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  • Private Sector Investigator Positions

    It's been a while since I visited this site and even longer since I posted. But some of the old-timers here might remember me from many years back. Officer.com has always been a source of great information and direction, and that's why I'm back.

    Here's the very short version of my story.

    I work FT in advertising sales, doing essentially the same job with the same company for the last 17 years. It's provided me a very good income over the years and lots of flexibility in how I do my job.

    Seven years ago I attended police academy in night school. For the last six years I've been employed as a part-time officer for two departments, working an average of 2-3 shifts per week.

    I love law enforcement. I hate my day job, for reasons too numerous to get into here. Twice now I've had the opportunity to become FT LE with the highest-paying department in our area. The problem is, that income is still only about 50% of what I (and my family) are used to. For this reason, as well as many others, I've decided not to pursue a FT career in LE.

    However, I've decided I need to make a career move. I was looking for something that will provide me an income that's at least closer to what I currently earn, but be a little more closely related to law enforcement/investigations. I plan to continue on in my PT capacity as an officer.

    I've had two career options suggested: insurance company investigator and state government regulatory enforcement (I happen to live in close proximity to 6-10 insurance companies' HQs, as well as our state capital).

    So I'm looking for any information people would be willing to share about what they know regarding these kinds of positions. Some specific questions I have from the start include:

    -Does a person with my employment history stand a chance in obtaining something in either of those fields?

    -Where can I go or who can I talk to to learn more about these areas?

    -What kind of competition am I likely to run up against in my job hunt?

    -Are there other fields that satisfy my wants that I may have overlooked?

    At this point I am open to all information anyone is willing to provide.
    Caution and worry never accomplished anything.

  • #2
    Try looking into retail Loss Prevention, with LE background you could be considered for a LP Manger or even a Market level position. There are a lot of LP positions out there that pay very well. LPjobs.com
    "Then there are sheepdogs," he went on, "and I'm a sheepdog. I live to protect the flock and confront the wolf."

    People who love sausage and people who believe in justice should never watch either of them being made. ~Otto Bismarck

    "Don't put yourself in a position to investigate yourself" ~CommonSense

    "Now, what is the rule?" "Protect myself at all times."

    sigpic

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    • #3
      I guess I hadn't really thought about LP, and I'm glad you bring it up.

      My only exposure to those in LP are the ones working the grocery stores in my area, usually when I get called for shoplifter pickups. My impression is that the salaries associated with this kind of work are lower than what I'd be looking for. But maybe my view of the field is narrow. If anyone has any extra insight on that, I'd certainly welcome it. I'll also check out the website you suggested.
      Caution and worry never accomplished anything.

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      • #4
        My experience with high level LP managers is that they are promoted from within and/or have significant LP experience with another company. IMO, a guy like you is not going to get a well paid LP job.

        Do you have a degree? Most of these positions require a degree or significant police experience. Entry level ins. investigators don't make much money, either. They are also subject to the whims of the insurance industry and you may find yourself without a job after a merger, downsizing, etc.

        I'm guessing you live in the midwest. What kind of money are we talking about. If you don't want to say what you make, tell me how much you are looking for. Without knowing anymore than I do, I'm guessing that you are going to have to move into a smaller house and have a major lifestyle change.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by just joe View Post
          My experience with high level LP managers is that they are promoted from within and/or have significant LP experience with another company. IMO, a guy like you is not going to get a well paid LP job.
          This is not always true, I know from first hand experience that someone coming from the outside could get hired on at a high position. Places like Traget and Wal-Mart will SOMETIMES start in the $100K plus pay range.
          You do not greet death, you punch him repeatedly in the throat until he drags you away...

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          • #6
            Originally posted by PigsdoFly View Post
            Places like Traget and Wal-Mart will SOMETIMES start in the $100K plus pay range.
            I gotta get out of banking. We pinch ALL the pennies...

            In the past we have only hired from within. And usually we look for job related experience figuring that a person with the right attitude can be taught to investigate.

            With advertising sales as a background, I'd look for a compliance type position in that field. Then you could use your prior job experience.

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            • #7
              While anything is possible, I would consider that scenario beyond the realm of probability given what we know about the kirch's experience. Out of curiosity, what was the background and education of this 100K LP man?

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              • #8
                Another angle has been presented to me, via PM. Maybe some others here can shed some more light on it.

                I originally considered private investigative work, something I've done on a limited basis for a short time in the past. I liked the work, but I knew that getting into the field at my experience level would likely mean pay lower than the police work I've already passed on.

                It's been suggested that I could serve a role in business development for a PI/Security company. That way I can lead with my strongest asset, namely, nearly 20 years of experience in sales, marketing and advertising. But I can parlay that role into some investigative work as part of the job. As it was presented to me, there is no shortage of people in that field with prior LE/investigative experience, but the sales/marketing/management backgrounds are pretty thin.

                Comments? Thoughts? Suggestions?
                Caution and worry never accomplished anything.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Hopefully there's a regional difference; I can only speak to my limited experience in CA. I've known a number of cops who have left LE and gone private, some who I worked with as cops at my department and others who were already private with whom I worked as counterparts when i was a detective.

                  Here, there is a decent chance you will face competition for corporate investigative positions (where the real money is) from retired cops. There are a lot of corporations with internal investigative branches, and it seems that everyone I've spoken with says that they prefer former cops with investigative experience as detectives. It makes sense; if you want a good pilot you hire someone who was trained by the government (military); if you want a good investigator you also hire one who has done it full time and been properly trained by other full timers (LE).

                  Corporate is where I see guys making big bucks, and by that I mean more than they made as cops. Heck one bank investigator I worked cases with was a retired captain, and made more at the bank than he did as a captain! That still might not measure up to the salary you're used to, I don't know. Either way, were you here, you'd probably be submitting an app against a retired cop who has years of investigative experience under his belt already and the connects that come with it.

                  I don't mean to bust any bubbles ... just giving my perceptions. If you're used to making twice what a cop makes I just don't see a LE/security/PI job that's going to meet what you're used to.

                  Either way, I hope you prove me wrong! Best of luck to you.

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                  • #10
                    No offense taken. I knew from the get-go that I have my work cut out for me and walking in to the 'perfect job' might be nothing more than a pipe dream. That's why I'm here, doing my research and looking for solid advice and ideas. That's what this and other sites are great for.

                    And you've just provided me another area of inquiry -- banks. Thanks!
                    Caution and worry never accomplished anything.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by just joe View Post
                      While anything is possible, I would consider that scenario beyond the realm of probability given what we know about the kirch's experience. Out of curiosity, what was the background and education of this 100K LP man?

                      He was a Major in he Marines and had a B.S. Pretty crazy huh? I didnt believe him at first.
                      You do not greet death, you punch him repeatedly in the throat until he drags you away...

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by PigsdoFly View Post
                        This is not always true, I know from first hand experience that someone coming from the outside could get hired on at a high position. Places like Traget and Wal-Mart will SOMETIMES start in the $100K plus pay range.
                        At Wal-Mart the most you will make as a salaried LP Manager is around 65,000 a year plus a 10% bonus depending on how well the sales and accidents are in your particular store. I believe you can make more at Target but not much more. The money would be in positions where you are over several stores such as a District LP Manager or Investigator. I know for a fact that people with LE background get considered for positions like these. Good luck.
                        "Then there are sheepdogs," he went on, "and I'm a sheepdog. I live to protect the flock and confront the wolf."

                        People who love sausage and people who believe in justice should never watch either of them being made. ~Otto Bismarck

                        "Don't put yourself in a position to investigate yourself" ~CommonSense

                        "Now, what is the rule?" "Protect myself at all times."

                        sigpic

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Again, without knowing what you consider to be a bare bones salary, you will need to find one of the major national/international security or PI firms to make a living doing business development. The small and mid level operations simply can't afford you. I seriously doubt that they will allow you to do business devopment and PI work. I have known a few PIs and that line of work (from what I have been told) is generally feast or famine. Again, without knowing anymore than I do, you seem to have an entry level skill set for LE but you want the salary of a command officer or regional manager. That is not going to happen. There are simply to many retired police supervisors and federal agents out there. You cannot compete against that. In order to get out of your line of work and get into LE it sounds like you (and your family) are going to have to make a significant sacrifice that you are not ready to make. Nothing wrong with that. You need to think about your family.

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                          • #14
                            bumpity bump

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                            • #15
                              Is the reverse beneficial as well? Experience in private sector investigations, then parlaying that in to governmental investigations and/or law enforcement? I know a few folks that have retired into the private industry from LE careers or investigative positions, but not many that started in the private sector then moved in to civil service or governmental jobs.

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