Investigation can be defined quite simply as a systematic fact finding and reporting process. It isderived from the Latin word vestigere, to “track or trace,” and encompasses a patient, step-bystepinquiry (Bennett & Hess, 2004, p. 4). Investigation is finding facts; it is akin to researchconducted in the academic arena.
Investigation is a multi-disciplined field of study. Itencompasses law, the sciences, communications, and a host of other things. Investigationrequires an inquisitive mind coupled with an attention to detail. Astute students of investigationmay find themselves particularly well suited for the research needed for graduate study.Investigation is a key part of what patrol officers – police or security – do; it is a primaryfunction of patrol. Officers on patrol are making useful observations. Patrol officers discovernumerous crimes, traffic violations, policy violations, safety hazards, fire hazards and othercrime or loss events.
In American police departments, the prevailing practice is to drawpersonnel for the detective division from the patrol division (Leonard & More, 1978). Thisgenerally works well as investigation capabilities are developed within patrol officers.There are, however, those instances where it is counterproductive. A patrol officer in a police orsecurity department may be ill-suited for investigative work. The skill sets required to quell adisturbance, direct traffic or restrain an aggressive subject are not the same as those needed forinvestigation.
An action-oriented person may dislike the occasionally painstaking attention todetail that investigation requires.Investigation is a key process used by management. Whether or not one is an “investigator” perse, a manager will be involved in the investigative process. The investigative function is evenmore important for those managers involved in protective functions. Professional certificationprograms have recognized this.
When the American Society for Industrial Security (currentlyASIS International) developed the Certified Protection Professional (CPP) program in 1977, theymade Investigation a part of the program. The International Foundation for Protection Officers’Certified in Security Supervision and Management (CSSM) also has several investigativecomponents to it. So too does the Foundation’s Certified Protection Officer (CPO) process; asentry-level protection officers are part of management. The represent management and ensurecompliance with management’s policies and procedures. They also collect information for