CALI San Jose District Update

Wednesday, May 22, 2013  

District update by Sandra Copas, PI, CFE
San Jose District Governor 2012-2013

To get a PI license, BSIS requires us to have 6000 hours of investigation experience. That means that we already know how to conduct some type of investigations, but it doesn’t mean that we know how to run our own business.

Most of us have come from some type of law enforcement background so it seems an easy jump from the public sector to the private sector. But the transition is not that easy. Our members have been asking us to offer educational programs that would help them strengthen their business skills and grow their business.

Every year after elections, we hold an Annual Retreat and encourage our members to attend and participate. During this meeting, we talk about the goals we want to meet for the term and plan our meetings to meet these goals. We had three main goals this past term.

  • Increase Membership
  • Increase Member Participation
  • Address Member Requests: Offer training events to strengthen management and organizational skills in order to grow their business.

We are fortunate to have a strong group of leaders in our district. By listening to our members and with the help and dedication of our district board members and our district members, I am proud to say that we reached all three goals!

During our Annual Retreat, the board and other interested district members brainstormed and put together an aggressive educational program for the 2012-2013 term. We held a total of 9 events, announced three full-day training courses offered by Homeland Security, and a training event for BSIS firearm re-qualification offered by Cody S & Associates. Here’s a snapshot of our 2012-2013 educational program.

  • 2 Training Events
  • 4 District Meetings
  • 1 Philanthropic Event
  • 4 Event Announcements offered by other organizations

To execute these events, the board held the following meetings.

  • 2 The Annual Retreat and the Follow Up to the Annual Retreat
  • 9 Monthly Board Meeting Phone Conferences
  • 3 Board Meetings

Here are highlights to some of our most successful district events.

Sunday, September 30, 2012
RANGE DAY: BULLETS & BBQ Half Day Training Event

This was so much fun that attendees were asking before the end of the day when we were going to do this again! Cody Salfen, Cody S & Associates, Inc., is a licensed instructor for the BSIS requalification permit process. Although this meeting was not about getting re-qualified, he coordinated our event at the 10th Street Range so our members and their family could learn the basics about firearm safety and shoot a gun if they have not had the opportunity to shoot one before. Those who knew about firearms and had advanced firearm skills helped those of us (like me) who had limited experience. Check out our district album to see some of the pictures from this event.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Additionally, we co-sponsored a philanthropic event with Cody S & Associates to host the Sears National Safety Event, where we offered free Fingerprinting ID Kits to parents.
This was a full day event where I have to give kudos to three of our members. Cody Salfen was the key player in this event. He organized and certified two of our members for free, Phil Flores and Adina Conroy, in order to assist with the Live Scan process. I also attended the event and all four of us were happily exhausted at the end of the day.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013
For those of you who couldn’t come to our meeting, handouts are available here. Please support our district with a $15 donation to fund a hospitality suite for the 20113 CALI Annual Conference.

People registered and attended from districts as far away as Los Angeles, Golden Valley, Inland Empire, San Diego, and East Bay and we were fortunate to meet several new licensed investigators. Thanks to Adina Conroy, we have pictures! Here’s what happened…

Marlin Holmoe, Esq., Mullen & Filippi, LLP, had informative handouts and gave an excellent presentation clarifying legal issues we can use as investigators to keep us safe and compliant.

Marlin Holmoe, Esq.

"…your client is not paying you to conduct an investigation. Rather, they are paying you to disclose your results!”

He referenced codes and regulations Prof & Voc Regs Sect 624, B&P Code Sec 7561.1(g), and B&P Sec 7539(a) and talked about Work Product Privilege and Qualified to Absolute Privilege.

"Mark every written communication (including invoices and emails) "Confidential or "Privileged Attorney Work Product” and "Mark your report, "Not to be copied or placed into claims files.”

Francie Koehler, CPI

Francie Koehler, CPI, Special Circumstances, had so many handouts for us; we needed to lay them out on the floor to make sure we got them all! She contacted seven investigators who she knew wrote excellent reports and for samples for her presentation. Two report examples were over 20 pages long! It was a rare and fantastic opportunity to look this deep into how our peers write their reports!

She handed out a wealth of information in, Report Writing for Defense Investigators, written by two Chief Investigators. This handout covered everything: preparation, basic steps, note taking, report formats, and Penal Code section references.

"Every report must stand alone…Remember, there is always a possibility that your report could be included in a brief to the highest court in the land [so] prepare accordingly.”

Francie referred to a free on-line tool, "Lynch’s Guide to Grammar and Style” to help investigators with common word choice mistakes such as That versus Which (Do you know the difference?)

Brian Pratt, PI

Not all information should be included in your report. It may not be relevant. Brian Pratt, PI, Mystery Solvers, said that if he uncovers important information, especially if it could have an adverse effect on the case, "Don’t wait to include it in your report. Call the attorney and ask what he wants you to do with it.”

Don Vo, Gregg Dietz, Roci Novak, Kenneth

Don Vo, PI, Dietz Assoc., wrote, "Glad we came. This was a very informative meeting and it was enlightening to see private investigators from other districts. Francie really impress[ed] me. She has many years of experience and helped us with various report writing styles. After tonight’s meeting, Mr. Gregg Dietz and I are interested in attending the NLITE Program.”


Shannon Koener, Roger Arreola,
Joey McGlinchy, Phyllis Armenta

We were extremely fortunate to have Roger Arreola, Top Secret Investigations, from Southern California attend our meeting. Roger generously donated a GPS system last night for our raffle, a $300 gift! The lucky winner? Kenneth Duong, of Dietz and Associates!

Roger is working on getting a booth at the CALI conference to promote his GPS unit business. So when you attend the CALI conference this year, June 6-8, in San Jose, please stop by Roger’s booth and introduce yourself because if you missed last night, if everything goes according to plan, you’ll have another chance to win a GPS system!

After the meeting, Roger sent an email to the board saying, "I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone, especially Sandra Copas, for making me feel welcome at the San Jose District meeting. I know I'm from Southern California but you all made me forget that I was so far from home. The presentations by Francie and Marlin were awesome. Thanks for all your insight and expertise. Keep up the good work!”

Friday, April 26, 2013:
Legal Issues Full Day Training with David Queen and Eric Geffon
This was another event where we had the pleasure of meeting members from other districts. For those of you who wanted to come but couldn’t, presentation notes and slides will be available soon for a small donation. Some of the comments we received…

Jon Jacobson of Dakota Information Group in Modesto wrote,

"I wanted to take a minute to thank you for allowing me to attend the CALI San Jose training last week. I very much enjoyed the training and the entire event was very well planned and ran effectively. Your organizational abilities remind me of my days in the Marine Corps (gigantic complement!!).

Again, thank you, it was a great way to spend a Friday, I learned a TON and had a chance to connect with some wonderful people, what more could a guy ask for?”

Juan Sigler of Sigler and Associates Investigations in Castro Valley wrote,
"I want to thank you…for organizing the outstanding program last week. It was very informative and I liked having the opportunity to meet you and the other PI's. Look forward to working with you.”

What was the training all about? Here’s an excerpt from our training announcement.

David Queen will go into detail on selective topics to give us answers to questions we've asked ourselves for a long time. Questions such as:

  • How should I structure my business? Should I incorporate?
  • Client contracts and sub-contractor contracts
  • Price fee structure: Is it legal? What is the industry standard? Is this double dipping?

By David Queen, Esq.
Queen Law

Learn various methods of building a strong and lasting relationship with your attorney-client. Show your attorney-client how you can help win their case.
By Eric Geffon, Esq.
Geffon & Isger, Attorneys at Law

With proceeds from our raffles and meetings, we were able to support Leg Day and the Scholarship Fund and we are looking forward to hosting a hospitality suite for the Annual Conference, which will be held in San Jose this year. So please join us in the hospitality suite and have some appetizers and a few drinks. Meet some of our key players, swap stories, ask for advice and maybe soon, you will want to and will be able to get involved with CALI. For the San Jose District, our doors are always open to suggestions and we would love to have you on our team!