Quantcast

How's Work?: Pittsburgh P.I.

Investigator Frederick Woodard's daily agenda changes based on the case -- meaning he may not drive around following people the way you see it on TV.




Photo by Martha Rial
 

 

FREDERICK WOODARD
Woodard Private Investigations, LLC
Job: Private Investigator

 

What’s a typical day for you?
My day-to-day activities are dictated by the case . . . It may be for an insurance company [that] does workman’s comp claims or an attorney involved in an injury case. I could be attempting to locate a witness who may have information in a civil matter or interview several witnesses and prepare reports based on those interviews. I could be doing background checks for clients . . . I also offer close personal [bodyguard] services for clients such as executives, dignitaries and celebrities.

Whom are you paid to follow?
It could be a divorce case or a child custody case. Or [one] parent has a feeling the other parent isn’t taking proper care of the child and needs to be reassured or to obtain evidence to use in court eventually. In infidelity, the spouse also wants enough evidence to reassure [himself or herself] — or to take to court.

Are you usually following people in an inconspicuous vehicle with a long lens?
That’s the image I get. Yeah, it depends on the situation. There is vehicle surveillance [among other tasks] . . . And I have done that in my law-enforcement career. I spent 15 years in [Pittsburgh Police] narcotics, and most of that was done doing large-scale investigations with the FBI and DEA and others . . . You could use covert cameras as well — follow them into a bar and take video that way. The bottom line is you are hired to obtain as much evidence as you can. It doesn’t always work out. A good investigator would never make promises as to an outcome. There was a time when I followed a guy around all day, 12 hours, and he never did a thing.
Private investigators often are featured in TV and movies.

Are there any media misconceptions you can clear up for us?
The P.I.s [you see on TV are] rough and tumble. I think a lot of [that idea] comes from the time before P.I.s were licensed. [Today,] most states require the investigator be insured and bonded and have a certain amount of training or experience. In Pennsylvania, [a private] investigator has to have three years as an investigator and have a hearing before a court.

And how does one get these three years’ experience?
Must they be done in law enforcement? They can be, or you could work for three years under a licensed private investigator.
 
Have you ever been discovered or noticed?

Not [yet] as a private detective. In law enforcement, I have had the surveillance get “burned.” That’s what it’s called when your surveillance gets noticed. That’s never happened to me as a private detective. 


Hot Reads

7 Things You Need to Know About the Pittsburgh Marathon

7 Things You Need to Know About the Pittsburgh Marathon

Before you head for the course, brush up on etiquette for the race.
Best Doctors 2014

Best Doctors 2014

We present to your our list of the 608 leading regional physicians across 77 specialties.
Review: Crested Duck Restaurant

Review: Crested Duck Restaurant

Crested Duck is a prime place to enjoy cured meats, pickled plates and European-inspired bistro dishes, such as chicken roulade.
Crazy in Love, Even at 40

Crazy in Love, Even at 40

As PittGirl approaches her 40th birthday, she rekindles her love for Pittsburgh.

The 412

Iron Worker Relaxes on I-Beam at the Top of PNC Plaza, Takes Bonkers Photo

Iron Worker Relaxes on I-Beam at the Top of PNC Plaza, Takes Bonkers Photo

This man is not to be trifled with, you guys.
Pittsburgh is the 15th-Best City in America for Millennials, According to Millennials

Pittsburgh is the 15th-Best City in America for Millennials, According to Millennials

Half a million college students can’t be wrong.
Here's How Bad This Neverending Winter Stinks, Visualized With Zoo Animals

Here's How Bad This Neverending Winter Stinks, Visualized With Zoo Animals

Bummed about the April snow? Here's a friendly reminder that it could always be worse.
Pittsburgh is Home to the Best Cake in America, Says HuffPost

Pittsburgh is Home to the Best Cake in America, Says HuffPost

New York City’s bakeries have nothing on the burnt almond torte from Prantl’s.

Hot Reads

7 Things You Need to Know About the Pittsburgh Marathon

7 Things You Need to Know About the Pittsburgh Marathon

Before you head for the course, brush up on etiquette for the race.
Best Doctors 2014

Best Doctors 2014

We present to your our list of the 608 leading regional physicians across 77 specialties.
Review: Crested Duck Restaurant

Review: Crested Duck Restaurant

Crested Duck is a prime place to enjoy cured meats, pickled plates and European-inspired bistro dishes, such as chicken roulade.
Crazy in Love, Even at 40

Crazy in Love, Even at 40

As PittGirl approaches her 40th birthday, she rekindles her love for Pittsburgh.
Warhol Redux

Warhol Redux

The Andy Warhol Museum has turned things upside down.
Top 10

Top 10

The best things to do in Pittsburgh in April.