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Keep Cool During Surveillance

Whenever you have to have extended surveillance in one spot, you may have a need to cool your vehicle without running the engine.  I know all about hot cars in South Texas.   They can become ovens.  A relatively inexpensive way you can keep your car cool, is to make your own Cooler-Top.   There are commercial alternatives out there, but making your own Cooler-Top is relatively easy and inexpensive.

The advantage to making your own Cooler-Top is you can modify this easily to fit whatever ice chest you may already have.  I had an old one that I have had for probably more than 25 years.  Ice chests that the lid can be removed can be used in more different places than one with a hinged lid – but either will work.  Sometimes it just becomes a pain keeping the lid propped open.

GPS Tracking - Stay Up on the Law

There are a lot of things happening with GPS Tracking.  In a nutshell, in Texas as a private investigator, you can put a GPS Tracker on a vehicle with the owner's permission.  Police need a court order or owner's permission. As far as State law goes and case law goes - what I know of as of today, there have been no clear-cut cases determining what the term owner means.  Texas is a community property state -  so even in cases where both the husband and wife are not on the title - they are still both owners of the vehicle.  This is obviously a factor in infidelity or divorce cases.  This is important because in Texas the "right to privacy" is a pretty big deal.

Things like "the right of privacy constitutes a legal injury for which a remedy will be granted." and anything that goes beyond the "expectation of privacy" can have dire consequences.

Chances are, as long as you have consent form an owner - you are likely to be OK from a criminal or Penal Code (16.06) violation standpoint.

However, now the Supreme Court of the United States is getting into this.  We do not want to be violating Federal Law.  They decided to look into a criminal investigation by the Police, but we may need to look into it more carefully for private investigations concerns.  The US Court of appeals in DC put it this way: "A reasonable person does not expect anyone to monitor and retain a record of every time he drives his car, including his origin, route, destination, and each place he stops and how long he stays there; rather, he expects each of those movements to remain 'disconnected and anonymous,"  according to circuit judge Douglas Ginsburg.

The case has not been heard yet, and it is about the warrant-less use of GPS trackers by police - but keep an eye on the case as it can have implications for the private eye.

Cnet has the story here.

Whatever you do - Stay Safe!

Tips for Choosing a PI

You should choose a Private Investigator who is local.  Why?  Because you need to be able to contact the investigator and talk to him or her about your case.  Most PI's will give free consultation.  It is a good idea to meet him or her face to face.

Does it matter if they have an Office or PO Box?  Remember, just because a Private Investigator advertises an office address doesn’t mean the Private Investigator is competent or professional.  There may be other reasons that they have office space leased or owned.  Many Professional Investigators who work from home are highly qualified and prefer to use a PO Box for their correspondence.

How important is their investigation experience?  Most investigators are quick to point out what experience and qualifications they have.Many former Police, Federal Agents, Military Investigators, and others go into the private investigations business.  Some have a easier time adjusting to the PI business than others, as private eyes are simply citizens who are licensed and have some expertise in investigations.  In Texas, at least, PI's are not given any special priviledges that a normal citzen doesn't have.  In Texas, for an investigator to have their own company, they must be licensed, insured, and have a minimum of 3 years investigations experience.

Does the Private Investigations Agency have business liability insurance?  In Texas to have a license, you must first be insured before you can get a license.

What if they sub-contract some work?  Often a private investigator will sub-contract out some of the work.  In Texas this is not a particul;alery big deal, as all investigators are required to inform the clients of subcaontractors and give them information like name and contact information and state investigations license number. Where vere you are as a client you should always be aware of what is happening concerning subcaontractors.  You should always inform the PI if you agree or disagree with it.  If there is an agency that does not do this - I would avoid them.  Most of this will be spelled out in the contract.

Can I just do the investigation myself?  Yes you can.  However, if you do not have the time and/or expertise, you may not be able to get the information you want.  If you try to investigate yourself and mess things up, it may be much more difficult, if not impossible fot the investigator to do the job.

Remember, you are the client - it means you need to stay on top of the situation.  Let the investigator do his or her job, but stay in touch and make sure they are working for you.   Like dealing with most "contractors" using common sense is the first thing.  Make sure you use a real licensed insured investigator.

Whatever you do - Stay safe!

July 2 a Famous Holiday?

To quote John Adams as he stated July 3, 1776, "The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more. You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not. " [sic]

The vote for Independence was on July 2, 1776 - a unanimous vote by all convened.  They were not able to sign the declaration until July 4, 1776.