Private Investigation and Homeland Security. By Daniel J. Benny. CRC Press; crcpress.com; 181 pages; $79.95.
In the popular media, private investigators are frequently portrayed as shadowy and unprincipled gumshoes working cases on cheating spouses and sitting in cars on stakeouts. This may be true to a small degree, but in his book, Private Investigation and Homeland Security, Daniel J. Benny makes a strong case for broadening the scope of private investigator services into the homeland security arena.
A quick glance through the book's comprehensive table of contents provides the reader with a preview of all things relating to the private investigation—from establishing an investigative business to countering cyberattacks and implementing technical systems.
Much of the homeland security investigation how-to content relates to various components of physical security and background investigations. The author includes an ancillary section on security consulting, which encompasses a broad discussion of intrusion detection systems, access control, and locking devices. At times readers may struggle to connect the dots as the author introduces varied content that may not seem relevant to the subject at hand.
The author could have neatly packaged the seemingly disparate physical security and investigative components of the book together for the readers by probing into the importance of the partnership between law enforcement and the private sector. The private sector owns and protects 85 percent of the nation's infrastructure, while local law enforcement often possesses threat information regarding infrastructure. Thus, to effectively protect the homeland's infrastructure, law enforcement and the private sector must continue to work collaboratively, because neither possesses the necessary resources to do so alone.
There is plenty of knowledge that can be used by investigators and general security practitioners alike. While the book covers a multitude of security-oriented topics, readers may find themselves questioning the relevance of some content. The appendices comprise nearly 30 percent of the book and cite some narrowly focused regulatory statutes, including New York security guard and Virginia private investigator training outlines.
This book would best serve one who is contemplating a foray into the private investigative industry or a more advanced practitioner who wishes to broaden investigative service offerings.
Reviewer: Doug Beaver, CPP, is chair of the ASIS Cultural Properties Council and a member of the Global Terrorism and Political Instability Council. He is the director of security for the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C.