Criminal and other undesirable behaviors among human beings have been in existence for as long as the history of mankind. There has therefore been a need to stem these problems since they affect the members of a society either directly or indirectly. The government has the sole responsible of ensuring the security and general well-being of its citizens. Investigators play a great role in finding out the perpetrators of crime and hence help minimize these incidences. The essay compares the public and private investigators.
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Public investigators are government law enforcement officers whose mandate is controlled by the U.S laws. Most public investigators include those from the FBI and are majorly engaged in criminal and civil law. Some of the major investigations carried out by these investigators include drug trafficking, child trafficking and kidnapping, bank robbery, fraud, terrorism, abuse of public office and cyber crime (Saferstein, 2000).
It is important to note that these investigators usually undergo some form of training in agency training institutions in addition to the high school or college education. The minimum enrolment criteria into such institutions vary based on height, weight, sight and general body fitness.
The intense training in such institutions is culminated by an on-job induction and practice. The police colleges majorly specialize in criminology and police science courses since these are the venture fields for the investigators. The state categorically lays down some policies that govern the work of these investigators (Saferstein, 2000). Licensure is usually considered a key factor in this practice.
FBI investigators, for instance, are required to work under several terms such as identifying themselves to the suspects before conducting an investigation. This ensures that the correct due process in enforcement of the law is followed. It should be noted that the findings obtained by public investigators form the basis of eventual prosecution and trial in a court of law (Kelly & Phillip, 2004).
The inculcation of a value system among the public investigators is important in order to make work easier for the detectives. The job is usually risky and involves working within odd hours. It therefore requires a great degree of determination and discipline. Several methods are employed by these detectives to help in the investigation process. Forensic science is usually used widely.
Others include biological tracing, chemical tracing, physical evidence, identification and facial reconstruction. Biological and chemical tracing are both quantitative and qualitative tests that are carried out in government labs to establish paternity links (Saferstein, 2000).Forensic science is of importance to the public investigators especially where foul play is suspected.
A person left his country for another and committed a theft crime in the foreign country. The crime he committed was not considered a capital offence that guaranteed a capital sentence. It came as a surprise for him when investigations found him guilty and was eventually sentenced to death. Such scenarios are common in the U.S especially due to the high rate of immigration.
Such cases are a tough test to the public investigators. Some cross-border cases are usually difficult to handle and investigate especially due to the varying laws. However, these variations are usually not a deterrent to the investigators who apply the law in investigation of cases for people who enjoy U.S citizenship.
Private investigators, on the other hand, are also common in the U.S due to the high level of specialization so desired in service delivery. In fact most people consider hiring these investigators for quality of service rendered and also for the high level of professionalism employed.
There are different types of investigators including; computer forensic investigators, corporate investigators, legal investigators, financial investigators and loss prevention agents (Saferstein, 2000). The nature of their work makes them to give the best since they do what they know best. Most of them are college diploma holders or graduates in their respective fields.
A person dealing with computer forensic investigation will do it better than a person who has done law. Most financial investigators have a financial educational background. Service delivery here is based on knowledge and a mastery of several investigation techniques. Enrolment into an investigation academy is not a consideration in this case. However, on-the-job training is evident.
Relating the theoretical information with the actual steps, skills and attitudes required in investigation takes some time. The most unique and striking feature with this type of investigation is that information that accrues from these kind of investigations cannot be directly used for trial purposes in a court of law. It should therefore be thoroughly investigated by a public investigator before being rendered a court recipe.
Several scientific methods are used for investigation purposes by private investigators depending on the nature of investigation (Saferstein, 2000).
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A computer forensic investigator investigating cyber crime will solely depend on computerized evidence as opposed to a financial investigator who will rely on mathematical controls to investigate fraud or mismanagement of funds. Use of forensic science may be applied by legal investigators to settle legal contestations (Saferstein, 2000).The choice of what scientific mode of investigation to apply is cost-dependent and results oriented.
Private investigators usually work hand in hand with lawyers. The lawyers aid in the interpretation of the law since most of the investigators are ignorant of the law systems. It is from these collaboration that suspected criminals are taken to court if found guilty through a due process. It is however difficult to investigate a financial, legal or even corporate crime in an outside country since the laws vary.
The choice of whether to go for public or private investigators is purely subjective. According to Kelly and Phillip (2004), most people will prefer their cases investigated by the public investigators due to the knowledge they have concerning criminal law and police science. Others, on the contrary, will prefer to deal with private investigators that are professionals in different specialization fields.
The fact that public investigators enjoy a government backing makes some people feel secure while dealing with them (Kelly & Phillip, 2004). The fact that some private investigators can operate without licenses in some states may be a plus for the investigators themselves but such a feature may not be fulfilling to a client. He/she may not be at peace while dealing with unlicensed investigators.
The fact that both aim at establishing crimes committed and the perpetrators involved is worthy to note. Crimes that exceed jurisdictional territory are usually problematic to both public and private investigators. Similarly, forensic science can be used by both investigators to investigate crime (Saferstein, 2000).
A case involving Richard Company and Benson attracted several observations and lessons. Benson was sued for fraud. The company engaged the services of a public investigator who implicated Benson to charges of fraud. Benson on the other hand sought the services of a private investigator who instead accused the company of accusing Benson on a wrong premise.
A thorough investigation by the private investigator showed that the company was indeed a partnership between Richard and Benson and suing Benson would automatically dissolve the partnership since there was no clear line of separation between the partner and the partnership.
However, the decision to dissolve the partnership was agreed on a mutual basis by both of them. It is evident that a thorough understanding of the field of investigation is the major difference between public and private investigators (Kelly & Phillip, 2004).
It can therefore be concluded that both private and public investigators strive towards ensuring that crime levels are mitigated. The efforts may not have an impact today but a morally upright generation can be nurtured if the citizens actively participate in the dissemination of crucial criminal information. Both public and private can help in ensuring that justice is done as far as prosecution of suspects is concerned.
Kelly, J. F. & Phillip, K. W. (2004). Tainting Evidence: Inside the Scandals at the FBI Crime Lab. New York: Free Press
Saferstein, R (2000). Criminalistics: An Introduction to Forensic Science. New York: Prentice-Hall.