1. I was in law enforcement for 10 years
  2. I'm a PI now

Cop-related questions? PI related questions?

Ready? Go.

My Proof: http://i.imgur.com/rEVGq6Y.jpg

Comments: 451 • Responses: 84  • Date: 

Jbonesuarez56 karma

Did you take pictures of anyone playing basketball while they were collecting for a shoulder injury today? Is your car blue? How much is Janet paying you? I'll double it.

XCopPI38 karma

LOL...not today. I've had a few cases where ex-spouses get "certified disabilities" to up their spousal support.

It is not.

Janet isn't paying..but if she was..doubling it would probably be out of your price range. =D

theNewCornographer43 karma

Are you ex-navy, with a thick mustache and do you drive a red Ferrari while solving cases that constantly put you in perilous situations?

If not, why? I bet that would make a great tv show.

XCopPI47 karma

I'm not ex-Navy...no mustache...I'm rocking an operator-like beard right now, though. No red Ferrari...thanks California..God damn state taxes. I haven't had too many perilous situations in my new career yet.

I agree that would make a great TV show. Maybe for depth I could have a butler with an accent...and a sidekick that can fly a helicopter...we could call it..shit..what would be a catchy title....

theNewCornographer15 karma


Also, serious question: what made you decide to get into law enforcement originally?

XCopPI19 karma

Lol...neither super nor duper. Just a normal guy. Pretty cherry operator beard though - I do shave it for court and look respectable.

Honestly? It was a legitimate desire to help people.I always looked up to cops growing up, and early on decided to peruse it. I really enjoyed things about the job. I enjoyed chasing bad guys, fighting with them, taking them to jail. The politics and micromanagement take a toll after a while, though.

thedoomfulldome38 karma

How long have you been a PI, and if it's been a while, what's the weirdest case you have come across?

XCopPI109 karma

A little over a year.

I don't think I have anything super weird. I get ALOT of off the street stalker type dudes in their 40's that are trying to track down their high school girlfriends. I usually turn them away. I don't want to be named in the article along with "the body was found in his trunk"

thedoomfulldome15 karma

Are they your most common cases?

XCopPI54 karma

My most common cases are child custody. I do alot of family law cases. California is no-fault divorce, but evidence can very much play a part in where kids will land. I really enjoy that, as it adds the human element to what I do.

thedoomfulldome12 karma

Sounds cool! Thanks for replying (this is the first time I've had a question answered on /r/IAmA!)

XCopPI13 karma

I'm trying to answer them all. I don't know if this is going to turn into one of those ridiculous 50k threads. LOL.

thedoomfulldome11 karma

For your sake, I hope it doesn't. A while ago I got a askreddit thread to the front page. Not an experience I want to repeat.

XCopPI21 karma

Lol. Thanks dude. It seemed like a good idea at the time! I've lurked on Reddit forever and finally got an account. Been drinking tonight and figured fuck it.

FirstPotato12 karma

Without giving up too much personal information, could you go through a highlights run-through of a custody case job you did?

XCopPI36 karma

In essence, Dad made a lot of allegations against Mom. All of which I corroborated. They involved Mom's excessive drinking and associating with shitheads - while having custody of the kids

FirstPotato9 karma

Okay. I may need more than the highlight reel.

Did you follow her around to bars with the baby?

XCopPI69 karma

Didn't have to. She put it all up on Facebook and Instagram

noeelsinmyhovercraft7 karma

Can confirm. Married to a divorce lawyer, and for new cases the first stop is always Facebook. People post the dumbest shit.

XCopPI5 karma

Yep. I've used Facebook as corroborative as well as primary evidence. The only real defense I've heard tried is "oh, well I didn't post that."

Col_Volkov2 karma

What kind of evidence?

XCopPI2 karma

In a custody case?

Col_Volkov2 karma

I guess? In a no-fault custody case specifically.

XCopPI3 karma

CA is no-fault divorce. Child custody is almost always at issue. Custody is NOT no-fault. Evidence very much comes in to play

redemption202110 karma

In a "This american life" episode they hire a PI to track down a lady from this kids past, and the PI tells them he has to run a background check on the kid looking for her to make sure he isnt trying to find her to murder her. Is this something that you or people in the industry to often? Is it sometimes just easier to tell people no and leave it at that?

XCopPI11 karma

I sometimes tell people no. It really depends what they're asking for.

I don't do blind locates, meaning - here's some money, "I want to know everything about this person." I'll either contact the subject of the search and ask them to contact the client, or get a waiver from them authorizing release of their contact info.

Once most potential clients hear that, they go looking for someone less ethical.

Edit: Also, I've saved attorney clients headaches with potential clients. People coming in lying their asses off about prior criminal stuff, when a quick check shows me they have repeat prior convictions for domestic violence.

patboone5 karma

I hired somebody to find an old girlfriend. I just asked that they give her my current contact information. We didn't have some overly dramatic breakup, she just moved to Seattle. She contacted me about two months later, and it's been fun to catch up with her via Facebook.

tldr, not all exes are crazy stalkers, but make sure you let them do the contacting in these situations.

XCopPI9 karma

That's exactly what I do.

It's the "Well, I want to find my ex girlfriend....but I don't want her...or my wife to find out." Those raise HUGE red flags.

m2themichael31 karma


XCopPI71 karma

It depends. College/University cops will, but that's their job.

I went to lots and lots and lots and lots of house parties. 90% of the time it's a "Hey bro, turn your music down" and peace out. If you're sitting in a park at midnight drinking a 40, you're open game.

realised15 karma

What if you are wearing a batman costume while drinking a 40 on the park bench at night?

XCopPI21 karma

Dude, The Dark Knight had a tough night. I'll park the Batmobile and he can walk home.

MarcusMunch20 karma

Have you ever played Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney?

XCopPI25 karma

DUDE! I haven't =( My boy has a DS, so I think I should. I've seen stuff about it that makes me want to play it though.


MarcusMunch14 karma


*desk slam*

You think you should? If your boy already has a DS... *points finger* Then why have you not yet borrowed it and bought the game?

never_out_of_time17 karma

Craziest case you took or solved as a private investigator?

XCopPI61 karma

Mm..I'll give you two.

I had a lady call and ask me to track down her son, she hadn't heard from him in 10 years. Ok, cool - no problem. Met with her, she paid, I started working. 5 minutes in I figured out he was in a state prison for several underage-sex related felonies. Fastest case resolution ever.

I had a child custody case where Dad came in with like 10% custody of his kids. I built an evidentiary case for counsel. He left the custody hearing with 93% custody. I was pretty proud.

never_out_of_time11 karma

Poor mom, not knowing where her son is for five years and them Bam! He is in jail!

XCopPI11 karma

Right? Fucked up huh.

SitYoureLegosTheir9 karma


XCopPI10 karma

It depends on the case. I find people all the time for legal cases, I.e. court cases.

I don't provide personal information on a subject for a non-legal client without that subject's permission (if that makes sense)

SitYoureLegosTheir2 karma


Plane_money6 karma

The relevant concept in American law is whether or not you have a "Reasonable Expectation of Privacy". That is, whether or not a reasonably sensible person would expect that whatever they're doing stays private.

So if you're out walking or driving down the street, or in any other public place, you have no REP. It's public, anyone could recognize you and they're free to tell anyone they want. This is why cops/PIs don't need a warrant to follow you around when you're out & about, but do need a warrant to enter your house (where you do have REP). Similarly, trash you put out is no longer private (you left it at the curb, anyone is allowed to take your old bank statements just like your old couch).

So basically, unless you never go outside, never interact with the public in any way...basically live in a basement, burn your trash, have no phone or internet...no, you don't have a right not to be found, as long as the person looking for you doesn't violate any laws doing so.

In this specific case, court records are usually public record - there is no reasonable expectation, legally speaking, that anyone can't find out you were convicted for a crime, unless the judge sealed the records. Especially in this day and age of sex offender registries, the kid convicted of (statutory?) rape is right fucked. No REP for the rest of his life.

XCopPI3 karma

Some court cases are automatically sealed or confidential. In California a paternity (child custody only) action is a sealed file. In contrast to a dissolution (divorce) with child custody, which is not.

Typically, if you've been arrested or convicted of something - I'll figure it out.

XCopPI3 karma

In essence. It's more of an ethical choice.

Giving that client information on her incarcerated son didn't breach any right to privacy he had. I didn't provide her any personal identifying information (SSN, DOB, etc) Just that he was in custody, where, and for what.

ADCarryPotter16 karma

On a scale of 1-10, how good would you say the American police system is?

XCopPI46 karma

I would rate law enforcement at 7. The judicial system as a 4.

hellatightshit8 karma

So...have you ever killed a person off-duty?

XCopPI25 karma

Lol. No.

I had several "close calls" on the job that still bother me though.

gamenut893 karma

What, in your opinion, makes the judicial process a 4? As an individual who wants to get into criminal law practice, I want to know why you think the court system has failed the police and what you think the next generation of attorneys can do to fix it.

XCopPI3 karma

The problem is threefold.

  1. Revolving door justice, especially in California. We got fucked with AB109 and the non-non-non offenders they're letting run wild unsupervised.

  2. The district attorney will file cases they can win or plea out. If there's a possibility they'll lose at trial, they won't push it - unless it's a murder or something high profile they have to push. I don't know an exact statistic, but I would estimate maybe 50% of arrests result in the DA filing the case. And that's a liberal estimate.

  3. I'm glad we have case law and legal procedures. I don't like how often they're used to postpone the inevitable. The majority (not totality) of people arrested are point fucking blank guilty. They did it. Period.

The first arrest I ever made was a DUI. The defense attorney trailed (continued) the case, successfully for THREE YEARS. That's a huge part of the problem.

greekmenrule15 karma

Do you consider what you do to be an invasion of privacy? If so, on what level/s. If not, how does it differ from 'official' law enforcement?

XCopPI32 karma

I don't consider what I do to be an invasion of privacy. I'm very conscious of what I'm lawfully allowed to do, and not. I don't cross lines, I do work in "gray" areas sometimes. Any "direct observation" stuff occurs in areas where there is no reasonable expectation of privacy.

Law enforcement is bound by the 4th Amendment, I'm not anymore. Even though I'm not, I can still run afoul of criminal statutes and civil invasion of privacy statutes.

talesfromthecryptt13 karma

How are your fees? Do you charge hourly or by job completion?

XCopPI18 karma

I typically charge and up front retainer and hourly. The hourly counts against the retainer until we go over, then I bill monthly. I typically start at $75/hr, sometimes higher depending on the case. Way higher for court testimony, and way way higher for expert witness testimony.

Edit: Some things are flat rate. But investigative cases are all done hourly.

questionable-source4 karma

What's the most you've ever gotten paid by a single case?

XCopPI10 karma

Gotten paid or billed? LOL...two very different numbers.

I have a custody case that my firm did $18,000 or so worth of work. Client really has no means to pay all that back. I'll write it off at some point. It was a good case and we helped a good person get their kids from a horrible living situation.

I think the most we've billed for a case and gotten paid was $7,800ish

Xanthilamide10 karma

What are some life lessons you learned from your current job?

XCopPI25 karma

Wow, that was pretty deep.

I'll tell you... the biggest life lesson is "make sure your Facebook posts are private."

I had a case where we had kids taken away from a MOM based on shit she was putting on Facebook.

Xanthilamide3 karma

Thank you. Good advice. I guess, that is also applicable to Twitter and such.

XCopPI11 karma

Anything social media. If it has evidentiary value, I'll get it and use it.

OzymandiasKoK6 karma

So...shouldn't the life lesson be "don't be a shithead"?

XCopPI3 karma

I wish we could dedicate some school curriculum to that.

kastroescobar9 karma

Are you only allowed to work in your own state? Or can you work all over the US?

XCopPI16 karma

California PI's have reciprocity in Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Oregon.

With out of state work, it's extremely common to subcontract (subbing) the work out.

gellis129 karma

Have you ever seen Republic of Doyle? It's a TV show about a guy who used to be on the St Johns police force, then became a private investigator.

If you have seen it, how ridiculous is the stuff that they do on that show?

XCopPI12 karma

I haven't seen it.. sorry =/ But now that I know it exists... I'll catch up.

I've never seen a really accurate portrayal of what PI's in this day and age do.

gellis125 karma

I'm sure that it's completely inaccurate, but the stuff they get up to in the show is pretty hilarious

Plus, they're Newfies!

XCopPI5 karma

Dude. I had to Google "Newfies." I had a pretty good idea, but I had to be sure.


MalfightBot8 karma

Hey, thanks for doing this AmA! I am thinking about going into law enforcement, and was wondering what you mean when you talk about the politics/micromanagement?

XCopPI28 karma

Firstly, you're welcome.

Secondly. Be a firefighter. Everyone loves you, chicks want to bang you, and when you show up at a house, seldom do people want to fucking kill you.

But I digress. Politics. You have a Chief of Police, the Chief typically answers to a Mayor or City Manager. If you're a Deputy, your Sheriff is elected by his constituents.

The politics of your jurisdiction will decide what kind of cop you are. The majority of jurisdictions these days are community oriented. You're a young, active cop? That's neat. Better not value your arrest stats over your community contacts.

Micromanagement, same concept. One month it'll be gang issues. Go out and bang the gangsters for everything you can find. Traffic cites, open containers, etc. The next month - quality of life violations - unlicensed vendors, loud music, etc. Why are you fucking with the gang members? You're supposed to be fucking with the guys selling flowers from the freeway on ramp.

Stuff like that ^

baldrad7 karma

What is one of the biggest realizations you have made since taking up this job?

XCopPI12 karma

How fucked up our court system is.

On the job, you hook people, the DA may or may not prosecute them. That's really all you see (aside from maybe traffic court.)

The judicial system is fallible because people are fallible. I once a client that was accused by his wife of a sexual assault. In 36 hours I developed ALOT of evidence to show she was a lying piece of shit. The Judge still granted a domestic violence restraining order and ordered this dude out of his house. He ran a home based business. You can guess how well that went for him.

So..to answer your question. The biggest realization is: Even when I do the best possible job, and counsel does the best possible job - sometimes you just don't win.

baldrad5 karma

I hope you don't let that get you down. You are helping people always remember that.

XCopPI4 karma

I don't. I try not to take anything personally, same as I've done throughout my career.

It's a little more disheartening now, since I'm directly paid for my work.

pd_pilot7 karma

Why didn't you just become a detective??

XCopPI21 karma

I don't have a good answer for that. On the job, I enjoyed the investigative aspect. I didn't enjoy the micromanaging and political nonsense.

kaseyunderneath7 karma

How necessary/helpful has you're prior law enforcement experience been in your current career?

XCopPI8 karma

It's been very helpful. Especially when you're doing work in areas of law have cross over. I do alot of work on family law cases, and family law attorneys don't typically have alot of knowledge with criminal law.

kaseyunderneath3 karma

One more if you could: what was it like policing cannabis in a medical marijuana state? Were there still a good amount of recreational arrests? I can imagine a lot of people in trouble beating themselves up for not getting a dr excuse where available.

XCopPI3 karma

11357(b) H&S is basically a non bookable infraction now. It's like a $100 fine and that's it.

I really really really really tried not to bother with them. Unless it was in conjunction with quality-of-life type enforcement, i.e. gang members hanging out at parks, etc. Some kid sitting in his car with a dime bag? Not worth the time or effort.

posypeach7 karma

Do you ever catch any flack for becoming a PI after being a cop? I ask because there seems to be a sort of rivalry between the two

XCopPI14 karma

Not really. I keep good relationships with people I used to work with, or people who knew me from the job. I stay away from criminal defense cases. That's what will really get a dude a bad rap. I've only taken one in the last year, and it was totally righteous.

Edit: It didn't go to jury trial, the DA dismissed the charges after I found witnesses that blew their case up.

twhitt2527 karma

Do you enjoy your job better as a P.I. than as a cop?

XCopPI17 karma

I enjoy different things. Better money now (not every PI can say that,) no micromanagement, essentially set my own hours.

I miss the camaraderie of the job, I miss getting into cool shit and the stories that come with it.

I don't miss wondering what holiday, birthday, and/or special occasion is going to get ruined by being called-in on my day off.

Randomonius7 karma

What's some "cool shit" you got to experience while a cop?

And what do you still talk about when you see your old buddies??

XCopPI7 karma

1) Got in a vehicle pursuit my third week on the job. Decided to high risk stop the car instead of walking up (it was reportedly involved in a brandishing) vehicle took off and got away after a 20 minute pursuit. He was caught a few weeks later. Second striker parolee, and was going to kill me when I walked up to the car.

2) Depends on the venue. We usually talk shop. I get to hear about all the drama I'm missing out on, they get to hear about how drama free my environment is now.

floralsy7 karma

As you say most of your cases involve families - has there ever been a moment where you have thought that a child's welfare was at stake; if so, what action did you take?

XCopPI23 karma

I've had quite a few cases where a child's welfare is at stake. I develop the evidentiary case on my end so the court can make a good custody decision.

CPS is the WORST Government agency in existence.

In 10 years I've called CPS (Child Protective Services)...fuck..hundreds of times? As a cop, I never once saw them act appropriately. Never once did they pull a kid from parents when it was 100% warranted. "Oh, we'll get the parents counseling."

As a PI, I've referred 10-20 cases to them, I've had 1 case where they've acted properly and pulled kids from a parent.

johnny_ou_jea7 karma

Are you still friends with some of your ex coworkers?

What questions do they have for you about your job?

Do you ask them for help sometimes (are they allowed to help you) ?

XCopPI6 karma

I'm friends with a lot of my ex co-workers.

They typically expect that I do a lot of surveillance (I don't)

I've never asked a friend/former co worker for any information I can't get myself. I wouldn't put them in that position.

swearstoomuch6 karma

Have you ever been hired by the government or other public service, or is it all civil cases?

XCopPI13 karma

I haven't been personally hired by a government agency. Almost all of my cases involve some type of civil litigation. I know of some PI's that have been contracted by smaller law enforcement agencies to conduct internal affairs investigations.

Edit: It's also pretty common for law enforcement agencies to contract PI firms to conduct pre-employment background investigations on police officer applicants.

fastspinecho3 karma

You mentioned earlier that PIs are not bound by the 4th amendment like the cops are. Just curious, does anything stop a police department from hiring a PI to obtain evidence that legally they can't obtain directly?

XCopPI2 karma

The PI would be working "an an agent" of a government entity, and thus still be bound to constitutional restrictions. It wouldn't do anything to help them.

Irwin965 karma

Why are you doing this AMA at 12 am?

XCopPI17 karma

I'm up working late, and I've been drinking (Makers 46.)

drakehfh5 karma

Have you ever killed a person while on duty?

XCopPI27 karma

No, not while on duty.

barneyfarney4 karma

Why the move from cop to PI?

XCopPI8 karma

Politics, micromanagement, and pay.

norby24 karma

What are the favorable qualities and disfavorable qualities of a person that might aid/hinder success as a PI?

XCopPI5 karma

Favorable - Common sense. Common sense. Common sense. Did I mention common sense? I know some VERY intelligent (book smart) people, but without street smarts, you're fucked. The ability to think outside the box is the biggest thing. Every case is different. At the end of the day, your job is the develop an evidentiary case for your client. The ability to be versatile and adapt is paramount.

Disfavorable - Anyone who thinks the shit they see on movies or TV about PI's is remotely true. 30-year retired homicide detectives who insist on "this is how I've always done it" - they don't usually do well.

excited_utterance4 karma

Do you get a lot of favors from police officers considering you were one of them?

XCopPI13 karma

What do you mean by favors?

I got my first traffic citation EVER a month ago, that sucked.

9ua51m0d04 karma

How can I find out if I have an active warrant for my name? And how can I find out whether it is specefic for a state or nationwide?

XCopPI6 karma

That's a...complicated question.

When warrants are issued they're typically entered into NCIC. California warrants are issued into CLETS.

It really depends alot on whether or not the warrant is extraditable.

9ua51m0d05 karma

So.. Who has access to this NCIC? Can a lawyer or a PI look it up?

XCopPI6 karma

NCIC access is limited to law enforcement only. NCIC = National Crime Information Center. It's a nation-wide database that law enforcement agencies have access to.

Where do you think you have a warrant out of?

RufinTheFury3 karma

Did your bosses at the station know this was your plan? How did they react?

So since you're your own business now how have you been advertising yourself?

XCopPI5 karma

I didn't specifically say what I was going to do when I left. They had a pretty good idea. All my old co-workers and bosses know now. The negative nancys all mother fucked me that I wouldn't be successful, blah blah.

The majority of clients come from referrals. Either from previous clients or law firms I partner with. In addition, I do the Google, Bing, etc local listings and Google AdSense. Surprisingly, ALOT of potential off the street clients find me through Yelp.

Africare3 karma

How deep does it go?

XCopPI6 karma

Carl Anderson.

DarkPasta3 karma

So, how many of your clients are suspicious spouses?

XCopPI6 karma

Very few, surprisingly. California is a no-fault divorce state. So infidelity doesn't give you a leg up in a dissolution. I've done a few.

Blue_E_Tank3 karma

Do you work with a partner to split things up or do you go it alone?

XCopPI5 karma

I handle most everything myself. I have some P/T guys I use for certain things. It's a business like anything else, so I have staff that handle the administrative functions (billing, etc.)

D14BL03 karma

Have you ever taken a job as a PI that you ended up regretting? Maybe something where you learned something you wish you hadn't?

XCopPI7 karma

I don't think I've regretted taking a job from an ethical standpoint.

We provide other services like serving documents (for a flat rate fee) that I've regretted from a business standpoint.

Donm43 karma

Is there one case that will always stick to you?

XCopPI3 karma

Cop case or PI case?

TheMalien2 karma


XCopPI9 karma

Cop - I went to a fight call, ended up being an attempted murder by stabbing. Handled most of the case myself, found bad guy, arrested him, and he was convicted. It was cool to get that dude off the street, and even cooler doing it from start to finish.

PI - First surveillance I ever did was a child custody exchange. Dad was client, and we basically were documenting how Dad interacted with the kids. At the exchange, Mom started yelling at and slapping the shit out of one of the kids, I got it on video. Her 50% custodial time went to an hour a week...supervised. Womp womp.

TheMalien3 karma

Damn, that last one's real crazy. And yeah, must've felt good to get such a crook off the streets.

Anyway, I got a couple 'o questions for ya, if you don't mind:

Who's your favorite comic character(s)?

Do you think a Judge Dredd kind of thing would work in real life?

Have you or do you practice any martial arts?

Thank you very much and good luck on your journey.

XCopPI4 karma

I don't mind at all.

1) Do graphic novels count? Rorschach.

2) It's cool to think about. But due process is the cornerstone of our justice system. SOMETHING needs to change in that system. Whatever it is needs to be consistently applied.

3) I trained for 2 or so years in Gracie BJJ. I tried Krav for a short while. I'm not super current on anything, but I could still roll if I had to

Thank you for participating!!

jellyjello3 karma

What was the biggest change for you going from police work to PI work?

XCopPI7 karma

Rules of evidence. Most of what I do now revolves around civil litigation.

Running a case is pretty much the same regardless of the area of law. Different burdens of proof, different procedures.

Three-year-throwaway3 karma

So Jim Rockford was your hero too?

Also, how corrupt are the cops in your area, really?

XCopPI10 karma

Less Jim Rockford and more Phillip Marlowe.

Corruption? Meh... I can honestly say I never saw any corruption. There are definitely some shitheads that shouldn't be cops. The majority of them are good people trying to do the right thing. YMMV on that depending on your location.

mahlihsah2 karma

Have you ever had a case looking for someone living on the streets? If so, any success?

XCopPI2 karma

I have one I started today also.

I've had one prior, I'm usually pretty successful. It's typically family members trying to reach out and bring back a loved one. It's typically just hoofing it through the Rescue Mission, etc. I actually went down and found one in a transient encampement in the river bottom. I should've gotten hazard pay for that one =/

Thunderbolt619112 karma

Current LEO here (UT) - I'm interested in a PI career post retirement but I'm having trouble figuring out how the job works once licensed. PI firms rarely are hiring. I can get licensed but then what? There are no training courses out here. How did you make the transition? Tips? Thanks for the AMA. Stay safe.

XCopPI2 karma

One day, I just kind of said "fuck it" and took the leap.

If you can't get hired with an existing firm - start your own. Figure out what your specialty is and market it. If you just get a license and a phone number you'll sink. It's a business, you have to hustle to make it grow.

jmact12 karma

I have a friend who has been doing this for years in CA. He does not have a law-enforcement background, I think he has a teaching degree, was never in the military. I think initially he worked for himself, but for some time has been an investigator with the public defender's office. He describes the work as essentially like doing research, finding deadbeat dads, double checking the prosecutor's investigations, etc. Spends a lot of time on the computer, going through people's trash, etc. Really not much in common with TV and movie PI's.

I also know there is a big difference between uniformed patrol officers and police investigators (a huge difference in the armed services). I looked through your comments so far, and I couldn't see if you mentioned what you did when you working for the PD.

My friend is essentially a pretty smart guy with good people skills, and as a PI he produces results. What do you think might give you an advantage, as a former police officer, over my friend?

XCopPI2 karma

I primarily worked patrol, I had some collateral assignments that were investigative in nature, but I never held the title "Detective."

The level of investigative work you will do as a patrol officer will vary greatly on your agency.

As to your friend, PD investigators have a crappy job and I respect him for doing it.

A GOOD PI should have a few things they specialize in doing. I see alot of ex cops advertising that they do everything from Arson to Watercraft Accidents. If I have a contract law matter, I'm not going to hire a criminal defense attorney.

I don't know if I would be advantaged over your friend.

pastrypalace2 karma

Not sure if you're still here, but figured I'd go for it. Was your plan to become a PI after law enforcement? If not, why did you leave law enforcement?

And one more, best place to get a late night burger?

XCopPI2 karma

I'm back for a morning around!

I really planned to make a career out of the job. But with the changing politics and general attitude toward cops, I decided (amongst other reasons) to take my ball and go home. The micromanaging really takes a toll after a while. The people who think "cops never get in trouble" have no clue. I never had disciplinary issues, but I saw really good people get jammed for stuff that...they really shouldn't have. And vice versa, I saw problem employees that were teflon. It kills morale after a while.

Edit: Sorry, I missed the most important part of this. In-N-Out. By far.

Jack in the Box if In-N-Out is closed. But In-N-Out if at All possible.


  1. Your opinions in the drug war, what are they?

  2. Approximate salary?

  3. How'd you get work at first? Were you a detective as a cop?

  4. You know reddit, tell us a good juicy story, true or otherwise.

  5. Ever rub one out while on a stake out?

XCopPI2 karma

1) I go back and forth. CA has pretty much decriminalized marijuana, to the extent that I had just really stopped enforcing it. I'm going to burn up an hour scratching out a citation, seizing the weed, going back to the station, booking it as evidence, writing a report, writing an evidence tag.... for a dime bag? That's stupid.

As for harder drugs, the current strategy isn't working. The problem itself a tad beyond my pay grade, so I'm not going to pretend to have a great answer.

2) Depends, 100k ish.

3) I'm a social butterfly and knew quite a few local attorneys. They were more than happy to start passing stuff off to me once I came out and started doing this.

I never held the title Detective, no. I had a few collateral assignments over the years that were investigative in nature, though.

4) Had an infidelity case (which I usually don't) where wife hired me to check into hubs. I scheduled a time to meet with her at her house to go over the results. I got there a little early and knocked at the door. Some dude rushed out past me...it wasn't her husband. I wasn't nearly as cool as Bud White. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rvIcPjAF5mo

Oh, and her husband wasn't cheating. Womp womp for him.

5) I have not. I'm not sure if that's good or bad...

MsRodgers2 karma

Is your name Keith Mars?

XCopPI2 karma

Lol no. Nor do I know anyone named Veronica.

G352 karma

If you're still answering: What is your opinion of Gavin de Becker and his company?

XCopPI2 karma

I am.

I've actually never heard anything but good things about GdB. They tend to pay well and take care of their people.

A lot of guys make a career out of working there

Wasted_Thyme2 karma

As a PI, are your cases often more or less serious/intense than on the police force?

XCopPI12 karma

Different. I would say less intense, for the most part. Murders, rapes, etc I don't really get involved with. I have some crossover with Family Law case when it comes to domestic violence and sex crimes. If I WANT to get into murders, etc... I have to do criminal defense investigations. I have an ethical issue with doing that.

I don't get any of the cool shit I used to. Vehicle pursuits, chasing bad guys through back yards, getting in fights, etc.

When I work on child custody cases, it can be more intense, as evidence I uncover/develop/present and directly affect that kid's future. I take that pretty seriously.

KorranHalcyon2 karma

when you spank it to internet porn, what is your go to category? teens? anal, milfs?

XCopPI3 karma

Random stuff on xhamster usually, I'm what you might call a "world traveler" of porn.

SuperRantrave2 karma

Where in Cali did you work?

I once had someone dear to me get harshly interrogated by the LAPD over something very trivial. She had been suffering from depression, and this event just made her dive in deeper. Sadly she is no longer with us. If you are from LA, or even if you are not, is there a culture of being a complete asshole?

XCopPI2 karma


I'm sorry to hear about your friend.

It depends alot on the individual officer and culture of the agency. With LAPD, typically yes - there is a culture of being a complete asshole. Now, that doesn't mean that EVERYONE at LAPD is an asshole.

CaptainMonkeee2 karma

How difficult is it to become a detective of the police force?

XCopPI2 karma

Depends on the agency you work at, how well admin likes you, and if you're an idiot or not.

I know guys that work patrol their entire careers, and I know a guy who got a detective spot after 3 years.

GoldenRatios2 karma

How do you research private records and information not generally available to the public? Do you have access to police records? I would imagine that PIs would be allowed to search state arrest records at least.

XCopPI2 karma

Yes and no. I have access to professional databases that allow me to access personal identifiying information on people like DOB's and SSN's. There are provisions in the California Public Records Act that allow PI's access to certain publicly held records that are otherwise confidential.

readoutside2 karma

I have a sister in CA who has talked about becoming a PI. How difficult is it for people with zero LE background? What is the typical work schedule? I assume it isn't a 9-5 kind of gig.

XCopPI2 karma

If she wants to get licensed, she'll need to work for a licensed investigator or gain enough qualifying hours conducting investigative work.

There are some portions of it that are 9-5. I have plenty of normal days where I just roll into my office on my schedule.

If we're out looking to contact someone, or serve documents, that's typically done after hours (when people are home.)

It's difficult for people to break in, but not impossible. Having no experience is definitely a handicap. I'd recommend a basic CJ class on investigative techniques, and/or some basic pre-law/paralegal courses.

oreesama2 karma

can you become a legal PI without being a law enforcement?

XCopPI2 karma

Sure. CA law requires..uh.. 2 or 3000 hours of "investigative experience." The statute is pretty broad on what they accept. There are alot of insurance adjusters turned PI's that were never cops

Nova_Jake2 karma

Did you go to college? If so what degree did you get? What do you think about a degree in Criminal Justice or Psychology?

XCopPI2 karma

I have a B.S. in Business Administration.

Psych would be a good degree. Stay away from criminal justice degrees.

whisperkisses2 karma

How many hours of sleep do you average? Do you feel like a zombie a lot?

XCopPI3 karma

4-5. I engage in considerable caffeine intake throughout the day.

verde6221 karma

Maybe too late to get an answer, but:

Do you find yourself operating with a different moral code now that you are working as a PI, rather than a cop? Does the (what I assume) lack of red tape fundamentally change the way you do your job? Or are the jobs different enough that it isn't a fair comparison?

XCopPI2 karma

Good question!

The majority of PI's that I've dealt with are very ethical. Having said that, I've met some super sketchy PI's that I'll never do business with.

I don't find myself operating with a different moral code. Different rules (as government by rule of law) but same concept. With a legal investigation, my job is to gather evidence to help the court make a favorable ruling for my client. I've never had any evidence suppressed, because I stick to the rules.

No more red tape is the best part. I make the decisions on how to proceed.

Ahead0021 karma

One time a P.I. tried to get me to work for them. Looking back on it, i think id actually enjoy the work. Do you think someone with no police experience could be a successful P.I.?

XCopPI2 karma

Sure, there are quite a few PI's I know of that don't have LE backgrounds.

It really depends on what type of investigations you specialize in. I think it would be hard for someone to work on criminal defense investigations with no LE experience. But with any type of civil litigation, the learning curve is pretty much there for everyone. Unless you're a lawyer or paralegal branching to be a PI also

Black_Suit_Matty-6 karma


XCopPI10 karma

I haven't shot any black kids, especially just because they were black.

It apparently is a thing, if you watch the news.

I've never had anyone try to pee on me. Lots of people that peed in the back of a patrol car.