did not know he had. They stepped up and became a big part of the child’s life but as time went on they found the mother to be seriously unstable. The child is now around twelve years old.
Soon the state of New York fully agrees and takes custody away from the mother and gives to the father. Now for this to happen in New York must make you pause as to the severity in the case for the state to make a judgement like this. I won’t go into explaining more as it should just make sense.

The mother then absconds with the daughter to Arizona. Ironically, Arizona make it a little difficult but eventually they fully agree with the New York decision and both states now have given custody to the father.

Then the mother vanishes with the child. The client and father of the child take numerous trips to Arizona, get police help, get county help but the woman just seems to evade any detection.
She maintained a residence, payed for by her parents but could never be found there. The child was not in school and it seemed many dead ends. According to neighbors the woman would sneak in late at night to get mail and whatever else but randomly.

At this point law enforcement was getting taxed and like many things bored of dealing with the case. Hence why I was hired. Well, lets get this straight, I was the third to get hired as the others had produced no results.

After a month in a half of very intensive investigating I was able to happen onto a complete accident of a discovery. I located the woman at a Walmart on a complete other side of the metro area. It had been nearly two months of investigating dead ends, broken rabbit trails, and bad information leads.

Thinking, that the surprises were over I began making calls to the proper people when she left the Walmart. She drove to a gated, guarded, camera’d facility. The facility had no signage and the address didn’t seem to be located on mapping systems. It took me awhile to figure out that this woman had somehow lied her way into a Domestic Violence Shelter.
The client and the father immediately came out from New York and with the help of Maricopa County Sheriff’s Detectives warrants were served and the daughter was returned to the father.
Unfortunately, I will never know what, if anything, happened to the woman for obviously committing fraud to be in a shelter. There were no indications she’d had any form of male or female partner in years. She had filed restraining orders for domestic violence on men across the country while she was in Arizona but they were all thrown out due to how preposterous they were.
The good news is that in the end the daughter is now in a home where she can get help for learning disabilities and ultimately have a much more loving and stable environment.

This case was definitely one of Atwell Investigations highlights of 2018 and I was proud to share!
Thank you for following!

The Ultimate Guide for Finding Birth Parents

Are you looking for your birth parent or finding the birth parent of your adopted child? Finding birth parents can be a long and daunting task. There are a lot of concerns about privacy, finding them and being sure you have located the right individuals...Atwell Investigations is the place to start.

Are you looking for your birth parent or finding the birth parent of your adopted child? Finding birth parents can be a long and daunting task. There are a lot of concerns about privacy, finding them and being sure you have located the right individuals…

What information would a birth child need to start the investigation?

There is really no easy answer to this.  In a perfect world, you would have a person’s basic information such as full name, date of birth, maybe an old address, and a social security number would be amazing.  That is not the world we live in and I’m guessing that if you had that information you might have stumbled onto the person yourself.

The first thing I do is remind them that at one point this person DID NOT want to be found or known of or you probably wouldn’t be where you are today (or your child).  I usually make the person stop talking on the phone, stop texting, or messaging and start writing everything down.  It’s amazing how much you “might’ already know but you are not thinking about it clearly.  Remember your investigator has not spoken to grandma, read a book insert, found a box of collectibles in an attic…nothing.

So, what do you need?  All of it, no matter how insignificant it might seem to you, it could be a major part of locating the person.  It will take every little piece of information that you can gather.  What I find in the writing process is that the mind starts working.  Inevitably, the client thinks of things a few hours after sending the investigator the information or the next day, even more light bulbs go off…the brain is an amazing thing!  You have to dust off those file cabinets in your mind!

Why is it better to hire a private investigator rather than to do the investigation on your own?

I think exhausting your own resources is always a good method as this always helps trigger things in the mind.  Utilizing sites like GOOGLE and BING or other search engines may help you stumble onto the information or at least maybe some extra leads.

What I want to CAUTION you with is utilizing pay-for-it sites.  I won’t use any by name but please understand that the majority (if not all) of these pay-for-it sites are OLD information.  The best analogy is when you go to the grocery store, buy a can of soup and then take the can of soup home. Does it grow another can?  NO!  It is what you bought and paid for.  So, by using that analogy the data in those sites are bought and paid for just like your soup can.  Nine times out of ten you will be dissatisfied with this information and have wasted money.  The algorithms in database companies utilized by law enforcement, lawyers, and LICENSED private investigators are constantly churning, constantly growing, constantly eating up new data.  It still is not 100% but it’s much better, and very less frustrating, to hire someone with access to this type of database systems.

When adoptive parents are helping their adoptive children find their birth parent, what tips should they look for in hiring a private investigator?

The number one thing you should ask is about your exact type of case.  Nobody can guarantee you 100% they can find someone.  If they do, use caution.  The investigator should be able to tell you the pros and cons of the investigation, give you some insight on some recent cases that were similar, and check their reviews.  Hearing from others that they were satisfied helps a lot.  The day and age of fake reviews are long gone.  Review Streams properly created and reviews on Google, Yelp, Bing, etc. all have fail-safes and parameters for those reviews.

Above all else, you should always go with your gut.  If something feels fishy or not right then move to the next option!  No options in your area?  Don’t fret as there are many investigators like me that will travel to your area.  Paying for that might not be cheap but knowing your case is in the best hands is worth its weight.

What are the laws in regards to a birth parents privacy?

Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to this.   Every place will have its own laws but that being said there is not very much to worry about here.  It isn’t a crime to “locate” someone.  Now whether they will be receptive to your intrusion into their life is a far different question.  This person may face embarrassment or judgment from their current family or the opposite may be true and this could be one of the most joyful, healing moments of their life.  That is the decision that you will have to come too.  Usually, as the investigator gets close to locating the person they might have some insight into how the person might respond.  I have even made initial contact for my client in some cases if they so desired.

Why should a family choose a private investigator over trying to create a viral post on Facebook?

When something goes viral you cannot take it back.  If the person could face embarrassment, judgment, or God forbid something worse for a prior indiscretion this viral post could ruin their lives.

There are some situations where I would approve of viral posts and that is if your health or the health of a child is in imminent danger.  It is possible in some medical situations that only the birth parent could hold the key to saving a life or a debilitating situation.  In these situations, you do what you have to do.  The outcome outweighs the risk for sure.

What kind of records can a private investigator access to help find a birth parent?

Again, this is going to vary from place to place but a good investigator has access to public records, as well as the knowledge to know where to look, who to involve, organizations that can help, etc.

This is a real-life puzzle and many things might have to be brought into play for a positive outcome.  A good investigator must know how to use his/her resources.

Once you have found the birth parent, do you approach the birth parent or do you give the information to the birth child and their adoptive family?

This is 100% on the client.  My motto is this:  The client is the owner of whatever evidence I find.  So basically, what the client decides to do with the case when the investigator is done is all on them.  To be honest the investigator has no play here at all.  Many times, we never know the outcome unless the client tells us.  Our job is to do our best to put the puzzle together and when it’s done hand it over.

Now that does not mean I wouldn’t offer advice because I do.  Often the client and the investigator establish great rapport because this is a very intimate part of the client’s life.  I find that empathy is the key here and being there for the client in this troubling time.

Can private investigators help with finding medical backgrounds of a birth parent’s family history?

Yes and No.  The easy answer is “yes” but there are degrees to this yes answer.  Finding old archives and things can happen but it is extremely hard.  You’d probably have better luck “pre-digital age” with records in dusty boxes or microfiche at a library.  The risk there is that much of these items get destroyed over time by flooding, fires, varmints, etc.  The “no” answer is basically this: in the modern world, our medical records are sealed for our physician’s eyes only.  The only real way is with court subpoenas from attorneys, getting a court to force a medical establishment to procure documents, and/or warrants.  Let me tell you that in the United States this is next to impossible.  I’d imagine in Canada and Europe this would have the same roadblocks.

Your best bet is always the respectful, relationship developing route.  No reason to go and make enemies or get people back on their heels.  Talk softly, learn a little about the other person.  Try not to just jump them for information.  More than likely this is just as tough for them as it is you.

 

What if a birth parent does not want to be found?

This is a true option that needs to be worked out heavily in your mind.  The circumstances as to which you were let go of or your child was let go of probably is not the greatest story, nor a proud moment for the person, and more than likely something they try and forget on a daily basis.

Show the person respect.  Be prepared for this answer as it truly needs to be thought out prior to making contact.  As mentioned above there might be some emergency or medical condition that trumps the slow and steady route but please, seriously, get your mind wrapped around this possibility.

Here is what I tell my clients:  It is always better to have a bird in the hand than not to have a bird at all.  In other words, having the evidence you need and not using it is much different than not having the evidence and wishing you had it.  This holds true for many investigations but I truly believe having the keys in your pocket is a much better mental place to be in than always anguishing and wondering.

In Conclusion

Like many investigations, this is a very intimate time for all involved.  Choose your investigator wisely.  Be mentally prepared for all options on the table.  Take your time.  Except in the rare case of an emergency medical issue, more than likely a good amount of time has passed already.  Allow the necessary time for a good investigation to develop and to allow your own mind to be able to wrap around the unknown.  You have probably always wondered about this other person.  It may not be what you think or it just might be better!

Jax Atwell

AtwellInvestigations.com

JourneywithJax.com

Facebook.com/jaxmenezatwell

Twitter:  @jaxmenezatwell

Things to consider when hiring a private investigator?

private investigator arizona

There are many defining moments in life. When we stand at the base of a mountain staring up at the incredible tasks of life ahead. The seemingly endless weight of the world being added to your shoulder. There are sometimes when soliciting independent help is just the what you need.

Maybe a friend has suggested it, your lawyer has pushed it or it caught your attention in a film or show…but the use of a private investigator is usually something you probably never thought you would need to consider. While you consider and ponder this here are a few things to consider. This by no means is a complete list but just a few items to get your wheels spinning.

A private investigator can be your advocate. Those who have hired a good private investigator routinely say that the investigator has become a friend or strong contact for years after their need for one. The reason for this is a good investigator isn’t just there to get paid, they are there because they truly love what they do. A good investigator might shock you with incredible empathy and understanding for your situation. Let’s face it, if you choose a trusted investigator you will be allowing them into an intimate part of your life and soul that most never will experience from you. This is why it is important to “go with your gut” and fully trust your investigator.

A private investigator can be your senses when you cannot. Let me clarify this with the reality in many situations that you might need an advocate on your side, like a private investigator, there is a reason why you can’t directly “investigate” the issue or circumstance. An investigator can be your eyes, ears, etc. If you develop a good trusting relationship with your investigator their observations during your case will give you great relief even if it is something you don’t want to hear. Sometimes bad news is a lot more palatable if it is coming from the right direction or person.

A private investigator can be there with you from beginning to the end. Unlike relying on law enforcement, which is becoming increasingly frustrating for people. Hiring a private investigator allows you to have a routine connection to your case or issue. That connection can be much more satisfying in the end knowing that no matter what the outcome is you were along for the process with someone and not just an incident number on a police department computer.

When considering the use of and hiring a private investigator you have options. Unlike filing a police report when you get assigned an officer that you may or may not like or having to hire a certain attorney because of limited finances or other reasons with an investigator you get to choose. Shop for your investigator. Obviously, things like costs come into play but with something as intimate as what you’re embarking, on please consider the investigator’s history, reviews, integrity, optimism, truthfulness, empathy, knowledge, and are they the right fit for you. Realize that you will be working with this person in one way or another so hopefully your personalities click and your thought process is on the same wavelength.

I often get asked what is a huge indicator when initially speaking to investigative companies that a person should be paying attention to. My answer is very simple. Listen to the answers the investigator gives you. If it a sales pitch and they seem to be upselling your problem or are they being upfront telling you the pros and cons of your investigation. A good investigator will always start with what I call “the path of least resistance” when starting an investigation. If an investigator is trying to sell you on some big package of investigative hours and surveillance items how can they possibly know what your case entails until they get their feet wet? A good investigator will always want to try the early and easy items first to get a better handle on what they are dealing with and get up to speed on how to properly advise you.

The decision you make on hiring an investigator can make or break the outcome of your situation. Choose wisely!

If you’re thinking of hiring a private investigator in the Arizona area, contact me today via Atwell Investigations (623) 229-8005 or email at atwell.investigations@gmail.com!