Many people strive to be in the limelight, but it’s Gene Staulcup’s job to remain incognito.
The private investigator and owner of Gene Staulcup & Associates Inc. on Fifth Street has been working as a professional investigator since 1977. Today, he has three investigators working for him, including his son, and an administrative assistant. He also employs a retired Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent part-time.
In his line of work, there’s no such thing as a typical day, Staulcup said.
“I never know where I may be at any given time. I’ve actually gone to work and ended up in Boston, Massachusetts, one day. So you just never know,” Staulcup said. “It’s not uncommon for me to come to work and end up in Macon, Valdosta, Columbia or Charlotte.”
Most of his clients are attorneys and local businesses.
“Occasionally, we have conducted undercover operations where we have sent someone into a business, where they have worked as an employee at that plant gathering information,” he said.
His company also performs surveillance, workers’ compensation investigations and traffic accident investigations, which include taking witnesses’ statements, photographing vehicles and the accident scene and contacting experts. The firm also offers polygraph examinations and assists with the legal process, serving subpoenas and lawsuits for state and federal courts.
Staulcup also testifies in court regularly and does pre-employment screening to verify educational history, speak with references and conduct criminal and civil background checks. “We do get a lot of private individuals that contact us for various things,” he said.
Staulcup is licensed and insured as a private investigator in Georgia and South Carolina. Both states require state and federal background checks, testing, educational requirements and continuing education, he said.
“You don’t just decide one day that I’m going to be a private investigator and open up a private investigation business,” Staulcup said.
After working for the sheriff’s office for 10 years, Staulcup and a former sheriff’s office investigator started a private investigation business in 1977. When his partner decided to return to the sheriff’s office, Staulcup partnered with another investigator for a while. He has been working solo since the mid-1980s.
Staulcup also has a business to run. He relies on his administrative assistant and an accounting firm to keep things in order.
It’s also important to have a good relationship with law enforcement, he said.
Being a private investigator isn’t glamourous, Staulcup said. The job is tough on family life because the schedule is unpredictable.
Years ago, Staulcup was doing surveillance, stopped to use a pay phone and was attacked. He and the robber got into a struggle, and the robber was eventually caught. It turns out he had been convicted of several murders.
“I was very lucky to have survived that one. There are some dangers associated. We’re out at all hours of the day and night,” Staulcup said.