Lesson Four: Organizational Abilities

The nature of investigative works demands that the investigator possess and practice some form of organization. The investigator must routinely process countless pieces of information while conducting an investigation. This information includes written reports, witness statements, photographs, and analysis information. All of these details must be organized in a useable form in order to allow the investigator to fully utilize the information. Likewise, this organization must carry over into the final investigative report in order to allow the client to follow and understand the case. If the case is something that is done that goes to court - the investigator must be able to convey all of these pieces of information in an understandable, chronological sequence in order for the court to reach the same level of understanding and conclusions as the investigator. This trait can also be developed and is often enhanced through practice and training.

Legal Knowledge

The successful investigator must have a thorough working knowledge of the law in order to be effective. Legal restrictions must be acknowledged at all times. By understanding and correctly applying the law, the investigator ensures that the final case will stand the legal test of the court. The investigator does not want to implicate the wrong person, because the social consequences for someone who is falsely accused can be devastating. In addition, the civil consequences for falsely accusing an innocent person can also be particularly harsh.


A good investigator is tenacious and does not readily accept an answer that does not fit the facts. The investigator must continue to seek answers when the sum total does not seem to add up. There will be times when the investigator is not absolutely sure who the culprit is, or if the culprit is absolutely guilty. A good investigator seeks out the truth and does not readily give up.

Investigative Ethics

This is the foundation upon which an investigator’s reputation is built. An investigator must always perform his/her job in a professional and ethical manner. Lying, or distorting of the facts, is simply never acceptable business practice. Regardless how strong the urge might be to consider the use of falsified testimony or fictitious evidence, the investigator must never resort to these lowly and undeniably illegal tactics.

1 comment:

  1. I like the old inferential analysis--tack every tid bit of info up on a big board, and eye sweep the whole thing. By golly, often it works, even though it frequently involves much thumb tack re-arrangement.


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