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Investigation can be defined quite simply as a systematic fact finding and reporting process. It is
derived from the Latin word vestigere, to “track or trace,” and encompasses a patient, step-bystep
inquiry (Bennett & Hess, 2004, p. 4). Investigation is finding facts; it is akin to research
conducted in the academic arena. Investigation is a multi-disciplined field of study. It
encompasses law, the sciences, communications, and a host of other things. Investigation
requires an inquisitive mind coupled with an attention to detail. Astute students of investigation
may 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 primary
function of patrol. Officers on patrol are making useful observations. Patrol officers discover
numerous crimes, traffic violations, policy violations, safety hazards, fire hazards and other
crime or loss events. In American police departments, the prevailing practice is to draw
personnel for the detective division from the patrol division (Leonard & More, 1978). This
generally 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 or
security department may be ill-suited for investigative work. The skill sets required to quell a
disturbance, direct traffic or restrain an aggressive subject are not the same as those needed for
investigation. An action-oriented person may dislike the occasionally painstaking attention to
detail that investigation requires.
Investigation is a key process used by management. Whether or not one is an “investigator” per
se, a manager will be involved in the investigative process. The investigative function is even
more important for those managers involved in protective functions. Professional certification
programs have recognized this. When the American Society for Industrial Security (currently
ASIS International) developed the Certified Protection Professional (CPP) program in 1977, they
made Investigation a part of the program. The International Foundation for Protection Officers’
Certified in Security Supervision and Management (CSSM) also has several investigative
components to it. So too does the Foundation’s Certified Protection Officer (CPO) process; as
entry-level protection officers are part of management. The represent management and ensure
compliance with management’s policies and procedures. They also collect information for 

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