Commonwealth Surveillance & Investigations is a family owned and operated fully licensed and insured private security business with the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services. All investigators conducting investigations are also licensed, registered, or certified with the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services. CSI investigators have undergone local, state, and national background checks, and are veteran professionals who have far exceeded the mandated training required by the Commonwealth. We possess the knowledge, skills, and ability to manage investigations to any degree of intricacy. When seeking out the services of an investigation agency be certain you know exactly who you are hiring. Don't hesitate to perform some due diligence and vett the company or individual by asking for proof of experience, references, and licensure. Be cautious of investigation Apps, online background check companies, and outrageous advertisement claims as they may not be in compliance with the governing law of your jurisdiction, and likely will not provide a level of professionalism and accuracy you should except. Please use the links provided below to verify business and individual licensing with the VA DCJS to ensure compliance before hiring an investigator. All businesses and individuals must be properly credentialed in the Commonwealth of Virginia to provide said services.
What records and informational databases do Private Investigators have access to?
Private investigators have access to all publicly available information and limited access to private information. The advantage of hiring a private investigator is their ability to know how and where to access information fast, efficiently, and legally. Certain types of records and information are considered private and are legally protected as such. Listed below are records and information private investigators do not have access to. If a private investigator claims to have access to these records they are either lying or breaking the law.
- Banking and Financial Records: Access to account information and balances (no universal database exist) GLBA 1999
- Telephone Records: Access to incoming and outgoing call or text information (no universal database exist) TRPPA 2006
- Credit Information: Access to credit scores and open/closed accounts FCRA 1984
- Medical Records: Access to medical and health records to include certified birth certificates HIPAA 1996
Prior law enforcement experience?
It's fairly common to find investigation agencies advertise they are owned or operated by former or retired law enforcement officers to prove they have the experience required to conduct a private investigation. At CSI we don't believe law enforcement experience and training alone translates directly into knowledge and experience of the private sector of investigations. Both professions typically perform different duties and functions that require specific training and skill sets. While we acknowledge they implement some of the same techniques necessary to perform an investigation, simply possessing those basic skills may not equate the degree of experience being advertised. For example, have you ever heard of federal, state, or local police department conducting an infidelity or child custody investigation? Have you ever known a private investigator who issued a traffic citation or made an arrest? Of course not, because it’s not a function that either profession would perform so consequently not specifically trained to carry out. Government agencies and departments are also well funded having access to all the many resources that logistically support them. Benefits most of which are not afforded to the private sector, requiring private investigators to have attained a certain level of resourcefulness gained only through in-field experience. We advertise ourselves as experts with actual expertise in the investigative industry because we have perfected our tradecraft over many years working within the private and public sectors. This is what sets us apart and makes us truly experienced professionals.
How should I proceed?
Having an investigation conducted is a relatively small investment that can have a substantial impact on your future financially and emotionally. If you or your business find yourself uncertain how to proceed or question whether or not your suspicions are valid we offer many affordable solutions to give you piece of mind which include: Activity Checks, Background Verification and Records, Manned and Unmanned Surveillance. Please contact us for a free consultation and evaluation and we'll discuss your options as well as how best to proceed with your situation.
What is the turnaround time for services?
Turnaround times are based on the scope of the service(s) provided and current caseload. CSI understands when time is a factor and will ensure your request will be handled in an efficient and professional manner. We make every effort to address any variables that may affect the time management of your assignment.
Private Investigators, legalities and ethics?
At CSI we believe that knowing and understanding the law as well as operating within its legal boundaries in a professional manner is imperative to serving our clients and protecting their interest. Unfortunately, there are some agencies and individuals that either fail to understand, or blatantly disregard legal methods of obtaining and documenting evidence in a dishonest attempt to appear effective. Not only are companies and individuals that conduct themselves in this manner breaking the law, they are putting you and your case at risk. This unprofessional behavior gives the private sector of investigations a bad reputation and could have irreparable consciences with potential evidence that may otherwise have been a useful asset.
Should I seek legal representation?
The decision whether or not to retain an attorney is an important one. Moving forward with legal action can be a stressful yet often necessary step in many situations. There are benefits to having the protection and knowledge of being legally represented when necessary. For example, if your attorney contracts with us directly all work product produced by CSI is protected by attorney client privilege. Attorneys also vary as to what specific information, evidence, or documentation they require us to obtain in order to feel comfortable arguing your case successfully. However, in some situations it may be prudent to perform an investigation prior to hiring an attorney. This could potentially save you money that may otherwise have been wasted retaining legal counsel unnecessarily. CSI cannot and will not give legal advice but will help to assess your situation and recommend whether or not seeking the advice and services of a lawyer could be beneficial to you.
What are unmanned surveillance systems?
The utilization of GPS tracking and UVM (unmanned video monitoring) can be an affordable and sometimes logical decision to make when considering documenting an individual’s activity level and whereabouts. Typically, a lower cost than traditional manned surveillance, GPS tracking and UVM allows for continuous 24/7 accountability that is completely discreet and noninvasive. We believe GPS tracking and UVM can be an invaluable source of information when applicable to the circumstances. Electronic tracking devices can only be installed on a vehicle in which you have ownership of per Virginia state law. Virginia Code § 18.2-60.5 makes any person who installs or places an electronic tracking device through intentionally deceptive means, and without consent, and uses it to track the location of another person guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor. The legislation exempts licensed private investigators so long as they are legally acting in the normal course of their business. Please contact us for details.