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Private Security and the Investigative Process.

The content of Private Security and the Investigative Process is reminiscent of a college textbook. It accomplishes its educational objective but falls short in its attempt to be a working tool for both the novice and experienced security professional.

Author Charles P. Nemeth includes numerous illustrations of forms, checklists, and examples and organizes the text in subject-related chapters, making it a good, ready reference for immediate and specific investigative inquiries. However, most of the illustrations are not new to the subject of security investigations.

The first chapter, which provides an overview, has limited usefulness, except in an educational setting.

Chapter two launches into a discussion of the general characteristics of a competent investigator. Other than the section on codes of ethical conduct, this chapter is totally irrelevant.

The disjointed nature of this chapter is exemplified in the section on logic. A discussion of interview questions is presented without developing a scenario to illustrate the logic involved in the formulation of the questions.

The chapter called "Initial Interview and Case Evaluation" is much too general to be of practical use. The author is a strong believer in the use of checklists and forms in the initial interview and case evaluation phase of the investigation, as there are many examples in this section. The chapter is biased toward the entrepreneurial security professional and ignores the differing aspects of interviewing and case evaluation encountered by larger organizations.

The author also describes a mysterious sixth sense possessed by skilled investigators. In actuality, the ability to detect inconsistencies, bad intent, or deception is derived through extensive experience, nothing more.

Chapter four provides a fairly comprehensive discussion of witnesses. It contains some helpful ideas for locating uncooperative witnesses as well as sources for locating expert witnesses.

By far the most worthwhile section of this text is chapter five, which provides an excellent reference for sources of information.

The next chapter, called "Collection of Evidence and Preservation of the Scene," contains some practical guidance in the fields of photography and documentary evidence. The text gives the misleading impression that private security should be involved in the collection and preservation of evidence for criminal activities that are within the purview of public law enforcement.

Chapter seven discusses surveillance techniques. As with most of the information presented in this text, this is merely a rehashing of well-worn techniques.

The importance of note-taking and good report writing is effectively discussed in chapter eight. The conceptual foundation of a good report is well explained and the text includes valuable illustrations of various types of reports.

The next three chapters discuss investigative methods and techniques for major issues of investigative effort. These sections are detailed and thorough and would be immediately useful for novice investigators as a guide.

The final chapter examines administrative issues for a security office. It contains a discussion of billing, filing, and time-keeping methods commonly used in an entrepreneurial investigative operation.

Although some of the subject matter covered in this text is thorough, informative, and practical, the balance of the information is merely a rehashing of investigative techniques. Important issues, such as interviewing and interrogation techniques, case evaluation, narrative report writing, and case file maintenance, are briefly and haphazardly discussed. Conversely, the sections that discuss information sources and specific investigative techniques are interesting, thorough, and immediately useful.

Although it is obvious that Nemeth has little, if any, practical experience in some of the issues that are discussed, the book would serve well as a textbook for training new investigators or for use in a college course. For the experienced investigator or the corporate security staff of a large corporation, however, the text has limited use.

Reviewer: Stephen J. Markovich is a special investigator for Union Carbide Corporation in Danbury, Connecticut, and a member of the ASIS Standing Committee on Investigations.
COPYRIGHT 1993 American Society for Industrial Security
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Markovich, Stephen J.
Publication:Security Management
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Apr 1, 1993
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