As you are aware, it has become essential to stay abreast of the latest surveillance technology to successfully do your job in the service of process and private investigations industry. That means keeping on top of the latest gadgets and testing their use in the field. Being prepared for anything is the name of the game when conducting surveillance. Regardless of the type of surveillance, there are many basic items that every server and investigator should have in their vehicle and on the job.
I recently spoke with a few process servers and private investigators to share their thoughts and suggestions on the technological gadgets they feel are most crucial for success in the surveillance industry. Here is what I found:
Top 10 Gadgets Recommended for Field Surveillance
#1 Digital camera with Bluetooth capabilities and a large zoom lens are essential. You will also need a laptop with you in the field to be able to run a license plate and/or to immediately download your evidence, then upload it into a secure online dropbox for your client to view.
#2 Digital recorder with a USB connection and flash drive. There are instances when your captured audio file requires immediate download so that you can email the file for transcription. For example, you have a witness in the field and you’ve obtained their permission to record your conversation (if your state laws required consent prior to audio recording) . This type of recording removes any guesswork after the fact. This is a small device that fits in your pocket and can be purchased for as low as $70!
Suggestion: Olympus digital recording devices
#3 Dashboard Camera with a suction cup application for car surveillance
Suggestion: Z-Drive HDI Dash Cam
#4 Motion Activated Hidden Camera Can take incredible footage via motion detection.
Suggestion: Bushnell HDI trail Camera with Night Vision
#5 Night Vision Goggles For obvious reasons…
Suggestion: Night Owl Optics http://www.nightowloptics.com/
#6 Covert Video Camera Inconspicuous gadgets like a car remote key chain/pen/baseball cap. There is even an iPhone case with a built in camera that detects motion and body heat to record both audio and video.
Suggestion: Great video on car remote covert camera https://youtu.be/ew0e14yIQ5I
#7 GPS Tracking Device *Perhaps a bit questionable. A tracking system sticker with an RFID chip can then be monitored via smartphone app.
Suggestion: The Trackr https://www.thetrackr.com/sticker
#8 Radar Gun to capture the speed of cars. Let’s say you have a client with a governmental claim to change the speed limit.
Suggestion: Bushnell Velocity radar Gun http://www.bushnell.com/spectator/outdoor-technology/velocity-speed-gun
#9 Traffic Counter Perhaps your client/attorney wants to know the # of pedestrians and # of cars that drive by for a certain street corner where there is no crosswalk to present as evidence.
Suggestion: Diamond Traffic Portable Counter http://diamondtraffic.com/productlist/Portable-Counters
#10 Binoculars There are so many on the market. Find the one most suitable for your field needs.
Other Food for Thought Suggestions that are essential to field surveillance…
- DC to AC Power Inverter 5. Battery Jump Starter/Compressor
- MonoPod/TriPod 6. Extra Memory Cards
- Toilet Paper 7. $40/cash
- Bottles of water 8. Flashlight
Now let’s talk software technology and the importance of becoming tech savvy . Lots of surveillance work is done with surveillance equipment, however, process servers and private investigators perform plenty of their tasks using computers, as well. It’s a profession that is getting increasingly technological. Therefore on the flip side of the field: at the office, servers and PI’s spend much of their time accessing databases and obtaining information. You may need to unveil information while scouring the internet to extract crucial data regarding a case. So, I’ve gathered a short list of suggested databases to explore:
Tracers Info: http://www.tracersinfo.com/index.php?id=privateinvest
Skip Smasher: http://www.skipsmasher.com/
Pacer Court (Public Access to Court Electronic Records): https://www.pacer.gov/
Perhaps most importantly, are the high level suggestions I gathered regarding networking.
RECOMMENDATION Become a member of as many associations as possible. Networking is crucial. Knowing your resources is essential.
RECOMMENDATION Keep up to date with laws and regulations. Servers and PI’s need access to private information and there are instances when governmental regulations may seem to hinder this line of work.
Finally, and maybe not as obvious as you think, is the need for an informative website with search engine optimization (SEO) as well as a robust, specialized software system specific to process servers to manage case tracking, dispatch solutions, task management, and auto reminders.
So that’s that.
What did we learn? —BE PREPARED FOR ANYTHING —
Submitted by: Irina Nordstrom – Tristar Software