This is one of those funny but not so funny aspects of being a P.I. I can't help but laugh at this now because I'm still fairly new and this is still exciting and hilarious. Last month I was mistaken for an undercover officer (by a state trooper). Today, well today's incident just has me in stitches I'm laughing so hard.
First, I must tell you that as P.I., I am NOT a police officer. I have nothing but respect for what they do but I would not want to be one. It doesn't fit my health, personality, etc. I simply could not do their job effectively and as such, I would be very unhappy had I chosen to be a police officer. I pride myself on doing a good job when I work and running on foot, physical training and anything else athletic are not possible for me in the sense that they must sometimes do them. I have terrible allergies and I'm sorely out of shape. So I'll leave all of this to the police.
So the day started much like any other. I had been working this case on and off for about a month. This was my third time out on the case and I had 3 days straight to watch this claimant. So I set up the same way I had on other trips out there and watched and waited. This time though, I didn't do many spot checks because I know the claimant's schedule and so I know when to watch for her and which way she's driving, etc. So I simply waited.
She went out as I expected, I followed her and lost her in traffic. So I canvassed the area then returned back to her neighborhood. I drove by her house to see if perhaps she went home and she had not. So I went and sat up indirect surveillance about 2 blocks from her home. I began to get bored a short time later and decided to get on the internet and waste some time waiting for her to come home.
So there I sat surfing away for over an hour, most likely 90 minutes or more, when a police car pulls behind me. Hmm. I called them earlier in the morning to let them know who I was and what I was doing in the area and where I would be so I wondered what had prompted the visit. I got out my ID and I already had my windows down so I held it out at the window and addressed the officer as he approached.
He gave me a stern "Do you have any badges in the car?" I answered no, just my ID. Then he proceeds to tell me that someone had called the police and told them I was knocking on people's doors (to their home) and identifying myself as the FBI. I supposedly had told the man who called that I was tracking down a drug dealer from Tennessee. I advised the officer I didn't have a license in Tennessee and that I was there on an insurance fraud case. I also told him I didn't think I fit the typical description of an FBI agent to which he let me know that there is no 'look' for an FBI agent.
I get his point, but then I replied how I would never want to chase anyone in my condition and that I was a little heavy to be running around on foot and knocking on doors. (I should also tell you that I was sitting in my car wearing a medical scrub top and yoga pants....so what part of FBI does that scream really?) Then we had a little chuckle about it and I told him I had been in the car at that same location (a public parking lot) for well over an hour and that the little old lady across the street could attest to that since she'd seen me and checked on me a time or two. There were other witnesses but he didn't seem concerned by that point.
Then the officer left. He had brought a second, plain clothes detective with him. It was interesting. I couldn't help but laugh over someone saying I was FBI. It just goes to show what goes through peoples imagination after watching too much TV and then doing something illegal. I'm sorry sir, whoever you were, but you're just not that important. And if I was the FBI, I wouldn't need to sit in a parking lot waiting for you, I would probably have the right to knock on your door, search your home or something else just as dramatic as you might have imagined. (*sarcasm* obviously)
I truly must give all the credit to my car for this. I drove a make and model that is very reminiscent of a police vehicle. I also have tinted or "blacked out" windows. So I guess that makes me look like law enforcement. I didn't plan it. At home we jokingly call my car the Punjabi Mob Mobile. A fitting name considering so many people seem to fear it. Hahahaha.