How to hire a reputable, effective PI in DC Metro area (VA)?
November 30, 2007 9:54 AM   Subscribe

How to hire a reputable, effective PI in DC Metro area (VA)?

For those who haven't been following along, my family has a stalker. The good news is that the police are being cooperative both with added general protection, and the state feels that it's time to prosecute. We have an alarm system, concerned neighbors, and a variety of other support systems.

However, now that we're on the criminal prosecution front, we're thinking it would be good to know where this guys lives, what he drives, and what he's doing now that he's been fired. We know he has lots of addresses, one of which is near us.

Many of you have rec'd hiring a pi, but do I need to know to get a good one who won't rip me off? I did a little googling and found out that

- he needs a license
- he should be mostly a researcher
- former police are good
- this shouldn't be a extraordinarily hard request

Is there a professional organization for this kind of thing? How much should I pay? Where can I find a good one (as noted, the websites all look ridiculous)? What attributes/training/affiliations indicate high quality work? [they just don't cover this on Angie's List]

thanks again, hive mind!
posted by beezy to Law & Government (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Ask the cops you've been dealing with - is there a detective on your case, or has it all been uniformed officers? - for recommendations, as they likely have former colleagues who've gone private. Good luck.
posted by rtha at 10:03 AM on November 30, 2007

Best answer: I did some research into PI as a side career about half-decade ago and while some things may have changed, I do not believe there is any sort of meaningful nationwide professional PI organization. Not all states even require a PI to have a license. However most do, and even in the states that don't, large municipalities usually require licensing.

It appears that you can check for licensed PIs here courtesy of the Virginia Dept. of Criminal Justice Services. PISA is one large Virginian PI organization, PIAVA is another.

In general, I'd look for recommendations from friends, family, coworkers, etc. in your area. rtha's suggestion of asking the detective on your case is a good idea as well.
posted by Nelsormensch at 11:05 AM on November 30, 2007

I would call a large law firm in your area. They will have relationships with private investigators. Especially divorce firms. Most of these PI's will be retired police detectives who will work well with local law enforcement.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 4:15 PM on November 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice, nor a recommendation of a course of action.

If the guy has assets, you may want to pursue a civil suit against him on a contingency fee basis. If you're lucky, the tort lawyer will cover a PI's expenses, or be able to do some research themselves. You may want to discreetly ask an attorney what the law in your state says about shooting an intruder in your own home.
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:12 AM on December 1, 2007

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