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  • James Gollaz

Confidential Records and Search Warrants

Law Enforcement Detectives have access to certain confidential information during the course of conducting a criminal investigation and in cases where the information is obtained on-line. For the most part I would say just about every law enforcement detective has his or her own assigned access code and password when accessing on-line records. There is a need and right to know and audits are periodically conducted to ensure that law enforcement detectives are not breaking the law by accessing information that is not within the scope of their specific investigation. If a law enforcement employee violates the trust given to them they are subject to discipline, that can range from an admonition, suspension without pay, or termination of employment. In certain cases such as Telephone Records and Bank Financial records, those institutions require a court order, which means a Law Enforcement Detective is required to write a search warrant outlining probable cause in explaining why they want to get those records in relation to the specific case being investigated.

Private Detectives are guided by the same rules when it comes to accessing confidential records. To put it in a direct and simple way, Private Detectives are guided by the law and shall obey the law which include abiding by the rules of evidence. In cases of on-line records private detectives have access to public records and use some of the same on-line resources as active law enforcement personnel. However, the private detective can not simply release that information and the client has to have a right to know even though it is a public record. For example, in certian cases like locating a person's whereabout the private detective is required to inform the person being inquired about.

In regards to accessing confidential records, I have heard many clients including attorneys request information such as telephone records, bank financial records, and medical records. I have also heard of some private detectives that offer the services of obtaining telephone records and bank financial records through Asset Searches. However, I know from my law enforcement experience that a search warrant will be required in order to obatin those records simply because those records are confidential information and those fincancial institutions will require a court order to release the confidential records.

Private Detectves must work within the law to obtain information during the course of an investigation simply because there will be consequenses either by private citizen action or court procedings where the private detective's action must be explained. In many cases, private detectives can obtain certain information that they do not have acess to without violationg the law by working with the client's attorney and the law enforcement officers assigned to investigating the case. Recently, we needed to obtain telephone records during the course of a death investigation that was ruled a natural death and no toxicology analysis was done. The local law enforcement detective assigned to the case agreed to our request to write a search warrant and after having it approved by the court, to serve it upon the telephone company for telephone records. We were also able to discover that the mortuary personnel that took custody of the decedent's body had obtained blood samples from the deceased as a matter of protocal and we were able to have toxicology analysis.

In conclusion, private detectives have access to a wealth of information mainly the access to public records through on-line resources throughout records in the Uintied States but private detectives do not have access to the confidentiality of certain records such as telephone records and bank financial records without a court order. Private Detectives cannot write search warrants because they are not law enforcement officers or detectives or investigators.

Pirivate Detectives represent the interest of the client and in an effort to provide the best possible service to the client, during the course of an investigation, an experienced private detective will provide professional private investigator service in working with the client, the client's attorney, law enforcement personnel and other involved entities.

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