Chicago Private Detective - Private Investigators performing Private Investigations since 1997

How do you choose a PI?

Choosing your PI
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There are a lot of private investigators out there and deciding which one is right for you can be confusing. Here are a few suggestions to help you make an informed decision...

     Is the person you're considering hiring actually licensed by the State of Illinois as a Licensed Private Detective or do they only have a "PERC" Card?
Virtually everyone you contact will tell you they are a "PI", but the difference in credentialing is huge. The State of Illinois allows two classifications for Private Detectives.... 1) Licensed Private Detective 2) Permanent Employee Registration Card (PERC) holder. Either individual can - and will - refer to themselves as Private Investigators.
     A Licensed Private Detective is an individual who passed the Illinois state certification exam. This comprehensive exam is difficult and it has a failure rate of over 70% for first time exam takers. A "PI" who only holds a PERC card is an entry level "apprentice" to the private investigation profession who never passed any state certified examination for professional competency. Illinois law also requires PERC card holders to work for a licensed detective agency under the direct supervision of a Licensed Private Detective. Don't pay the professional's hourly rate for an apprentice's experience and skills. Ask them when they took and passed their professional certification exam to become a Licensed Private Detective.
       Is the person - and/or the detective agency -  you are considering hiring free from professional discipline and litigation?
    The  Illinois Department of Professional Regulation will provide you discipline history, and the previously mentioned licensing information for free, on-line if you take 5 minutes to visit their website. Don't trust your investigation to someone who has a track record that includes sloppy work, violation of administrative rules, or even breaking the law.
      Does the person you're considering really know Illinois law?
     Some of those in the private detective industry actually ridicule prior law enforcement experience saying it is unnecessary for the private sector. There are certainly many successful, competent private investigators who never pursued a career in law enforcement. Some simply chose the private sector and had no desire to become law enforcement officers. Prior police experience - in and of itself - is no guarantee that a person will become a good PI, however, no one should deny the fact that months of training in a police academy, and the continuing education/training that follows an officer through his or her career has value. It's inconceivable that anyone would dispute any police officer who graduates an Illinois certified police academy knows more about Illinois law than someone who does not attend and graduate. Knowledge of Illinois law is very important when the strategy for your case is being planned. Even relatively minor violations of Illinois law can result in evidence being excluded and expose you to liability.  Common Sense will tell you there is no substitute for decades of meaningful Investigative Experience.
     Who is the investigator that will actually handle your case? Does that person truly know how to investigate your case?
Perhaps more than any other profession Private Investigation attracts "wannabe's" and people who really have no business offering professional investigative services to the public. Thanks to TV portrayals, novels, and the movies PI's appear to have interesting, exciting businesses and lifestyles. This fiction attracts scores of people seeking an attractive career. Some of these folks learn our profession the correct way.... by spending years learning the fundamentals of investigation, interviewing, and surveillance. This can be done by learning the craft in either the public or private sectors. Many others simply go through the motions by telling potential clients they have "law enforcement investigative experience", or "executive protection experience" when, in fact, they were court room bailiffs who never investigated a case in their careers, and opened doors for judges as they entered and left court rooms. Some may have taken self defense course, or obtained a Black Belt, 10 or even 15 years ago... and have never been in a dojo or gym since. Still others took a 2 or 3 day correspondence course on surveillance, or interrogation, and now advertise themselves as experts and expect you to be their guinea pigs as they attempt to gain practical experience..... while their law enforcement counterparts not only took intensive accredited courses and and spent years, or even decades, honing their craft. 
     Are they truly focused on conducting Private Investigations, or are they all things to all people?
At RWS the only thing we do is Private Investigation....and we do them professionally. Are you considering hiring a security guard, or bodyguard company that only conducts Private Investigations as a sideline? Is the "detective agency" you're considering actually just a retail store that sells spy equipment (much of it illegal to use according to both state and federal law) as their primary line of business, and conducts private investigations on an occasional basis?  
Your investigation is too important for you to hire a pretender, "wannabe", or inexperienced investigator. If they claim to have experience be sure to get specifics. Exactly who did they work for? How long were they there? What investigations have they worked? What awards have they won? There are a lot of other important considerations. Feel free to call us at 630 377-4011 for a free, confidential consultation. We'll be happy to answer any questions you may have.     

Call our toll free number (866) 377-4011 for additional information