You didn’t have to grow up listening to Sam Spade on the radio to know who this famous private detective was. Spade has gone down in history as a tough, whiskey drinking, gun packing PI that didn’t go by the book and often found his clients dead or trying to set him up. Spade lived in the black and white underbelly of a world that was ruled by crooked cops, deceitful women, and criminals that played both sides of the law when it was convenient. You were never really sure if Spade himself was a good guy or a bad one, but you couldn’t help but root for him anyway.
Today the world of the private detective is vastly different than the world of Sam Spade’s, thanks in large part to the profession becoming more highly regulated and professional. Today a private detective has to be fully licensed and bonded by the state they work in, and they have to pass an extensive background check to rule out disqualifiers such as a criminal history.
Today, a private detective is expected do more than just swig whiskey and break a few laws like Spade did so covertly. In fact the main caseload of most investigators today is in locating missing people. Thousands of people of all ages, genders, social economic status, and backgrounds go missing every day across the United States. Some like the famous Runaway Bride, Jennifer Wilbanks, disappear on their own and eventually turn up again on their own and others like Baby Lisa Irwin who was kidnapped from her crib and remains missing. Of the thousands of people who disappear every day, most of their cases won’t make the news and many of them may not even get much in the way of the police searching for them.
The truth of the matter is the police cannot always actively look for people who appear to simply have walked away from their lives on their own accord to escape relationships or their lives. And even when foul play is suspected, at some point the police run out of leads and people to talk to, and the case goes cold.
A P.I. can devout the time and attention to a missing person case that the police cannot and often people are more inclined to help a private investigator than the police especially if they have their own reasons for not wanting the police in their lives.
If you need the services of a good private detective, hire one with a current business license who is also DPSST certified to act as an investigator in your state. Being DPSST certified is one way that the profession ensures that only people with a clean criminal background that can also pass an extensive FBI background check are working in the field.
Spade will have to stay in his fictional world of the past since he would never pass the standards set today to be a detective.
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