November 2015
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Trace Investigations' CEO Don C. Johnson, CLI was a guest speaker at the annual conference of the Michigan Council of Private Investigators in Novi, Michigan in October. Johnson, pictured here with colleague Brandy Lord of South Bend, Indiana spoke on Pre-Employment Screening - Profits vs. Pitfalls. A version of this presentation is available for those businesses interested in a new background screening program. Contact us at

I would like to wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving!

I am grateful to have the opportunity to provide you this valuable information. We take special care to ensure the information we provide you in "Tracings" is the latest and most current information available. In this edition, we have addressed building fences and how an effective pre-employment screening program will lead to less overhead and greater profits.

The goal of this e-newsletter is to provide you with critical information that will help you prevail in your business affairs wherever fact finding is an essential component. We will share what I have learned in my 30+ years as a professional investigator and intelligence analyst.

We want to write about topics that will assist you in succeeding in your business endeavors. Please e-mail us your topics of interest to
We encourage you to share our e-newsletter with others in your sphere of influence.

Don C. Johnson, CLI, CII
Building Fencesart1
Earlier this month I attended a conference in New Orleans, sponsored by the International Association of Security and Investigative Regulators ( The IASIR membership is comprised of licensing authorities from several U.S. states, two provinces in Canada and the United Arab Emirates. This year's conference addressed emergency preparedness and disrupters to the regulated sectors. I was there as the chairman of the Indiana Private Investigator and Security Guard Licensing Board, a position I am honored to hold. In attendance for the first time was a representative of Delegation Interministerielle a la Securite Privee , the French ministry in charge of regulating private security. We can only imagine this gentleman's thoughts on Friday, the day our conference ended and the day of the terrorist attacks in Paris.

The U.S. and her allies must have a robust response to these attacks, which includes building stronger intelligence "fences" around our enemies, something that has been lacking in recent years. A strong national defense is dependent on actionable intelligence, which includes information gathered through equally vigorous communications and human intelligence resources (known as COMINT and HUMINT in my military intelligence days). I hope our national leaders and allies are rebuilding those fences.

In the day to day operations at Trace Investigations, we are equally dependent on good "intel" to protect our business clients, including... Read More

art2 The Business You Save May Be Your Own: An effective pre-employment screening program will lead to less overhead and greater profits
Most corporate security directors and human resource managers realize that a pre-employment screening program is a critical component of a company's hiring practices. However, many small business owners do not adequately screen their new hires, if they screen at all, often times relying on a quick and cheap name-based check on a web site full of false promises and snappy graphics. They have failed to read the fine print on these web sites. If they did, they would discover that results are not guaranteed and their software program scans only those public records sources that are available online, without offering any verification of accuracy. There are often no allowances made for common names and redacted identifiers in public records.

Many of these so-called national criminal background check web sites aggregate data periodically from public record sources, usually a county court's indices or a state's central repository of criminal records, usually a state police agency. Often times they upload these databases at the end of the month or the end of a quarter, meaning you are not getting the most current information from a court. Further adding to the due diligence dilemma is the fact that we are in an era where many state laws have changed to allow former defendants to expunge criminal convictions, including misdemeanors and low-level felonies. What hasn't changed is that these laws were never funded and the courts are overwhelmed with these requests, adding to further delays in the updating of court records available for retrieval. An employer can be sued in federal court if he or she
...Read More