The International Foundation for Protection Officers (IFPO) has developed a distance education program in crime and loss investigation.

The Foundation developed this program due to several needs. Entry-level security personnel must be better trained in investigation. Similarly, supervisory personnel need additional training to deal with the array of workplace investigative issues that confront them. Persons seeking to enter investigative careers following college require broader, yet specialized instruction in the various aspects of investigation. Generally, recent alumni become retail loss prevention agents, private investigators doing surveillance or undercover. Many are employed in the burgeoning background investigation industry.

Unfortunately there is little career preparation for these types of jobs except for on-the-job experience. Few texts or courses on investigation address these career paths.


Government and police investigators often need to broaden their professional knowledge of security. Investigators are tasked with protective assignments or must investigate loss associated with retail loss prevention or information protection. Public sector investigators also interact more often with private sector investigators. Terrorism, identity theft, youth gangs and organized retail crime are major issues affecting both the public and private sectors. More sophisticated forms of economic crime will only increase the need for investigative liaison.

A related concern is the paucity of theoretical and historical data within investigation as an academic discipline. Current texts tend to be lean on theory and history. There is more emphasis on practical aspects of investigation. Such an approach may lead some colleges to be unsupportive of investigation coursework at their institution, as it does not have a theoretical foundation.

To address these issues, the IFPO has developed the crime and loss investigation program (CLIP). A 10-member committee of academicians and investigative managers was formed. Retailers, major police departments, private investigative firms and corporations from the U.S., Canada and Belgium worked to develop the curriculum.

A comprehensive list of investigative topics was identified as being crucial to the investigative process. These topics include but are not limited to:
  • Interviewing and Interrogation
  • Intelligence
  • Background Investigation
  • Crime Scene Procedures
  • Apprehension and Detention Procedures
  • Use of Force
  • Introduction to Computer Security
  • Information Security
  • Employee Dishonesty and Crime in Business
  • Counterterrorism and VIP Protection
  • Surveillance
  • Report Writing
These topics are contained in two texts, the Protection Officer Training Manual (7th Edition), published by Butterworth-Heinemann, and Introduction to In-vestigation (2nd Edition), by John S. Dempsey, published by Wadsworth. By using these texts, a comprehensive perspective on investigation is achieved. Colleges also use these texts, so that academicians can integrate CLIP into their classes. At York College of Pennsylvania, for example, students taking Introduction to Security and Asset Protection have covered a substantial portion of CLIP. Those taking Criminal Investigation also cover roughly half of the IFPO program. York College students can then complete the crime and loss investigation program on their own.


Rounding out the program is a series of five online papers. This enables the enrollee to begin the program immediately. It also supports the professional literature and provides some added theoretical perspective to existing academic programs at colleges and universities. These papers are on the Foundation’s Web:
  • An Introduction to Theory, Practice and Career Development for Public and Private Investigators
  • Intelligence as an Investigative Function
  • Surveillance: Operational, Ethical and Legal Considerations
  • Understanding Background Investigations
  • Investigative Interviewing: Strategies and Techniques
In addition to the online papers there are other Web-based learning options. The Wadsworth site has an abundance of learning aids for those reading introduction to investigation. Tutorials and practice examinations are also available online through the Foundation.

It is anticipated that the crime and loss investigation program will help to prepare people for the ASIS International Professional Certified Investigator (PCI) and the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners’ Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) designations. For more information on the Crime and Loss Investigation Program or any other Foundation programs, visitwww.ifpo.orgor call and speak to a representative at (239) 430-0534.