Sherlock Investigation’s Tricks of the Surveillance Trade
Investigator Sean Taig is back with more insight! Sean has been with Sherlock Investigations since Spring 2018. He recently supported local law enforcement and raised money for the Special Olympics by participating in our 2019 Polar Plunge! A fun fact about Sean, he hunted his first (and only, so far) deer back in 2011 at the age of 15 – a four-year-old doe that weighed a little over 200lbs and was delicious! This series is facilitated to give the reader a taste of the field investigator’s daily surveillance routine. Let’s get to know our second interviewee, Sean, a little better!
How do you begin your workday?
I generally will start my workday by looking over all the surveillance documents that I have been provided with, again. Having already reviewed it prior, this go around acts as a kind of refresher. I always double check my equipment to make sure it is fully charged and in working condition. Once I head out, I always stop at the gas station and fill my gas tank because you never know where a day of surveillance will take you. The last thing you want is to have to end a good day of surveillance because you run out of gas!
What does your surveillance setup consist of?
My surveillance setup is quite simple. I drive an SUV while on surveillance for two reasons. First being, it’s my only vehicle! And second, it’s just perfect honestly. Smaller SUVs offer similar mobility that a car would give, while having a slightly bigger back seat and the interior trunk space. This is handy especially if you have tinted windows, you can almost park wherever you want and so long as you turn off your vehicle – you can hang out in your back seat and no one will even see you! Personally though, I prefer to stay in my front seat. On the off chance you do get caught in your back seat – that can make for an awkward conversation.
Do you have a go to persona or cover that you use in the field when on surveillance?
Being a male, it can be difficult to change up your appearance. Wigs aren’t as effective for men as they can be for women! I am kind of a minimalist in this sense. I have been lucky enough to not have to drastically change my appearance. There have been instances where I have changed clothes such as a shirt, coat, or even changing hats. Other times during mobile surveillance it can be good to help change the appearance of your vehicle by alternating the illumination of your vehicle’s lights, putting a rag, book, or hat in your windshield, you can also hang things from your rear-view mirror, or even use your sun visors to your advantage. Many things can be done to switch up your appearance; you just have to find what works for you!
Why is a company full of unique investigators beneficial for a diverse case load?
Being an investigator is all about fitting into your surroundings. Given the area we operate, it is very important that we have a unique group of investigators. Not only ethnically but also in terms of skills, hobbies, and interests. South-eastern Michigan is one of the most culturally diverse places in the Midwest, so having investigators that we can “plug and play” into different cases can be very beneficial for individual success on each case. For example, if we have a claimant that we KNOW is a boating/fishing aficionado, we have an individual who would say the same, and has a boat. We then would be able to follow the claimant onto a lake and continue to collect video footage, instead of being stuck on shore.
How do you keep yourself at an advantage in this line of work?
In this field we rely quite a bit on technology to do our jobs. Whether it is the method of case delivery or the tools we use to collect our evidence. As a team we are constantly searching for new and improved ways to help streamline our process and improve quality. By doing so, we often come across tips and tricks to help us in the field. It can be something as simple as a specific camera setting to a new or better software program. At the end of the day, doing your own research is always the best way to stay one step ahead of the competition.