Former Police Chief Is Now A Pi

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A background check performed by former Payson Police Chief Gordon Gartner on behalf of a local client turned up multiple pending lawsuits, questionable business practices and evidence of fraud.

Finding out about these problems kept Gartner's client from going into business and saved his client potentially millions of dollars.

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Gordon Gartner

So even in retirement, the former chief of police is keeping citizens safe from crime.

Gartner could have simply retired last year but figured 34 years in police work just might fill a community need.

So, after 15 years as chief, Gartner has become a private investigator doing background checks, surveillance and other investigation services in Payson.

"It's not so much that the population in Payson has exploded over the last few years, as it is the fact that there really wasn't anyone that I know of in the area providing this service," said Gartner.

In fact, Payson's phone book lists not a single listing for a private investigator, but that is about to change as the former chief starts Chief Gartner Investigations LLC, offering primarily background checks and surveillance services.

For example, someone might ask him to check out a prospective business partner, or someone they are in a relationship with and want to know more about before getting in too deep.

Gartner said almost anyone with access to a computer can get a basic background check online for a fee, the advantage he has is that he can devote full time effort to client needs.

"Just about anyone can get a cursory background check on someone, but there are proprietary sites and services that private investigators have access to that give a lot more in-depth and comprehensive information on someone," said Gartner. "Like criminal records, pending litigation and credit credit ratings."

Gartner said he wanted to continue using what he already knows to provide a community service.

"I have all those years of training in law enforcement and I wanted to continue using the skills I learned, so I decided to take all that experience into the private sector," Gartner said.

Now if you think it would be easy for a former chief of police to become a private investigator, think again.

Although Gartner already has a lot of experience in investigations, he had to go through the same licensing process and pay the same fees as anyone else.

"With all the time it took, the cost of cameras, the DPS and limited liability company licensing fees, computers and other expenses, it has cost me about $5,000 to get started," said Gartner.

He said that despite the cost of starting his own business, opening a private investigation service in Payson allows him to continue to serve the community while doing what he enjoys most.

Costs of his services range anywhere from about $150 for a basic background check to a couple of thousand dollars for in-depth investigations or surveillance services.

"I don't really charge people mileage and expenses if I'm doing a basic background check or minimal surveillance on someone in Payson or nearby," he said. "But if I have to go out of town, or pay for court or legal documents, the price goes up accordingly."

Gartner got his license back in September of last year, but is only now getting it up and running.

"I'm looking forward to providing the Payson community with a needed service," said Gartner.

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