While it wouldn’t appeal to most folks to drive close to 6,000 miles in two and a half weeks, Signature Investigation Group’s (SIG) Owner, Mike Cook looked at it as an opportunity to blend business with a family vacation. An interesting question about this route is if anyone else has ever undertaken the same itinerary? Doubtful, as it started in Grand Rapids and wound through St. Louis to Montgomery, Texas (near Houston) and continued to Fort Sumner, New Mexico.
After that, it was on to the state of Utah with visits to spectacular National Parks along the way. The list in Utah alone included Zion, Brice (Cook’s personal favorite), Capitol Reef and Arches. (INSERT PIC OF ONE OR MORE HERE) World class scenery and views were there for all to see and enjoy. It continued to Steamboat Springs, Colorado then onto Colorado Springs where Cook met with another Private Investigator about GPS Tracking. After that, it was onto Topeka, Kansas, and St. Louis again before finally heading home. 5,927 miles to be exact.
However, at the end of the trip two events in Montgomery, TX and Park City, Utah highlighted Cook’s business relating to SIG and Private Investigation. In Montgomery, he attended the World Investigator’s Conference (WIC) for a full day and it was jam packed with guest speakers, vendor information and seminars on various private investigative functions like debugging, skip tracing, and surveillance. From there, various type of investigations were covered as well as Insurance, Marketing, testimony in court proceedings and ethics. At one point he met with Dean Beers, President of the National Council of Investigation and Security Services (NCISS); regarding lobbying being done on a national level for Private Investigators to secure client’s future success.
Cook said that the highlight of the day for him were two of the guest speakers: F. Lee Bailey and Joe Pistone. (INSERT PIC OF M.Cook with Bailey) Bailey is best known for defending Dr. Sam Sheppard (The Fugitive), Patty Hearst and O.J. Simpson. “His mind was sharp as a tack, despite being 83 years old, said Cook. He had a few colorful stories for sure, and plenty of sage advice as well.” Joe Pistone, (AKA Donnie Brasco) is a former FBI agent who worked undercover for six years infiltrating the Bonanno crime family and to a lesser extent the Colombo crime family, two of the five families of the Mafia in New York City. Pistone was an FBI agent for 27 years. He was a pioneer in deep, long term undercover work and Cook said his speech was riveting in terms of “how far electronic surveillance has come over the years as well as getting an insider’s view of the mafia and their inner workings.”
A series of individual meetings with other Private Investigators in Park City, Utah culminated in Cook sharing his expertise regarding GPS tracking. One of the PI’s he met with was Scott Fulmer who runs the ‘Utah Gumshoe’. His frustration and problems regarding GPS technology have to do with the fact that the mountains can sometimes block the signals. Cook discussed various methods in dealing with this including, but not limited to using a multi sim card system, with the idea that two carriers allow them greater coverage.
All and all the trip was a tremendous success both personally and professionally for Cook and his family. A once in a lifetime trip that won’t soon be forgotten and some very important business conducted along the way as well. Who said you can’t mix business with pleasure?
When time is of the essence – and gathering information that could prove critical to your business or family is at stake – it’s important to have someone you trust putting the best technology to work for you.
Advanced GPS trackers that collect real-time data are just one of the tools Mike Cook uses for his clients. Cook, Licensed Professional Investigator, & owner of Signature Investigations Group, recently shared details about his work at the Ohio Association of Security & Investigation Services Conference in Columbus. His expertise: Using Global Positioning System trackers in a variety of investigations, including child custody disputes and tracking data for his business clients.
GPS trackers are radio navigation systems that allow users to determine a vehicle or person’s exact location 24 hours a day, in all weather conditions, anywhere in the world.
Basic tracking systems deliver position updates every 5 to 10 minutes. But this time lag can lead to poor-quality information being gathered. However, Cook said the elite GPS tracking systems he uses can pinpoint a subject’s speed and location in 5-15 second intervals – meaning crucial information is delivered in real time – a priority in surveillance scenarios.
All this advanced technology is available in mobile (smartphone) platforms, and can be used within defined areas called “geo-fences.” These virtual perimeters define geographic boundaries and allow for more precise investigation data. Cook said the trackers SIG uses have a 32 geo-fence capability.
This type of GPS technology is now being paired with certain drones to prevent them from flying into restricted airspace. While GPS can locate someone and track them accordingly, Cook said it’s this type of “telematics” technology that enhances and improves GPS systems capabilities.
Telematics combines telecommunications capabilities with information. For example, it can combine GPS and wireless technology with remote diagnostics in auto applications such as OnStar. It allows drivers to access most wireless options in their vehicle by voice command. It’s evolving to include uses like determining who’s at fault in auto accidents, and for vehicle fleet tracking and insurance risk assessment.
Cook added "We built our own GPS Platform to encompass not only the quality our clients require, but for the ability to edit and add fields that other GPS companies denied adding to their software. The only way we could get what we wanted was if we control all of the telematics & capabilities, so we built our own."
Another critical aspect of GPS tracking, Cook said, is the automated reports that pull back the curtain and divulge details of a driver’s day. Many businesses want to know which of their vehicles are racking up excessive idling time, which are wasting fuel – and information about employees’ unwarranted overtime or unauthorized use of company vehicles that can mean more cost or liability for companies. "Now with the addition of 'Automated Reports', the client can get reports sent to their email without even having to login." said Cook.
In these cases, single vehicle or fleet mileage can even be broken down by state to assist with DOT reporting, which can save time and money. This has become an invaluable tool in the transportation industry.
From a functional standpoint, the GPS trackers that SIG uses are durable and will keep a battery charge for 30-90 days, depending on the device. There are certain tricks to the trade in terms of where to place them on a vehicle that Cook said make it virtually impossible to detect.
Now that you see how well GPS trackers can work for you, don’t hesitate to contact Signature Investigations Group (SIG). We work cases 24 hours, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
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