Personal note from Larry:
I didn’t realize when I was putting together this week’s video and blog post that this would be, maybe, my favorite post I’ve created yet! Please, take it in as a genuinely heartfelt message from me to you.
I remember a time when I was working as a security guard and I was escorting a female employee from a building to a parking garage. Along the way there were two crackhead panhandlers at a bus stop hitting people up for money and being way too aggressive about it.
As we walked by, one of the crackheads went back into an alley that had a rear entrance to the building she had just come out of and I, without thinking about it, I keyed the radio and advised the control room we had this suspicious person, this drug user, going into one of the alleys just so they could get “eyes on” with a camera.
I didn’t think anything else about it. But a few steps later, the woman I was escorting to the parking garage turned to me and said, “We have people in that building, should we warn them?!?”
And I laughed.
I didn’t laugh a lot, but I definitely kind of snorted and said, “About that guy?!?”
You see, in our world, private investigations, process serving, my brothers and sisters in security we do some things so commonly we forget how extraordinary they are to outsiders.
The woman I was escorting safely to the parking garage will probably go home and when asked about her day will say, “Oh, where there were these two crack heads out and security had to walk me past them!”
Not a big deal to me. Big deal to her.
Next summer she might be talking to people as they’re sitting at a picnic table eating and something about crime or drugs will come up and she’ll say, “Oh, we had this one guy, this one time…”
You see this all the time with people outside our profession.
If you talk to people who aren’t in our industry, they’ll tell you the story about the time they were in the store that got robbed or about the guy who threatened them or whatever. They have that one story that one time, and I don’t blame them. I get it. It was a bad thing or an unusual thing and they remember it.
In our industry, we deal with stuff all the time.
We do things everyday that are a once-in-a-lifetime experience for other people and I want you to know about that and think about it and don’t lose that perspective.
Crack Deal Video Surveillance
I remember one time while training a new, we were recording a drug deal and after the dealer counted crack rocks from his hand into the buyer’s hand, he turned his hand sideways to kind of let the last crack debris fall into the buyer’s hand, I made the comment, “Be sure to dust it off, don’t miss any crumbs.”
At that exact moment, just in half a second later, the dealer brought up his other hand and dusted the crack-rock crumbs into the buyer’s hand.
The guy I was training thought I was psychic! He thought I was reading lips or something. But it was far simpler than that. I had just seen this so many times before, I knew what was coming next.
It’s because it’s so common when you see people handling rocks that way, it’s just an everyday occurrence. And I just said it half-jokingly. But it surprised my trainee. I forgot in the moment this is not an everyday thing to other people. I mean, how often do you sit around and watch somebody deal crack? Probably not that often.
Why even mention this?
I bring this up for two reasons one, I want you to be gentle with other people.
Remember, your likely dealing with clients and / or victims and they’re just in a different world than us.
When they come to you with a problem, be sympathetic. Don’t roll your eyes. Don’t say, “Well, did you file a report with the police? Why didn’t you file a report? Why didn’t you call the police?”
Look, they’re a victim. Give them a break. There’s nobody that comes to us because they’re having a good day.
There’s nobody that comes to us because they’ve got their life in order. They’re frequently having problems. Maybe it’s a spouse cheating on them. Maybe they own a company paying workers’ compensation to a guy who’s cheating them. You know, the types of cases we take. It’s a big deal to them. They’re likely a victim. Treat them with compassion. Don’t judge them. Help them as much as you can.
Also, the people you’re interacting with on a case. Maybe you’re interviewing people. It isn’t always clergy, businessmen and upright citizens that are around when crimes happen. A lot of times you’re talking to a bad guy maybe you’re talking to the bad guy. You’re trying to get him to tell you things so you’ll know what the testimony is going to be when it goes to court, but be as compassionate as you can. Certainly be respectful as you can to them.
My brothers and sisters in security, everyday duties you perform like running off pan handlers, crack heads and trespassers from your property. Be as gentle with them as they will allow you to be.
My brothers and sisters in loss prevention or asset protection, yeah, you’re making apprehensions, you’re catching thieves and a lot of times it’s going to be felony-level stuff, of course be safe, but don’t be a jerk. That thief is a human being. He’s got a mom somewhere. Be as gentle as you can be with them.
This May Be the Hardest Thing
The last point I want to make, and this is the easiest one to forget… Be gentle with yourself.
This was written down by St. Francis de Sales hundreds of years ago: “Have patience with everyone, but chiefly with yourself…” (From Thy Will Be Done page 51.)
Be gentle with yourself and especially, in this case, I’m talking about the first time you have to deal with a problem, whatever the problem is, no matter how much training you’ve got, it’s not the same as experience.
Training can move you way forward. It can be the big difference between success and failure, but the first time you have to deal with something it can be rough. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
Robbery in Progress
If you witness a robbery in progress and you say, “They took off northbound” and five minutes later you realize – after all the police are looking up north – you realize… it was actually southbound. Ouch. Don’t be too hard on yourself. These things happen. Cops mix up direction of travel sometimes.
Firefighting is one of those things. The first time you find yourself face to face with a real, honest to goodness fire and have to put it out… you grab the extinguisher, you point it at the fire and you squeeze. And you squeeze. And you squeeze and nothing happens.
You forgot to pull the pin. You’re trained to pull the pin. You know to pull the pin. There’s even a little cartoon on a fire extinguisher that shows a guy pulling a pin. But you forget. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
You’ll do better next time.
And in our world, there’s gonna to be a next time. There’s gonna be a next time.
As you gain experience, as you do this more and more, you’re going to get more comfortable with it, more loose with it.
Stay safe and use good sound judgment, but remember (and this is a very critical point right here)…
You do not rise to the level of the threat. You default to the level of your training.
I’ve got to say it again…
You do not rise to the level of the threat. You default to the level of your training.
You’re not going to figure out some things “on the fly” or on the go. You’re just not going to.
But, if you trained for it, there’s a very good chance, you’ll know what to do and you’ll do it.
If there’s a fire alarm, and you trained for it, you’ll grab a fire extinguisher and go to the scene. If you didn’t train for it, you’ll show up at the scene and you realize, “Oh crap. It’s bigger than I thought.” You weren’t thinking ahead. You didn’t grab an extinguisher. Now I’ve got to go get an extinguisher, but it’s too late. You’ve just got to get out of the building. You see what I’m saying?
If you train with every single fire alarm: grab the extinguisher, go to the scene (if that’s your policies and procedure) then you will likely show up with the gear you need.
Obviously for most people getting out of the building is going to be the primary thing, but professionally, those of us in the security and investigations world, well… you might have to go to the scene! When you do, don’t show up empty-handed.
Enjoy the ride.
This is a great line of work to be in. You will develop over the years dozens, maybe hundreds of stories that are once-in-a-lifetime experiences for everybody else. So just enjoy the industry a little bit.
And remember… do the right thing, even if it’s the hard thing.
Committed to your success,
Larry Kaye, P.I.
P.S. – Don’t miss my special report titled… If You Want To be a Private Investigator Give Up… Unless You Do These Three Things. You can get it right here