PI work not all Hollywood glitz

By Staff
Melissa Cason, Franklin County Times
Private Investigators get a lot of attention from television and film writers but not all of them carry a briefcase full of high explosives or walk around with a magnifying glass glued to their eye.
Mickey Ergle, a former police officer turned private investigator, works with a network of former police officers called Excops4hire that provides investigation services to law enforcement officials, officers of the court and private citizens.
The network has six former police officers: three retired, two who have moved on, and one undercover investigator who has moved on as well.
"We do a lot of divorce and custody cases for private citizens," Ergle said.
Ergle said private investigators fill a gap created by city and county budgets and time restrictions.
That gap might include looking into the treatment of your children while in someone else's care or making sure your teenager is not getting into trouble while out on the town.
"The police department can't send an officer to follow your teenager to find out what he or she is doing, and parents should know what their children are doing away from home," Ergle said.
Ergle added that if parents suspect that a wild party is going on, police would likely go investigate but if the party was too wild, someone might be going to jail.
Ergle said the advantage of private investigators in that scenario would be that the investigator can break up the party, or at least bring the child home, without the risk of sending anyone to jail.
And while a large majority of a private investigator's work can be tedious, Ergle noted some of it is exciting and very interesting.
The tools of the trade make the work more interesting.
"I have better equipment now than I did in my 29 years of law enforcement," he said.
In what may be the only similarity between the real world and Hollywood, Ergle has a wide range of surveillance equipment used to follow, video and photograph investigation subjects.
"There is a lot of stuff available out there, but what's scary is that anyone has access to this equipment through the Internet," Ergle said.
Evidence collected by private investigators can be helpful in court, Ergle said but he won't take every case that comes down the chute.
And he's turned several cases down for various reasons.
"I will not help a guilty person go free…I am here only to see that justice is carried out," he said.

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