THE INTERMOUNTAIN PI | EP. 4 | JULY 2, 2019 | 5 UNUSUAL ITEMS PRIVATE INVESTIGATORS NEED IN THEIR VEHICLES
When I think about Boise, Idaho, I always remember that song by Lynyrd Skynyrd, you know the one, “Its 8 o’clock in Boise, Idaho.” Anyway, I was there last summer. Actually, I think it was
outside of Boise. I had this accident investigation out on a rural highway. And it wasn’t your typical accident. Apparently, a savvy bovine was able to pick the lock on his enclosure. And so this cow gets loose and he saunters over to the nearby road. You can probably guess what happened after that. Unfortunately, it involved a car. Anyway, the insurance adjuster asks me to go out and take photographs of the cow’s enclosure and the gate latch. Let me ask you this, have you ever walked in a cow pasture? I wouldn’t recommend it. Where does a cow relieve himself? Anywhere he wants.
At the time I didn’t have 1. RUBBER FARM BOOTS. But I pretty much learned my lesson that day. In fact, the shoes I did wear went straight into the trash after my little cow pasture photo session. Since that time I’ve always carried a pair of rubber farm boots in my vehicle. It’s a really good idea, especially if you work in rural areas like I do.
I’m Utah private investigator Scott Fulmer. This week I’m talking about 5 unusual items private investigators need in their vehicles.
So what kind of items do you have in your surveillance vehicle right now? Water? A mobile phone charger? Maybe a change of clothes? I’m sure most of us carry many of the same things. But after my cow pasture experience, it got me thinking. What about those unusual items private investigators should have? You already know a really good pair of rubber farm boots is one. Let’s look at 4 other unusual items.
2. HANDHELD GPS
To begin with, make sure you carry a handheld GPS. Perhaps you rely on navigation apps on your cell phone. Under most conditions that would be sufficient. However, I conduct surveillance in the rural areas of Utah, Colorado and Wyoming; places where there is often no cellular coverage. Nevertheless, my handy Garmin GPS keeps me in business.
As an illustration, I once followed a subject into the backcountry in Canyonlands National Park. I don’t know if you’ve been there. But it’s big; about 350,000 acres. It’s referred to as Utah’s version of the Grand Canyon. The views are absolutely stunning. On the negative side, there is no cell coverage in the western part of the park. However, because my handheld GPS is connected to a satellite moving above me in geosynchronous orbit, so I don’t worry whether I have cell coverage or not. Moreover, if you work in rural areas, check out this article and SARTopo.
Have you ever done a trash pull? Ever sat inside a dumpster? If not, you’re missing out. A trash pull can provide a rich source of information about your subject, be they an individual or a business. Speaking of a trash pull, a box of Nitrile gloves on hand will protect you from germs. The gloves also prevent allergies and are latex free.
For example, I did a trash pull in Colorado last year for a major clothing distributor. In that case, it was in the Denver area. The company had some problems with one of their retailers. As a matter a fact the retailer had three dumpsters. And these were the big ones. You know the ones with the sliding doors on the side. I’m only 5’8″ so I had a hard time getting in and getting out of the dumpster. Which reminds me, aside from nitrile gloves, a step stool would be useful. Anyway, get yourself some nitrile gloves. We’re talking about 5 unusual items private investigators need in there vehicles.
4. CHEM LIGHTS AND/OR A PAINTBALL GUN
I was first introduced to Chem Lights in the U.S. Army. I was in the 502nd Infantry in the 101st Airborne Division at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky. We used Chem Lights out in the field. Aside from Chem Lights, I’d also recommend you have paintball gun on hand. And you’re going to want those brightly colored paint ball pellets. You know the ones, bright orange, bright green, etc. Why a paintball gun? Let me give you some examples.
I was on a rural surveillance near Montrose, Colorado. I ended up having to set up about a half mile to a mile down the road from the subject’s driveway. I’m sure you’ve been in similar situations. After a few hours, one tree begins to look like another. Eventually you can’t remember which gravel driveway belongs to your subject. Tossing a chem light near the entrance to the driveway helps during nighttime. During daylight hours I just shoot a paintball gun pellet at the nearest tree as I drive by. That way I never get confused over which driveway belongs to my subject.
The use of unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, has become fairly prevalent lately. Let’s be honest. Nine times out of ten, you’re not going to be able to use a drone to gather evidence that is admissible in court. However, there are some exceptions. I used mine once to obtain excellent video footage of the subject playing a pickup game of football in a state park. It was an overt act. The subject thought I was just flying a drone. But the client, she loved it. Additionally, I was able to obtain video footage of a subject down in this deep trench at a construction site. First and foremost, if you decide to use a drone, make sure you check your local laws and regulations before employing the use of a Drone.
By the way, as of the date of this podcast, the use of Drones are not permitted in National Parks. Which is a shame because Utah is home to 5 national parks. Of course, there are a few exceptions but use by a private investigator is not one of them. In either case, that’s it for the 5 unusual items private investigators need in their vehicles.
In conclusion, if you carry some unusual items that I haven’t listed, I’d like to hear about it. Drop me an email at email@example.com. If I mention your usual item on next week’s podcast you’ll get a free copy of my book, Confessions of a Private Eye.
Lastly, check out my first podcast. Additionally, being a self-employed private investigator is not for the faint of heart. With this in mind, here’s a bonus podcast episode for you: 5 Secret Tips for a Balanced Private Investigator Life. I hope you enjoy it.
Until next time, this is Utah Private Investigator Scott Fulmer reminding you the game…is afoot!
CELEBRATED UTAH PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR SCOTT FULMER IS HOST OF THE INTERMOUNTAIN PI PODCAST AND THE PRINCIPAL AT INTERMOUNTAIN PI, A RESPECTED PRIVATE INVESTIGATION FIRM BASED IN HISTORIC SALT LAKE CITY. INTERMOUNTAIN PI PROVIDES ACTIONABLE INTELLIGENCE TO PRIVATE INDIVIDUALS AND DECISION MAKERS THROUGH UTAH, COLORADO, IDAHO AND WYOMING.
IN A CAREER SPANNING ALMOST THREE DECADES, SCOTT HAS WORKED AS A PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR FOR STATE AND FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, AND IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR. HE GREW UP IN SAN ANTONIO, THE OLDEST OF NINE CHILDREN AND THE ONLY BOY. HIS LOVE OF MYSTERIES BEGAN AT AN EARLY AGE WHEN HE DISCOVERED THE STORIES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES IN HIS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL LIBRARY. WITH AN UNCLE THAT WAS A PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR AND A GRANDMOTHER WORKING FOR THE LOCAL POLICE DEPARTMENT, CRIMINAL JUSTICE WAS IN HIS BLOOD. AFTER SERVING A VOLUNTARY RELIGIOUS MISSION, SCOTT JOINED THE U.S. ARMY. HE SERVED WITH DISTINCTION IN THE FAMOUS 2ND ARMORED DIVISION “HELL ON WHEELS” AND IS A DECORATED COMBAT VETERAN OF THE 1990-91 PERSIAN GULF WAR. AFTER LEAVING THE SERVICE, SCOTT ATTENDED THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT SAN ANTONIO EARNING A DEGREE IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND SECURITY MANAGEMENT.
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ADDITIONALLY, SCOTT IS THE AUTHOR OF THE CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED TRUE CRIME MEMOIR, CONFESSIONS OF A PRIVATE EYE: MY THIRTY YEARS INVESTIGATING CHEATERS, FRAUDS, MISSING PERSONS AND CROOKS. SCOTT’S BOOK IS AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK AND FOR KINDLE ON AMAZON AND FOR THE NOOK AT BARNES AND NOBLE. HE RESIDES IN THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS, SOMEWHERE ALONG THE WASATCH FRONT NEAR SALT LAKE CITY WITH HIS WIFE VALERIE. HE IS AVAILABLE FOR MEDIA APPEARANCES, READINGS, BOOK SIGNINGS AND TO SPEAK TO YOUR GROUP, SEMINAR OR CONFERENCE. FOR MEDIA INQUIRIES YOU MAY CONTACT HIM AT MEDIA@INTERMOUNTAINPI.COM.
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