Tools of the Trade


According to John LeClair, PI and polygraphist for Northeast Polygraph Services in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, every field investigator should have the following:

• Cell phone
• Still and video camera
• Tripod
• Digital or audiotape recorder
• Extra film, videotapes, and/or audiotapes
• Binoculars
• Flashlight
• Fresh batteries for your camera, flashlight, and cell phone
• Food and water
• Change of clothes
• Full tank of gas
• Pretext scenarios
• Target and client information
• Paper, pen, and pencil
• Cash and credit cards


How Not to Be Seen


Want to stay unnoticed? Follow these basic surveillance tips:

• Drive a van, minivan, or SUV; they are best and offer more room inside.

• Always have a cover story or pretext. You could be an appraiser looking around for a bank, a Realtor waiting on a client, someone who’s just waiting on a friend, or a motorist waiting for AAA to come look at your car.

• Don’t make eye contact with the locals. Keep any unexpected conversation polite but brief.

• If possible, change your parked position regularly.

• Use common sense and know when a situation might be getting dangerous -- e.g., the target speeds away or attempts to confront you – and if it becomes dangerous, leave the area.