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A Bulldog’s approach to Private Investigation

June 22, 2011

Excerpts from a recent email I wrote a newly trained private investigator, eager to enter the field:

Hey, I got your message.

Some clarifications from my end. Sometimes I don’t explain things well and I acknowledge that. In terms of the ‘employment as needed’ arrangement: Yes, I understand. That would be the way I would want it to. In terms of having beneficial ideas: Yes, I suspect you do.

Regarding the particular process serving assignment you’re referring to.  I also don’t like serving hospital warrants in debt, and approaching people trying to make it in hard times. “Surprise, the hospital is suing you…” But I also can’t turn my nose up at a sizable business contract, and it was sizable.

[Confidential elaboration]

Anyway, what transpired taught me a few things:

[Confidential elaborations]

Have I turned work down? Yes… because at times I do let my conscious decide for me. At times I’ve made that refusal, and possibly a bad business decision because morally I felt the need to gently tell the client: “thanks, but no thanks.” And so I have. But you only get so many of those ‘sorry, not interested’ refusals before you are really hurting yourself and your company. So on the hospital ‘warrants in debt” process-serving assignment, we’ll just have to just agree to disagree. To put it  in perspective, my heart agrees with you. As a business owner however, I cannot.

[Confidential Elaboration]

On the subject of private investigation assignments: I think that perhaps you have some misconceptions on how to work cases.  The scenario is not one where  essentially a prospective client calls to discuss a sensitive matter,  you decide to accept the assignment and head out there. That’s not really the big picture, it’s merely the beginning.

Working  in-person surveillance is not difficult compared to the rest of the story.  There is a WHOLE LOT more to it.

Do you need me to be more specific?

Ok, consider this particular situation:

While working one particular domestic case I’ve come to realize no unsuspicious position exists along the road to conduct surveillance from a vehicle. The residents are very wary of any unfamiliar vehicles parked along the road. With no location to safely watch the subject’s property and record activity, many private investigators would of resorted to sitting some distance away from the house and monitoring the route of travel. That approach didn’t cut it for me. Over time, I came up with plan B: I hid a bullet camera and a motion sensitive recorder in a clump of shrubs on the side of the road. Next, I lugged a high capacity, deep cycle, AGM battery to the same location. The battery alone cost in the neighborhood of $250 dollars and weighed over 70 lbs. Sneaking this heavy and expensive equipment out there involved both physical exertion and financial risk. If someone was to damage, destroy, or remove it, I wind up absorbing all the replacement expenses.

“Bulldog-cam” has certainly proven worth the effort. The motion sensitive camera has revealed both important evidence and previously un-witnessed patterns of behavior. Being positioned in such a way that it monitors and records all traffic on the road in question, Bulldog-cam also captures the comings and goings of my subject. This sort of detailed information might prove absolutely crucial to my client’s case.

Now, before I was able to set up the camera, take a deep breath and carry that heavy equipment out into the woods unobserved, I had to prepare the equipment and perform testing. Once on location, there is no dress rehearsal and you better know what to expect of your hidden camera equipment. Another thing to consider is that during installment I’m technically trespassing, granted it’s a vacant lot with no posted signs or dwellings. I still have no permission to hook up the camera there, and switch out the battery from time to time.

First I had to have the camera, a variety of lenses, a range finder to test ‘Bulldog-cam’ at various distances, and approximate the anticipated distance to vehicles traveling by. No one writes you checks for this sort of extra effort, at least, no one writes them to me But I’m not always looking for a check. Instead, the “how the hell did you manage to get all these images day after day… the camera was only 300 feet from the house??” compliments makes it all worth it.

A couple weeks ago, an attorney summed up Bulldog persistence this way: “Mr. Pollock, I’ve been practicing law for over 25 years. Excuse my language, but that’s about the most resourceful, ballsy, out of the box, determined approach I’ve EVER heard of a PI using. (Pause) Know something? I like it… Keep up the good work.”

James “Bulldog” Pollock

Bulldog Investigations

Virginia DCJS License #11-6038

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