Surveillance Specialist Reveals…
Surveillance Secrets 99% of Investigators Will Never Know
Master Surveillant courses will teach you surveillance skills through our entertaining and engaging online and field skills courses. Whether you are a public or private investigator, novice or seasoned veteran, you will learn from these courses.
Hi, my name is Darin Fredrickson.
I’m the author of the best selling surveillance books, Fundamentals of Physical Surveillance 2nd & 3rd Editions, written with seasoned investigator and surveillance specialist Raymond Siljander. In addition, we have authored many others including the book Fundamentals of Civil and Private Investigation 3rd Edition (Charles C. Thomas Publisher).
I have conducted physical surveillance for over 25 years. My real surveillance career began in 1991 when I became a street cop and started working the streets of Phoenix, Arizona. I quickly learned that my passion was surveillance. Being in uniform, and driving a fully marked police cruiser did not deter me in the least. I learned how to conceal my police car and conduct surveillance on bars, apartments, houses, street sellers, or really anywhere drugs were being sold. Within a few years, I transferred to a Narcotics unit and no longer had to hide a uniform or police car. As a plainclothes detective, I learned how to hide in plain sight by blending with my environment.
Whether it was the inner-city or an upscale suburb, I found ways to become invisible and get the evidence I needed to take down drug dealers. I honed my investigative and surveillance skills working drug investigations, yet after eight years realized I needed something more challenging.
I transferred to a REDRUM (murder backwards) unit, which was a task force of top-notch homicide and drug investigators that conducted surveillance on drug traffickers who were also suspected of being cold-blooded killers. These guys were often looking over their shoulders because they didn’t know if they had bad guys gunning for them. A couple drug dealers we conducted surveillance on had drug cartel bounties on their heads after they started ripping off the Cartel. They were the most dangerous and difficult duo I have ever conducted surveillance on. I took a couple burns with them and was fortunate to get away alive after they turned the surveillance on me! We were often reminded that these guys would shoot first and ask questions later if they spotted a tail because they didn’t know if we were the good guys or the bad guys, or if it even mattered. After six months of going to bloody drug related homicide scenes and building cases on cold-blooded killers still on the loose, the task force was shut down.
I then had the opportunity to interview, and was selected for a prime spot on the Phoenix Police Department’s elite ROP (Repeat Offender Program) Surveillance Team. This team was a tight-knit group of highly motivated and skilled investigators that targeted career criminals for surveillance. These criminals were involved in burglary, purse snatch, car theft, Organized Retail Crime (ORC), sexual assault and homicide. Many of the offenders were street smart, surveillance savvy, and raised the bar immensely for the surveillant. Our team shadowed these worst-of-the-worst criminals all over the city until they committed a felony crime under our watchful eyes. Usually within 72 hours of initiating surveillance on a target he or she was behind bars on felony charges. Yet our job was not over, we were also waiting outside the jailhouse doors if they were released and followed them to their next felony. Our team record was watching a career criminal steal a vehicle within one hour of being released from jail.
During my tenure on the ROP Surveillance Team, we were sought after by other lead investigators to help them gather evidence and intelligence for their cases. What a blessing it was to be able to gain the knowledge, insight, and experience of working high-profile serial cases. Our team worked surveillance on both the “Baseline Killer” and the “Serial Shooter” cases that were occurring simultaneously in the Phoenix Valley, and had many Phoenix residents under siege. I also spent a couple months conducting surveillance while riding a bicycle, on foot, and sitting in a vehicle when our team worked the “A.M. Rapist” case. The serial rapist, who had raped 14 women in 12 months, was captured after he pulled into an apartment complex and parked next to an investigator who had sat in the same spot for weeks conducting surveillance hoping she would spot him. After he jumped into a woman’s backyard and came face-to-face with his potential next victim, he was apprehended by police. Although over 50 officers spent more than 13,000 hours searching for this monster, the surveillance operation paid off.
After learning how persons become victims of crime, and women become victims of kidnapping and sexual assault, I created a Situational Awareness (SA) course and started teaching it to employees, woman, and seniors that could become victims of crime. After all, situational awareness is nothing more than surveillance of your surroundings, and victim avoidance.
In 2010, my wife Mary and I become licensed private investigators and began working civil and criminal cases together. She already had the fundamentals of physical surveillance, as she assisted me in teaching my Master Surveillant course, and was the “rabbit” the public and private investigators shadowed in the field skills portion of the course. We conducted surveillance on various types of investigations including insurance and workers comp fraud, marital infidelity, ORC, child custody, theft, fraud, and threats of workplace violence.
I tell you all this not to impress you, but to impress upon you that I have spent the majority of my career involved in surveillance and want to help others learn the art. I created these courses for one reason: to give every investigator access to the world-class surveillance training and education that will improve their performance in the shortest time possible. Additionally, I want to help members of our society feel safe, secure, and free to live their lives without fear. We live in a time of unprecedented violence and threat to our way of life as we knew it. Yet, in my experience of shadowing the evildoers of our society, I have seen how they select their victims. You can choose whether or not to become a victim of crime.