“Security Investigations: A Professional’s Guide”, by Dr. Larry Nicholson and Alan Saquella highlights the process of security investigations and becoming an investigator.

The book is designed to educate its readers, providing a mix of real-world experience and academic research to back up author recommendations. 

Dr. Larry “Nick” Nicholson is the Founder and Senior Partner of The Nicholson Group. Prior to The Nicholson Group, he served 31 years in several senior federal positions including Special Assistant to the Assistant Director for Intelligence at the FBI, Director of the Center for Civil Force Protection, U.S. Department of Justice, Special Agent in Charge of Standards and Evaluations, U.S. Department of Energy, and the Bureau Chief of the New Mexico Department of Public Safety.

Alan Saquella, CPP, is an influential security and investigations expert with more than 30 years of security and investigations experience in corporate and public organizations at the executive level. He served for many years as the Security Operations and Investigations Director at Cox Communications before assuming his current role as a faculty member at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University — College of Business, Security and Intelligence. Saquella is also the Director, Investigations and Research at Verensics and a Member of the Identity Theft Advisory Board.

The book, published in August 2023, opens up with a summary of what makes a good security investigator. Nicholson and Saquella highlight attributes such as honesty, curiosity, patience and objectivity. The book includes an example self-evaluation for readers to use. Nicholson and Saquella then explore the steps of an investigation itself, including building a case management file (CMF). The book emphasizes the importance of keeping track of all necessary files for current and future use. Investigators should store information in a way that allows future investigators to understand the order of events. Following an investigation, the book mentions the “five C’s of report writing”: completeness, conciseness, clearness, correctness and courteousness. The book breaks down the interviewing process, including the reminder to check any personal biases, as they can affect the way an investigator gathers information. 

One chapter of the book breaks down the process of conducting surveillance. This includes preparation, important environment conditions to consider and the difference between covert and overt surveillance. According to Nicholson and Saquella, the primary subjects of surveillance are persons, places and vehicles. In addition, the book details the different equipment an investigator may use throughout an investigation.

The authors also highlight some of the common types of investigations:

  • Computer crime
  • Financial/lifestyle
  • Due diligence
  • Theft
  • Check fraud
  • Arson
  • Assault
  • Death
  • Driver/traffic accidents

The book separates out workplace investigations, which have their own investigative categories:

  • Pre-employment
  • Employee theft
  • Drugs and alcohol
  • Sexual harassment
  • Workplace violence

Nicholson and Saquella also discusses legal issues that may arise while conducting an investigation, and how investigators should protect themselves.

The book’s structure is designed for educational purposes, providing learning objectives and practice suggestions at the beginning and end of each chapter. The structure allows readers to break the information down into digestible pieces, including any research references within the chapter itself.