I don't know how it started, but somewhere a couple of months ago, maybe longer, I really started feeling like I needed to be doing something else, something that was important.
I know that on many levels what I do now is important, I provide jobs, taxes, and I ensure that our food is prepared and handled safely. But that just doesn't cut it anymore. I've always wanted to be that guy who got the call to do something no one else could, or would do, and I'm not talking about going shoulder deep into the grease trap to remove a blockage. I'm about exciting stuff, stuff that makes a difference to people. For a while, sometimes, I was that guy, and I miss it.
So, what to do? I don't want to sell the cafe, I do enjoy it still, and the money is good (sometimes), so going back to police work or the army is out, I wouldn't really want to do that anyway.
I really couldn't figure it out until it hit me, private investigator. I'd thought about it before, but didn't want to be doing process service and chasing after straying spouses, that's less appealing than the grease trap. But, if I kept the cafe, kept working it, maybe cut my hours back, I could do the PI stuff on the side, I could afford to pick and choose the cases that I accepted.
So, that's what I'm doing, and I've applied for my license, which might actually turn out to be a hurdle I hadn't anticipated. NM requires three years experience within the last five years. I've been out of police work for over five years, so I'm appealing to the board based on my experience and training. One of my friends pointed out that I should be a shoe in, as I have two ex-wives and a drinking problem. We'll see what happens, but I do have a plan B...and a plan C.
In the meantime I've been brushing up. Five years is a long time, I've forgotten a lot, laws have changed, and hunting for people as a PI is quite a bit different than hunting for them as a cop. As a cop you have access to all kinds of federal, state, and local files, you can call water billing for an address and no one blinks, you can enter a name and date of birth into a computer and get pages of information on criminal and driving records. As a PI you can usually still get that information, it's just a little tougher, you have to be more creative, and sometimes you just have to break out the credit card.
This I have figured out over the past month while practicing my hunting. I am interested in primarily taking on missing persons cases, custodial interference, deadbeat parents, that sort of stuff. I knew that it was going to be difficult, not having the police resources anymore, so I decided to practice on a group of guys who no one is really actively looking for, but who need to be found: absconded sex offenders. These are the guys who are required to register, but don't, and skip town. There is one listed in our county, so I started with him, working on him in the mornings, on the occasional day off and during breaks at work.
I thought it would be easier than it's turned out to be, but because he's been tougher to track than I expected, I have learned a lot. I've learned that every state is different when it comes to public records and how available they are, sometimes it goes down to every county; I've learned that it's not too hard to get an unpublished number, but can be very hard to verify that the person who answers it is your bad guy; and I've learned that the county assessor's office in Nye County, Nevada rocks.
I don't have this guy yet, but I'm close, like 98% there. This evening, during the time when telemarketers like to call, I'll be calling that unpublished number and then hopefully I'll know.
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