Q: What made you want to become a private investigator?
I love solving mysteries! The same skills that make a good journalist – killer research kills, the ability to sniff out a story and make people want to talk to me – help me crack cases.
Also, if I’m being honest, I always had a childhood fantasy about becoming Nancy Drew–if she added Jack Daniels to her punch. Later I imagined I would turn into Jessica Fletcher, the lady on Murder She Wrote, except that I couldn’t figure out how she kept getting invited to parties when dead bodies showed up everywhere she went. Kind of a plot hole. Maybe she was the one killing them? See, I’m solving mysteries already.
Q: What’s your training?
A: Different states have different requirements for private investigators. California, where I first became licensed, requires 3 years and 6,000 certified hours. I began by completing a full-time, 12-week course with DGA Detectives Academy to obtain my Certified Master Investigator’s certificate. This consisted of case work and field work with actual investigators, including witness interviews, missing persons cases, surveillance of cheating spouses, love scams, insurance investigations, and asset recovery.
I was hooked. After taking the exam and obtaining my license in 2013, I opened The Townsend Detective Agency.
Q: So…sex columnist to criminal investigator. Weird transition?
A: Actually, I found that my years of writing about relationships (and bad dates!) made me somewhat of an expert on body language.
As I always tell my law enforcement colleagues, there is a difference between interrogating someone because you have a badge and they have to talk to you, and making them want to talk to you.
Q: What kinds of cases do you work on?
Since everything in life touches on greed, fear, and especially love, the cases I get involved with really are limitless. Because of my ability to blend into any situation, I excel in situations that involve elements of undercover work.
I’m also super passionate about crimes of passion and cold cases.
Q: Okay, but why hire a PI? Can’t I just find anything I want on the Internet?
A: That’s a common misconception. Yes there is a LOT of information on the Internet, but there is also a lot of bad information. When you hire a professional, you are hiring someone with years of experience to filter through and find facts that are relevant through your case. A PI provides impartial advice and emotional support. Also, hiding in the bushes and playing amateur detective could get you arrested.