Soak up everything you can. Whether you’re reviewing an old case note, going by addresses, or being trained by yours truly. There’s a lot going on in every one of those situations. You may not even remember that tiny piece of information registering in you brain. But it did.
I’ve been doing this work for 17 years. That’s a lot of accumulation. When I perform a training, I’m like the Energizer Bunny. I don’t have a lot of time so I’m going to transport everything I can. By the end of the training, exhaustion usually sets in on both ends. As you step into your search for people, these bits will begin to glow like burning coals, and you’ll use them.
I recently watched “Cool Hand Luke” for the umpteenth time and the hound dogs got me thinking (see video). They got me laughing too (c’mon…those howls are hilarious). I can’t believe the tenacity of these things. Tearing through barbwire and busting through fences because the scent is driving them crazy. It’s like they’ll die if they don’t catch the scent. I’m not willing to call myself a hound dog but I can relate to the thrill of the search.
Your trackers need to be driven by the search. There’s a personality type that is always driven by what they’re going after (ie. Al Pacino’s character in “Heat”). If they see it only as a job, they won’t succeed. The “hardest-to-find” are just that. You need all [hands-feet-brain cells] on deck.
I’m happy to report that the training in Denver went well. Thanks to the good people at the University of Colorado. They continue to be great collaborators.
When thinking about the city of Denver, my head spins. Things change. I know it and you know it. It’s been three years since I visited so I expected to see plenty of change when I returned. Man, I wasn’t ready. I couldn’t get my bearings because all the main landmarks were hidden by new condos. The old familiar areas with affordable housing were completely bulldozed. Local nonprofits were vacant (and likely bulldozed by now).
When you do follow-up after several years, whole neighborhoods can disappear. With the massive migration of money into urban areas across the country, the working class are being pushed into the suburbs. (In Denver’s case, the people are being pushed out of the metropolitan area entirely). This means more travel time when going by new addresses. You may even consider relocating your project’s headquarters to be closer to the people in your project.
Several years back I decide to reach out to a well-known organization trying to find missing children. I spend an hour writing a detailed email describing my background, experience, skills, and results in regards to finding the “unfindable.” I start and end the email with one statement: “I’d like to help with your effort, free of […]
Seriously. Ok, maybe not everything. But my first tracking experience occurred at Disneyland when I was eight years old. It’s the mid-80s. Our family loads up the wood panel station wagon and hits the road. North Dakota to California. It seems like forever. After three days of endless roads, we roll into L.A. We are exhausted. We collapse into […]
I’m going back to where it all started. Recently I confirmed a trip to Denver to conduct a training with the very organization that gave me my first opportunity in the longitudinal research world – the University of Colorado. My first assignment was to find almost 1000 drugs addicts from a study several years prior. This […]
New Orleans. One of the best cities on the planet. I’m gushing because I just got back. First, go there. Second, I had a nostalgic moment I need to write about. Technology is now an intregal part of travel. We can’t go anywhere without staring at our phones wondering where to walk, eat, drink, or […]
Searching in public records seems pretty straight forward. The site will give you several criteria to choose from including name, social security number, address and phone. Just throw in the info you have and let it roll. What if your results are subpar, minimal or nil? Search is over, right? Wrong. You only glimpsed the […]
Social media is a form of publishing personal information. Not just sharing, publishing. If your participants choose to publish information for the world to see, it can be used to locate them. I once read about a bondsman looking for a client who violated parole. He had a warrant for her arrest. He found her […]
Storage auction shows are all over television nowadays. If you sift through the fluff, scripts and heavy production, you can find a few pointers. Bidders are investigators. Because they can’t touch the items in the storage unit, they have to take everything at face value. Even though they only see the face, there’s much more […]