Tuesday, July 11, 2006

PI School Part I: The First Night

As some of you may know, I enrolled in 'PI school' last year. Sara Gran innocently asked me to tell her all about it, so I thought I'd write up a multi-part post here. I have written some of this in a previous incarnation of my blog, but since that's not around any more, I thought it was time for a new and improved version.

Investigative Services Certificate III is the course that every aspiring private investigator in the state of NSW must complete to become a fully licensed PI. I can't say I had it in mind to complete the course, I'd even tried cajoling the head of the faculty into letting me pick and choose subjects. That ended up being far too complicated, so I simply enrolled in one semester (half a year) of the two semester course.

The Monday night class was filled with tired people of all ages, doing the course for interest or because they were thinking about a career in the police force. The teacher was Jim Biggs, a private investigator that has run a large agency for twenty years. Before that he was in the police force, and before that I'm sure Australia didn't have television. In his unobtrusive brown cardigan, he had that Brylcreemed Aussie politeness of older folks. It's a combination of excusing yourself when you cough and peppering conversation with the word 'bastard'.

He kicked the class off by telling us that being a private investigator was nothing like it is on TV. Jim used to watch shows like Magnum, PI, complaining his way through them, but the pain came to be too much and he stopped watching altogether.

Before we had the chance to get excited about the idea, he laid down the ground rules: no guns, no red Ferraris.

If you're not a cop in Australia, you have to have a pretty damn good reason to have a gun license. You need to do a course in security and you'd have to regularly escort VIPs or large amounts of cash before you'd even apply.

A bright red, flashy car is another big mistake. If you're trying to tail someone with an exotic vehicle, it's pretty easy for them to spot you in the rear vision mirror at every turn. Something like a ten year old monkey shit brown Corolla is a far better choice.

Getting down to business, Jim told us how he could get hold of the textbook for the course in a large shipment from Queensland at a special price. We couldn't hold it against him if he made a little profit. After all, he was risking the cash up front.

Quickly changing the subject, he took us through the Commercial Agents and Private Inquiry Agents Act (1963), and filled the dead air with anecdotes from his life as a PI.

Come back for some of these in Part II: The Stories, coming to a blog near you.

Right near you.


Sara said...

This is so cool! Can't w2ait for part II...



Sandra Ruttan said...

What? A bright, red, flashy car stands out? (DUH!)

I heard once that there was statistical backing that red vehicles got pulled over for speeding more than any other colour. Haven't seen that evidence myself, but it makes sense. I'd say, depending on where you live, dark blues and greens or greys would be the better blend-in colours...

You really are back in full force! Excellent!

Daniel Hatadi said...

Cheers, ladies.

Stephen Blackmoore said...

Personally, I'm of the Batman school of thought when it comes to PI cars.

Black with fins. And flames shoot out the ass. Yeah. That's the car for me.

Daniel Hatadi said...

A car with an ass on it. Very stylish. I want two.