Colorado Springs private investigator helps a women reunite with stolen puppy after Colorado Springs police refuses to pursue dognapper captured on surveillance video
By Susanna Speier
Denver Private Investigator Blog
"Junior had gotten out while I was at the store and I went around calling his name and calling it out for three hours" explains Colorado Springs resident, Brandy Trejo once she and her pit bull, Junior were reunited. She's been walking around the neighborhood calling the name of her missing dog for a few hours when a neighbor approached her, reporting that "she was driving right past my house and these two men said 'hey that’s my neighbor’s dog' and she didn’t know any better and handed the dog over."
See also: the Lost Llama of Loveland
Pit bull theft, unfortunately, is a problem in Colorado. Breeds with reputations as fighters get stolen and sold to dog fighting rings. "There are some bad people who want dogs for breeding purposes maybe they thought they could make money off of dog fighting. There’s a whole big thing going on in Colorado right now where people are stealing dogs for dog fighting and those are all pit bulls. I kept thinking you’d see him on TV and find out they’d busted a dog ring or something. That was my biggest fear," explains Trejo who thought the security camera footage and license place number would be sufficient for the police.
Fortunately, Brandy's across the street neighbor agreed to let Brandy and her husband view the security footage for the stretch of time Junior had gone missing. Sure enough, video evidence revealed what had happened along with the vehicle and the license plate that took Junior away.
Claiming it was out of their jurisdiction, "the police couldn’t do anything Trejo explains, and I decided to call a private investigator." Although Drivers Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) law precludes Colorado PIs from providing the residential addresses, Trailfinders wanted to help. They told Brandy, " it was the El Paso County Sheriff’s jurisdiction."
Unable to "just sit back and wait" Brandy headed over with the intention of driving around all the trailer parks in the jurisdiction to see if she could spot the car in the video footage. Without missing a beat, Trejo called the police and putting an officer on speaker phone, knocked on the door, confident that Junior was inside because the surveillance footage that matched the car outside. "It was very distinctive because I saw the license place on the footage and it has huge black rims on it so that’s something you can’t miss" she said.
“The private investigator pretty much told me what jurisdiction and a friend told me to call the police in the jurisdiction to see if they could help me but I wanted to find my dog and so I just went there and drove around I couldn’t sit back and wait," she explained when asked why she didn't take more precautions. She wanted Junior back. “The private investigator pretty much told me what jurisdiction and a friend told me to call the police in the jurisdiction to see if they could help me but I wanted to find my dog and so I just went there and drover around I couldn’t sit back and wait."
"If you get nothing for them then call me back. But don’t spend your money on me until you’ve exhausted your lead over there," Trailfinders told her. “The fact he didn’t take my money just told me what I needed to do – that was really great." Trejo reflects, "he said ‘try getting a hold of the local police department there and see what you can do. If they can’t help he would have gone to the house himself. But it turned out she was able to do that on her own.
"When (Junior's suspected captors) opened the door I showed the lady the flier and told them one of their neighbors called and said they had a puppy that looked like mine. That’s what I told them and when the opened the door I saw my puppy right there. She said she saw the dog on the road and was going to give him back. I know for a fact they were not planning on giving him back because he was wearing a $45 collar," she said, still reverberating from the shock of being let down by her local police.
“I had put all of my trust and hope into the police department I felt like the police are there to help you. Whenever they told me they couldn’t help me and I had put all my energy into getting information in the police and I’d lost all my hope and faith that my dog was coming back and then I found Trailfinders." Trejo says she cried the whole way home and the day after.
According to The Denver Channel, Denver City Council just voted to repeal it's 30 year pit bull ban. The repeal will take 90 days to go into effect so if you're a Denver resident considering pit bull guardianship you may also want to invest in security cameras and/or surveillance systems.
Castle Rock's town council repealed the ban in 2018 and if you reside in Lone Tree, Louisville or Commerce City the ban is still on so you're out of luck. The City of Aurora is still discussing whether or not to repeal it's pit bull ban.
By Susanna Speier
Denver Private Investigator Blogger
While exchanging emails with British Columbia Private Investigator, James Craig about what role private investigator ethics and legal regulations may have played in his decision to turn down an assignment offered him by an eager New York based publication --they wanted him to do drone surveillance on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, I also reached out to the Private Investigator Association of British Columbia (PIABC) to get the regulatory rundown. PIABC President/ Membership, Greg Tweed emailed a response that I am publishing in its entirety:
See also: Canadian private investigator refuses to investigate Meghan and Harry's retreat
Harry and Meghan
"With the speculated belief that Prince Harry and Duchess Megan Windsor may move to British Columbia at some point, the question about their privacy in terms of someone hiring a private investigator to follow or gather information about them arises.
In British Columbia, Private Investigators are licensed under the Security Services Act which outlines that private investigation work may be done in furtherance of an “Investigation”. The British Columbia Privacy legislation (Protection of Information Protection Act) sets out circumstances when a person’s privacy may be violated. In simple terms, if there is a breach of an agreement, contravention of an enactment of Canada or a province, a remedy or relief available under an enactment, prevention of fraud or securities trading matters, an “investigation” may be done without a person’s consent. Person’s gathering information in such circumstances are required to be licensed and further bound by requirements to protect the information they acquire and to whom they may disclose it.
So it is unlikely that a private investigation company in BC would undertake an investigation on someone’s behalf without all of the intended privacy safeguards being clearly understood and followed. They would risk not only their license to investigate, but whatever else follows from civil action or other enactments (such as trespassing). In addition, the Criminal Code of Canada sets out numerous offences in relation to harassment, watching and besetting, trespass by night, intimidation, mischief (obstructing, interrupting or interfering with the use of property or any person in the lawful use, enjoyment or operation of property) and video voyeurism, to name a few.
While the above outlines legal matters in Canada, it may be more important to understand the culture of how Canadians view celebrities and interactions with them. Canadians may be interested at a distance in celebrities, but generally it is not an obsession. Canadians are usually respectful. Many celebrities feel comfortable in Canada and are either ignored or viewed from a distance. Someone may try for an autograph, selfie or photo from a distance, but the context of the encounter seems to determine how people will behave. Vancouver is a hub of film making. Actors and actresses are commonly seen on the streets and in restaurants. By and large they are simply a curiosity."
Canadian Rockies private investigator refuses to run drone surveillance on Prince Harry and his wife Meghan
By Susanna Speier
Denver Private Investigator Blog
There are private investigators who would jump at the opportunity. An ongoing drone surveillance gig for a major media outlet could mean a stable, long-term assignment for a client with deep pockets. Moreover, "will travel" is prominently featured on British Columbia Private Investigator, James Craig's, homepage.
See also: What role does Canadian drone surveillance regulatory culture play in making Canada an attractive place for A list celebrities to avoid surveillance drones
Craig's firm, which has served Vancouver Island since 1986, certainly has the needed expertise. It was also just fifteen miles from the surveillance site. No wonder the prominent New York media outlet contacted him multiple times by phone and by email. But the seaside, hiking trails, farmers markets, wild osprey and river otters weren't what made the private investigator apprehensive. It was the assignment.
Victoria Times editor and publisher, Dave Obee, who Craig finally notified to explain what was going on, agreed. "They wanted to hire me to investigate Meghan and Prince Harry’s retreat" explained Craig by email. Evidently the media outlet, whose name was not disclosed also wanted the legal investigator to unearth into on the alleged Russian owner of the Sussex's new Canadian residence. "To search for any “dirt” I might be able to uncover," as Craig put it.
In an editorial that posted the morning of Sunday, January, 19th titled, "When royals visit here let them be, let them be" Obee formalized the Victoria newsroom's position: "the separation of Harry and Meghan from the Royal Family is big news around the world. Their connection to our Island is worthy of note, but their day-to-day existence here is not."
Obee went on to explain that the local British Columbia paper wanted no part in disrupting the life of the couple who was driven by tabloid harassment to relinquish their royal titles and retreat from public life. "My decision, not to investigate the matter concerning Harry and Meghan, was based purely on my own personal ethics," Craig explained when I asked whether licensing codes or potential legal repercussions factored into his decision.
"Ethical cods and legal repercussions are always professionally respected, but had nothing to do with my decision," he told me when he forwarded the letter he wrote to the Victoria Times Colonist, expressing his disgust over the media outlets' job offer woven into their ruthless and irreverence for Meghan and Harry's privacy.
The private investigator's "words certainly reinforced what we were thinking in the newsroom," Obee explained when I asked if his own article was prompted by the unusual occurrence. Private investigators rarely contact newspaper editors outside of trade industry publications. Obee said that a newsroom conversation was already underway when the private investigator's email arrived.
"in the end the column was motivated by the insanity of the British press here, chasing Meghan down as she goes about everyday things," Obee told me.
Finding peace, respite and most importantly, privacy in a town whose population is roughly the size of Glenwood Springs, Colorado will not be easy for the well known couple. But having the support of local Vancouver surveillance operatives and newspaper editors might make thing a little easier for them.
New Critics Choice Award for best limited series and best actor winner, "When They See Us," has litigation pending on grounds they make the controversial Reid Technique look bad
By Susanna Speier
Denver Private Investigator Blogger
Last night's Critics Choice Award for Limited Series went to Ava DuVernay for Netflix's "When They See Us" and Jharrel Jerome won for best actor in a limited series. The four episode, nonfiction drama chronicling the story of the five, innocent, young men who were falsely accused and imprisoned for a crime they didn't commit. Now the producers might be entering a different courtroom. One that is not being used as a film set.
See also: Why Innocent People Make False Confessions
The John E. Reid & Associates' pending litigation accuses Netflix and DuVernay of misrepresenting the Reid Technique. The Reid Technique is a sequence of interviews designed to elicit truth telling and factual analysis. "This procedure, termed a Behavior Analysis Interview, has become a standard investigative technique, especially since the passage of the Federal Employee Polygraph Act of 1988, which greatly restricts a private employer's use of polygraph," explains the firm's website.
The legal complaint document, which can be viewed here, claims defamation on grounds that the Reid technique does "not involve and prohibits striking or assaulting a subject, making any promises of leniency, denying a subject any rights, conducting excessively long interrogations and denying a subject any physical needs."
After learning of the firm's pending litigation against Netflix, long-time Colorado private investigator and former police detective and defense investigator, Ellis Armistead said that the Reid Technique is something that starts, "very benign and they (the investigators) say ‘you can go anytime you want.'”
As the interview progresses, things change. "If you look at some of these innocence cases and exoneration cases these people have been interviewed 11 hours with no sleep and no bathroom breaks. Plain rooms, no pictures no calendars no clocks."
Armistead was taught the Reid Technique in the 1970s. "It was then "the gold standard" of interview and interrogation methods." I show Armistead clips for the film set of the 1980s interrogation scenes which resonate with what he remembers. "We had rooms like that. We probably still do. It’s just dealing with this person one on one. If they were stone walling then you don’t get them food but the basic is you try and keep them on edge and uncertain" he recalls adding that he considers it to be potent yet dangerous tool used often by law enforcement.
"Sure, it produced results, but if you look at the infamous wrongful conviction, false confession, and exoneration cases, the Reid Technique was probably used in eliciting a confession." Ultimately he feels there are better methods.
Governments, national and international military and security professionals use the Reid technique. The company also trains businesses in the behavioral psychology based technique that "Reid claims—correctly—to be the leading trainer of police interrogation techniques in the country," according to Nancy Gertner and Dean A Strang's story in Law.com a section of the New York Law Journal.
Their story also points outs that although John E. Reid & Associates still denies fault in, what is widely known as the "Central Park Jogger Case," lead to all five of the accused being exonerated due to DNA evidence. The falsely accused, widely known as the "Central Park Five" went on to win a settlement against New York City and a portion of that settlement ended up in Colorado thanks to Korey Wise's generation donation to the CU School of Law Innocence Project.
Korey Wise, who barely survived the adult prison system and whose story is most gut wrenching of the series, was convicted on December 11, 1990. He wasn't exonerated until December 19, 2002.
Jharrel Jerome who portrayed Wise in the series took home a Best Actor in a Limited Series award from the Critics Choice. Director Ava DuVernay has also been nominated for a Directors Guild of America award.
Ted Johnson's Deadline article quotes Netflix and Ava DuVernay as saying that defamation lawsuit filed over the series should be dismissed as it is an attempt to stifle speech in the debate over police interrogation techniques.
See also: The Colorado Connection to Ava DuVernay's When They See Us
2020 forecast - what happens to salaries if the Colorado private investigator licensing law is sunset?
By Susanna Speier
Denver Private Investigator Blogger
According to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook the private detective industry is expected to grow 8% between 2018 and 2028. The annual wage average was $50,090 in 2018 as "demand for private detectives and investigators will stem from security concerns and from the need to protect confidential information." The project that the field is expected to continue attracting qualified people, "including relatively young retirees from law enforcement and the military. Candidates with related work experience, as well as those with strong interviewing skills and familiarity with computers, may find more job opportunities than others," they add. But what happens to this playing field if the mandatory licensing law is taken away?
In effort to obtain an answer by zooming in on Colorado specific-data, I punched in the address of the Ross Investigators, PC, Inc., 1665 Grant St. #304, Denver, CO. 80203 What do the earnings of Colorado private investigators working in or nearby the firm look like now under the current licensing program.
Note that the local and regional salary growth projections do not take into account the late 2019 numbers which may have been impacted by the Department of Regulatory agencies' Sunset Report and DORA's subsequent decision to end the Colorado licensing program by the end of 2020.
Colorado's mandatory licensing program has been in place for half a decade and projecting salaries based on these numbers is problematic but they are still worth looking at.
See also: Colorado Department of Regulatory Agency 2019 Sunset Review recommends the General Assembly sunset to Colorado Private Investigator Licensing Program
Honing in on states without licensing programs --there are only five of them-- might shake things up a bit. Or at least make them more interesting. What happens in states where anyone can hang a shingle and proclaim themselves a private eye? Will the field become saturated or will the cream rise to the top anyway? If DORA's plan to sunset the private investigator licensing program goes through by the end of 2020 will the field become more or less competitive?
The impact of state licensing programs on private investigator salaries
The BLS provides a comprehensive median salary range breakdown for most but not all of those states if you isolate the stats. Wyoming is the only relevant data that is missing.
South Dakota, at $17,770 annually below the national average and $8.54 annually below the national average wins the Golden Raspberry or Razzie for worst salary in an unlicensed state. Boooo South Dakota!Of the five states in the country that don't have licensing programs, fifty percent have salaries that fall below the national average and fifty percent have salaries that exceed the national average. Colorado hovers around the average salary with Denver and the surrounding metro area (which includes Aurora, Lakewood, Englewood, Parker, Castle Rock, Glendale and Boulder).
Colorado's local salary averages do not take real estate, cost of living, unemployment rates or health insurance costs into account. What can we learn from them, regardless. More importantly, is Colorado at risk of becoming another South Dakota or Mississippi which hails at $9,920 annually below the national average?
Perhaps if DORA successfully sunsets the Colorado licensing law salaries will stay the same. Because sure, anyone can hang a shingle but consumers know how to disseminate between whose real-deal and whose not. Or do they?
The Denver Private Investigator Blog will continue to report on this topic. If you are a stakeholder who wants to weigh in, please contact us via email, Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.
Colorado Department of Regulatory Agency 2019 Sunset Review recommends the General Assembly sunset the Colorado Private Investigator Licensing Program
By Susanna Speier
Denver Private Investigator Blogger
On October 15, 2019, the Department of Regulatory Agencies announced the completion of a year-long review of Colorado's mandatory private investigator licensing law that took effect in 2015. The review concluded that the licensing law was unnecessary due to lack of demonstratable harm.In other words, because the licensing program did not protect the public from any documented harm or risk of harm DORA recommended the mandatory licensing law be repealed by September of 2020.
See also: investigators weigh in on when to withhold a report and when not to.
In their November newsletter the Professional Private Investigators Association of Colorado (PPIAC) Vice President of Legislation, Robert Orozco announced the PPIAC's commitment to supporting and maintaining the mandatory licensing law for as long as possible. Disagreeing with the conclusion of DORA's Sunset Review, PPIAC Chair John Morris and members with specific examples of ethical violations from licensed and unlicensed private investigators have come forth with grievances. The PPIAC has also hired a lobbyist to work to maintain the program.
We will be posting updates on legislative hearings in the new year. Want to read DORA's sunset review? Go here for the full report.
By Susanna Speier
Denver Private Investigator Blogger
The recovery can take months and even years. Some victims of slip and fall injuries never recover. In circumstances where investigations are vital to the outcome of legal claims, the atmospheric conditions surrounding accidents and injuries require expert witness testimony.
Of course, if you look out the window or step outside you already know that snow is falling. You can follow @MikeNelson247 on Twitter for a personable rundown on what the storm is doing using satellite radar analysis, get bird feeder tips and see cute dog photos. Broadcaster and Denver 7 chief meteorologist, Mike Nelson also does something he describes as, "forecasting in reverse."
Forensic meteorology was not what Nelson aspired to do as a child. “I liked watching storms and anticipating what would happen next with the sky,” explains Nelson. “You get more experience and realize how weather effects everybody.”
See also: Apps for private investigators - Dark sky weather prediction software's unique "time machine" feature.
Looking back now, thirty of the forty years he has spent reporting on weather have also included providing forensic meteorology consultations and expert witness testimony.
I met Mike last week at a Denver Press Club event. He was guest bartending to benefit the Colorado nonprofit animal adoption, 501(c)3, Pawsco. We chatted about how he assists personal injury law firms with everything from slip and fall cases to fire investigations. Elucidating how atmospheric conditions lead to lighting strike cases and falls is such a niche industry that the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn't even provide it's own listing but instead includes it in under their Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH)'s "Atmospheric Scientist, Including Meteorologist" category, defining it as, "use historical weather data to reconstruct the weather conditions for a specific location and time. They investigate what role weather played in unusual events such as traffic accidents and fires. Forensic meteorologists may be called as experts to testify in court."
For Nelson, testifying in court isn't always necessary. “I’m willing to go and testify” he says but “sometimes it doesn’t get to that level.”
“Weather effects everything we do. If you are analyzing a case it may be important to know the atmospheric conditions” he says when asked what advice he has for private investigators.It can also be applicable when thinking about a crime and what the weather conditions were that could have a huge impact on the evidence. "There are people out there that can help you with that,” he says when asked what advice he'd give Colorado private investigators.
"Doing forensic work we can try to help people recover something they lost" he says, reiterating that the difference between forecasting and reconstructing the past is that "one is moving forward in time and one is figuring out weather conditions months or years earlier."
This is more nuanced than simply looking up a report detailing what the weather was the day of the accident. Slip and falls, for example, have many hidden complexities. You can say, “well the sun was out how can there be ice. If a drainpipe was melting you could have an icy patch there."
If it was a sunny day then the person who fell may have been less concerned about ice at the time of the injury. If, by contrast, it is a snowy day, they would have been more careful. "But if it’s a sunny day you’re looking around you're not looking down at the ground" Nelson says.
By Susanna Speier
Denver Private Investigator Blogger
Even in a fieldwork heavy career like private investigation, a disproportionate amount of the legal support industry staff days are spent in drably designed office spaces. Denver's co-working spaces are bountiful but the need for confidentiality frequently precludes a firm that isn't in a position to rent a co-working suite. Meanwhile office spaces can remain as austere and impersonal as the file folder piles they contain.
Enter the 2019 holiday season with it's new opportunities for helping your fellow private investigator friends, colleagues or spouses personalize their workspace in a way that is convivial, contemporary and on-brand. The right office gift not only makes a private detective's practice more appealing to coworkers and colleagues who spend an inordinate number of hours working in this space. A well decorated space appeals to prospective clients as the firms transition to 2020.
See also: gift ideas for private investigators
A hard-boiled private eye may not want to admit it but their office space can make or break a client or collegial relationship. While a single poster or coaster referencing a gumshoe's early fictional or historic inspiration may not make or break a client, it is a great conversation piece. Gifting the PI in your life something to capture the imagination of a prospective client or legal partner who is unfamiliar with the field helps their business. It is also a fun way to re energize a slow afternoon by reminding private detectives of the field's rich literary and cinematic history.
These are our office gift suggestions for the 2019 holiday season:
1.) Pinkerton Logo on Wood Panel by Vass Design: obtain this and you wont have to visit the newly renovated International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C. to admire a framed version of the Pinkerton logo. Vass Design has created a 12 x 16 inch wood reproduction, perfect for an office wall or lobby waiting area. If rustic is your thing even better, since it brings out the crackle texture of the wood surface giving the sense this firm has been around for a long, long, long, long time. Perhaps it even goes as far back as Chicago, 1850.
See also: a Visit to the International Spy Museum in the Denver Private Investigator Blog and in PursuitMag
Vass design is also an environmentally conscious Canadian based maker who uses water based and eco friendly stains, paint and glue. The framed wall hanging costs $55.04 and is a great asset to any private investigator firm wanting to emphasize the fact that their services and expertise are available round the clock.
If, as a Colorado private investigator you'd prefer not to plug anything Pinkerton because of their infamous involvement with Colorado's Ludlow Massacre ---also, technically speaking, they're a competitor-- we have alternative wall art to enthusiastically recommend, starting with some pics inspired by timeless songs by The Clash and Bob Dylan.
2.) Detective themed London Calling and Thin Man posters by Todd Alcott Graphics: Former New York playwright turned LA screenwriter, Todd Alcott's day job may be writing for much larger audiences but the Etsy shop he now he now runs is solo operated and makes his cinematic mashups available for spaces ranging from 11 inches in height to 36 inches tall.
The etsy shop has been earning international recognition and it's detective themed posters featuring classic album mashups fuse poetry, nihilism, pulp fan fiction and noir with phrases from the most pyrotechnically brilliant lyricists of the 20th century are about as iconically nuanced as it gets for people someone looking for just the right personalized gift for the Clash or Bob Dylan fan.
"I had just been listening to the Clash and came across this detective magazine, and the tension between the apocalypse of "London Calling" and the kind of tawdry sexuality of the detective magazine cover made me laugh," explains the screenwriter turned graphic designer. "The other thing I loved about the image was that it was really mangled and water stained, which I love to work with. I like my finished images to look as "authentic" as possible, and details like the water stains really added to it. Detective magazines like this always have a lot of headlines, usually each one trying to top the last in terms of sensationalism, and I love taking those headlines and making them song lyrics, again, setting the doomy lyrics of the song against the luridness of the magazine cover." Posters start at $25 and go up to $150 so you can adjust for budget and wall space.
Bonus points for giving Ballad of a Thin Man to anyone who also happens to be a fan of the Denver's popular East 17th avenue hangout (2015 E 17th Ave, Denver, CO 80206) with the same name.
3.)Vintage mystery fiction writer tea - Tea totalers and tea enthusiasts alike can sip the snowy afternoon atmosphere with these private eye themed tea bag gift sets. "I'm a big mystery fan and true crime podcast listener so these collections were particularly fun to design and they include some of my favorite authors," says the set's creator, Robin Stelling.
Chose one --or both-- distinct tea sets. They are organic and elegantly packaged with each set running $34 on the FavorFavour.com website. Writers referenced include Agatha Christie, Wilkie Collins, Ngaio Marsh, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Dorothy L Sayers so it can also get gifted along side a Tattered Cover gift certificate if you want to include something locally and literary.
4.) New books by local Colorado authors - If your office library wants to include some of Colorado's hottest contemporary mystery, thriller and crime authors you can also gift detective themed sets sets with books by Peter Heller, David Heska Wanbli, Kali Fajardo-Anstine and Erika Wurth. "Sabrina and Corina" by Fajardo-Anstine is a National Book Award Finalist
5.) Handmade Nancy Drew Coasters - What would holiday gift recommendations be without some Nancy Drew. Especially relevant for anyone following the new CW television series. But back to coasters: they are sealed for hot and cold drinks and will be a year-round asset to any office space. Available along with a vintage book selection via the KarlandArrow shop on Etsy and are available for $5.00 each.
6.) Handmade Nancy Drew cash envelope system wallet: if you're paying cash to cover your tracks it may not be the wisest move to do something as conspicuous as paying with cash extracted from a Nancy Drew cash system wallet. If, on the other hand, you're doing the cash envelope system (which Dave Ramsey takes credit for although the system pre dates Ramsey's monetization of it--and making it relevant to budgeting in today's digital world) this is a dope way to motivate yourself to switch to a cash system to save money. And what could be sweeter than doing so with Nancy Drew as your copilot!
"I grew up with her books in my home. My oldest sister had almost all the books. As the third and middle child I read them when she was finished with them," explains Vintage Fabric Finds maker Tammy Andrews-Tucker, who messaged me that she has a limited amount of fabric left so if you're going to order one of these custom finds, do it soon. Prices range from $35.50 to $85.50 depending on the number of envelopes you plan to get.
"I admired Nancy’s curiosity and her intellect. Her ability to process situations and events and look at them from a different angle. That things often were not as they presented themselves. I also admired her ability to maneuver freely in the world without restrictions, to be listened to, respected and I admired her tremendous resourcefulness" Andrews-Tucker, concluded.
A "cash wallet system" for a busy private investigation firm could simply be a good way to organize a kitty multiple team members draw upon. It is unlikely you would want to leave it lying around. That said, it's a righteous accessory to use yourself or give to a colleague for budgeting in the New Year so we're including it in our 2020 holiday gift recommendations, anyway.
(Continued from part 1 of 2)
The staff members based out of Trustify’s opulent Arlington, Virginia Headquarters unfortunately learned the hard way that they would end up working without pay. They must now join the ranks of Trustify’s former landlord, public relations firm and attorneys whose paychecks were backburnered while Boice and Mellon indulged in lavish spending. Boice also owes over 10K in child support backpay. As though the FBI investigating now investigating him for embezzlement wasn't enough.
Of course, Colorado and the Rocky Mountain region are built upon a rich history of boom/bust stories, most of which do not end well. There's the Baby Doe Tabor story and all the prospector's gold sites that eventually worked their way to profitability by building ski resorts and turning caved in mine shafts into high end tourist resorts.
The intrigue of the venture capitalist "uberizing" the private investigator industry with an app was astutely expressed by PursutMag Editor-in-Chief, Hal Humphreys [Disclosure: PursuitMag and the Denver Private Investigator Blog are content partners] who is a fan of disruptors and of startups. “Most of them fail. Most of them fail miserably" he also pointed out but, "every once in a while, one hits and changes everything."
Pursuit published several articles about Trustify and some of the other authors were not as forgiving as it's Editor but it's coverage over time provide a great sense of the former dumpster fire's rise and fall.
Despite it's Western history, the Rocky Mountain region didn't pull many punches when it came to Trustify. Wyoming, Private Investigator, Dean Beers, in fact, posted about the efforts he and the Professional Private Investigator Association of Colorado (PPIAC) made to report the fact Trustify was operating without a license to the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies.
According to Beers, the National Council of Investigation & Security Services (NCISS) was also involved in researching the history of the company and pointing out the problematic nature of an intermediary operating without licensure as well as the history of Boice's original company, Flim Flam. Their apprehensive commentary on the business goes back as far as the Denver Private Investigator Blog's does.
The DrivenForward blog maintained by Glen Hellman wins for most consistent, persistent and comprehensive coverage of the Trustify fiasco. It contains primary documents as well as a running chart of statuses of lawsuits against Trustify. Hellman was actually pursued by one of Boice's attorneys and posted the notice on his blog.
My final effort to verify the derelict status of the site’ was to call the 888 number. I dialed and got a busy signal. When was the last time I heard one of those?
Will the consumer driven demand for a standard hourly with no retainer fee be met by yet another disruptor rendering the private investigator industry as we know it as obsolete as a busy signal?
Only time will tell. Hopefully savvy investigators as well as savvy tech entrepreneurs will continue learning from the mistakes of their predecessors.
Washington Biz Journal - https://www.bizjournals.com/washington/news/2019/08/22/heres-whats-left-of-trustifys-private-eye-inspired.html
Driven Forward - https://drivenforward.com/former-trustify-employees-awarded-260-thousand-judgement/
Washingtonian - https://www.washingtonian.com/2018/12/09/is-the-blogger-mr-cranky-glen-hellman-out-to-save-dc-tech-industry-or-destroy-it/
PursuitMag - http://pursuitmag.com/a-trustify-postmortem/
By Susanna Speier
Denver Private Investigator Blogger
If you visit Trustify’s LinkedIn listing you’ll see an announcement that reads: "Trustify has 34 job openings - find the one for you." Positions titled “Marketing Content Copywriter” and “Content Producer” include great benefits. The listings, posted a month ago, also boast of a new and presumably improved mission dedicated to, “democratizing access to private investigation and intelligences services.” Does this mean the Arlington, Virginia based multi-million venture capital backed tech startup once poised to disrupt the private investigator industry is rising like a phoenix from the ashes of the dumpster fire of law suits that’s been following its demise?
Click on “apply” and get directed to a “This job is not available anymore” notification that was presumably posted and managed by a LinkedIn admin. Perhaps the position was filled? Scroll down to a heartfelt statement by Trustify founders, Danny Boice and Jennifer Mellon. After basking in the rays of their “God given mission” and reiterating several times that they regard employees as “family,” the couple concludes by praying for the opportunity to demonstrate their transparency to prospective employees.
Boice and Mellon's prayers evidently do not apply to former Trustify employees, Matthew Scott, Elisabeth Nugent, Kevin Wiggins, Stacy Blackburn, Bey Wesley, Matthew Blanchard, Bernadette Vielhaber and Andrew Little who just won a $260,000 judgement against the company for several weeks backpay, lost wages, damages and labor law violations. In addition to the most current coverage, Glen Helman’s Driven Forward blog posts includes a tally of all six of Trustify’s litigants complete with type, status, amount and an outstanding tab of $1,627,206.99.
Click through to Trustify’s derelict website and explore the catacombs of the former landing page. The skeletal remains of a footer note the celebrated and ostracized, “$99/hour” private investigator service with no retainer fee. Boice, his wife (the couple is separated now) and their staff sold PI services to people who wouldn’t ordinarily hire a private detective because the expense was prohibitive. Then private investigators with whom Trustify subcontracted took home $30 of what could be as much as a $99 hourly pay. In the era of the venture capital backed app, why not use the Uber model to make ridesharing more affordable for everyone? (As a freelance writer who lives paycheck to paycheck, I can totally understand the appeal.)
The Occupational Employment Statistics put out by the US Department of Labor put median 2018 hourly rate for private investigators in the United States at $27.50. While the PIs that I know, personally, tend to earn more, this was the average reported by the BLS in 2018.
Many independently employed private detectives can charge higher than the national average of $27 for their services because they have more experience than most of their competitors. Some have journalism degrees and others are former police and military. Some even have law degrees and all this is reflected in the price point.
It would be challenging, though not impossible, for a Colorado PI to sustain him or herself if they charged the median hourly wage in a state where even the small town residents pay big bucks for food and shelter. A recent Lending Tree study reported on CBS that Breckinridge, Colorado and Steamboat Springs, Colorado both made the top ten for most expensive towns in the country list. Boulder is the most expensive city in Colorado and with a median income there of $71,540 and with Denver skyrocketing it is not surprising people living and working in these regions need to be charging more and working more hours.
Several Colorado private investigators who were willing to give Trustify a go during their lean times informed me that because the service hadn’t properly vetted clients and provided no reimbursements for travel or database subscriptions, it wasn’t a viable investment of their time and energy. Consequently they stopped using the service to try and find work.
(Part 2 of 2 coming soon)
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