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Keynote Speaker:  Sheriff Michael J. Chitwood 


  • Born November 1963 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 
  • Second-generation law enforcement officer 
  • Three grown daughters, three grandchildren 


  • Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational Management, Eastern University of Pennsylvania (2005) 
  • Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice, NOVA Southeastern University (2008) 


  • Elected Sheriff of Volusia County in August 2016. Sworn in on Jan. 3, 2017. Re-elected without opposition in August 2020.
  • Police Chief, Daytona Beach Police Department (May 30, 2006-November 11, 2016) 
  • Police Chief, Shawnee, Oklahoma (May 1, 2005-May 23, 2006) 
  • Philadelphia Police Department (November 1988-May 2005); worked in the patrol, tactical, narcotics and detective divisions;
    rose to the rank of Lieutenant and was the recipient of 58 official commendations for valor, bravery, heroism and merit. 

Professional training 

  • Graduate of the Philadelphia Police Academy 
  • Graduate of the 204th session of the FBI National Academy, Quantico, VA (2001) 
  • Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command (1999) 

Professional involvement 

  • Board of Directors, Police Executive Research Forum 
  • Member of the International Association of Police Chiefs 
  • Member of the Volusia/Flagler Police Chiefs Association 
  • Adjunct professor, University of Central Florida 

Utilizing online investigative techniques and research methods to bring online threat makers to justice. 

“Threats, Intimidation and the Scumbags Responsible”

Speaker:  Brandon A. Perron, CCDI, CFI-FTER

Brandon A. Perron, CCDI, CFI-FTER is an award winning nationally recognized American Private Investigator. He is a Board Certified Criminal Defense Investigator, Certified Forensic Interviewer, and has been qualified as an "Expert in criminal investigation". Mr. Perron has over 38 years of investigative experience serving as a U.S. Air Force Criminal Investigator, State of Florida Public Defender Investigator, State of Florida Civil & Human Rights Investigator, Florida Licensed Private Investigator, training curriculum developer, instructor, author and motivational speaker. He is recognized as one of the nation's foremost investigators, trainers, and speakers within the discipline of criminal defense investigation. Mr. Perron developed the Component Method of Criminal Defense Investigation & Case Management and has authored the professionally acclaimed books Uncovering Reasonable Doubt: The Component Method, Forensic Testimonial Evidence Recovery: The FTER Method - A Forensic Approach to the Interview, and his allegorical leadership novel The Quest for Truth.


Presentation: Criminal Defense Investigation & Case Management - Uncovering Reasonable Doubt/FAST TRACK 1 Day Training

Lecture based training to include but not limited to Agents of Counsel Protection and Work Product Doctrine, The Law - Development of Legal Defense Theories, Lead Development & Tracking, Forensic Case Review & Analysis, Lead and fact classification, the Defendant Interview, Crime Scene Examinations, diagrams, photograph, evidence collection, Impeachment Investigations, Witness Interviewing & Documentation and Statements, Report Writing. Certificate of Training and Basic Certification as a CDITC Criminal Defense Specialist Awarded upon successful completion of online testing.

Successful completion will also allow those who meet the qualifications to apply for the nationally recognized expert designation of Board Certified Criminal Defense Investigator (CCDI).  Note: Experience, references, application and fees are also required for the CCDI expert designation.

Speaker: Keith Elliott, CII - CFE 

Keith Elliott is the CEO of Reed Research Limited, a Professional Investigation firm based out of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  

He holds an Honours Degree in Law & Security Administration and is a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE).  He holds additional diplomas in Private Investigations, Advanced Interview Techniques, Close Protective Services and is designated as a Certified International Investigator (CII), as well as being Certified by the Council of Professional Investigators Ontario as a Master Investigator. 

For over 10 years Keith’s entertaining, humorous and energetic speaking style has made him a sought-out speaker at many events.  He has hundreds of public speaking engagements, across Canada and Internationally, including various Keynote presentations.  He is regularly asked to provide educational sessions, in-house training and operational protocol to industry partners and clients on the function and use of investigations, surveillance, cyber intelligence, and workplace investigations.  

As a seasoned Professional Investigator with over 32 years of progressive experience, Mr. Elliott has practical involvement in identifying risk and investigating frauds relating to; criminal enterprise, employment, health care, insurance services, fake deaths, disability, cyber scams, as well as various payment platforms on-line services.  He has recovered funds for victims internationally, testified in precedent setting cases at all levels of court, both civil and criminal across Canada.

AI & Investigation considerations for Chat GPT and other platforms

For decades investigators have had to discern fact from fiction. As we enter a new era with the rapid advancement of artificial intelligence our task is even more difficult. In a world full of fake accounts, fake news, and questionable resources, investigators now need to also navigate the world of AI. Images, resumes, documents, and background information can be created in an instant utilizing AI. The session will explore the various platforms currently available in AI, and explore can or cannot be done to identify the legitimate information from fake, manipulated or fabricated resources and evidence. 

Speaker: Catherine Flowers: 

Catherine Flowers is a highly experienced private investigator, content director for the PI Leadership Academy, and a retired police officer. With over 30 years of experience, Catherine has established herself as a leader in the field of private investigations. Catherine's career began in the military police corps, where she served as an officer. Her time in the military gave her a unique perspective on law enforcement and a deep understanding of the importance of effective investigations. After leaving the military, Catherine continued her career in law enforcement as a police officer. During her time as a police officer, Catherine gained extensive experience in criminal investigations, including complex cases such as homicides and narcotics trafficking.

Catherine obtained her private investigator license in North Carolina, where she has been operating as a private investigator for the past 26 years. Her experience as a private investigator includes conducting investigations in a variety of areas, including insurance fraud, workers' compensation, and complex litigation investigations. Catherine's expertise in the field has led her to be a trusted source of information and guidance for other private investigators.

Catherine's dedication to staying ahead of the curve in the industry has led her to become a FAA Part 107 certified drone pilot. Her use of drones in investigations has allowed her to gather valuable evidence and testify in Federal Court.

Ms. Flowers holds the distinction of being an authorized PI instructor in eight states and is also certified in evidence-based crisis prevention and de-escalation training. Catherine is passionate about sharing her knowledge and experience with other private investigators, helping to train and develop the next generation of investigators. Ms. Flowers serves as a valued member of the NCAPI Scholarship Committee.
In her free time, Catherine enjoys volunteering with her local chapter of Habitat for Humanity, demonstrating her dedication to community service, while also treasuring special moments spent with her husband Michael and daughter Michaela.

Creating Calm in the Chaos: Managing Clients and Stress in High Stakes

Creating Calm in the Chaos: Managing Clients and Stress in High Stakes is designed to empower private investigators with the leadership skills needed to navigate the challenging aspects of their profession. We delve into effective client management, team coordination, billing practices, and strategies for handling tactical errors when they occur. Training will focus on cultivating leaders who can gracefully tackle the complexities of high-stakes investigations and rise to the occasion when faced with challenges. Ethical considerations are at the core of our curriculum, ensuring that investigators not only excel in their work but also maintain the highest standards of integrity. Through interactive sessions and real-life scenarios, attendees will gain practical insights into avoiding the pitfalls of their investigations, making them better-equipped professionals in an ever-evolving field.

Speaker: Michèle Stuart

With over thirty years of investigative experience with twenty-six years operating her own company. Ms. Stuart's area of expertise includes OSINT, counterintelligence, insurance fraud investigations, financial investigations, threat assessments, due diligence, organized retail crime, corporate and competitive intelligence.

Ms. Stuart consults and trains federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, the military intelligence communities, fortune 500 companies as well as the financial and insurance industries in open source, social media, and threat assessments / mitigation. She has been an Instructor at Quantico (FBI Academy) for international training in OSINT (Open-Source Intelligence).

In 2017, Ms. Stuart partnered with the Pennsylvania Office of Homeland Security creating a program "Keeping Kids Safe," training administrators, principals, teachers, SRO’s, and parents on the dangers of online and social media activity, predator grooming, as well as the dangers of applications / cellular security.


The internet provides investigators with the ability to ascertain information on subjects efficiently. Focusing on the individual(s) is not always the answer. Identifying actionable intelligence is an extremely important aspect in research to assist in the identification, movement, business associations, relatives, addresses / telephone numbers of individuals Additionally, correct searches of social media platforms can assist in identifying suspects and witnesses in an investigation. In this class, you will learn how to utilize correct search patterns, identify and use open source resources and search social media platforms. 

Course Objectives 

AI (Artificial Intelligence) / Sock Puppets / Facial Recognition 

  1. Demonstrate the capability of utilizing AI in the creation of sock puppets. 

  2. How to identify if someone may have used an AI generated picture. 

  3. Illustrate the use of ‘calendar’ programs. 

  4. Will provide sites, techniques for image and facial recognition. 

Search Engines and Correct Effective Searching Techniques 

  1. Demonstrate the correct techniques for the best search pattern results from search engines. Boolean searches – Google / Bing 

  2. Provide real time examples of search criteria manipulation 

  3. Demonstrate how to identify and locate cached or removed information. 

  4. Domain research 

Internet Open Sources– Actionable Intelligence 

  1. Review and identify numerous surface and deep web online open sources to identify residential locations or associated telephone numbers Demonstrate which open sources can pull different types of information – associates, family members, addresses, phone numbers and business associations.

  2. Demonstrate how to use usernames to find cross associated platforms associated to a subject. 

  3. Demonstrate the use of public records, identify the best sources and search manipulation. 

Using Social Networking Sites 

  1. With estimated billions of social networking profiles and mobile social applicationstechniques will show how to correctly search for information on these platforms to identify actionable intelligence 

  2. Show the significance of hashtags and the ability to search and follow hashtag conversations over numerous platforms. 

  3. Determine usernames and additional associations and the sources to identify the person behind the username. 

  4. Demonstrate the capabilities to utilize sources to assist with identifying social media personal identifiers. 

Speaker: John Raymaker                                                                                                     

John Raymaker is an attorney and currently serves as Director of Florida’s Division of Licensing. John has been with the Division of Licensing for over 15 years and has previously served the division as Chief of the Bureau of Regulation and Enforcement and Attorney Supervisor. John is a 1992 graduate of The Florida State University College of Law and spent his first 10 years practicing criminal law serving first as an Assistant Public Defender and then as an Assistant State Attorney primarily doing felony trial cases. Before joining the Division of Licensing, John spent 7 years as the attorney for Florida’s Sexually Violent Predator Program.

Division Update, PIRSAC, and Q&A with the Director.

Division of Licensing Leadership will update us on current developments, and legislation

Speaker: Justin Hodson

Justin Hodson, as the Lead Investigator and driving force behind Hodson P.I. in Orange County, California, stands out for his exceptional business acumen in the private investigation industry. At the forefront of his firm for over two decades, Justin, a Certified Professional Investigator (CPI), has cultivated a thriving business environment rooted in ethical practices and excellence. Under his astute leadership, the firm has expanded to include a dedicated team of over 50 investigators, reflecting his knack for team-building and management.

In 2023, Justin's strategic vision and business savvy led Hodson P.I. to a remarkable milestone, achieving sales of $6 million. This success is a testament to his capability in handling multi-million dollar and high-profile cases with unparalleled expertise. His proficiency spans critical areas such as corporate loss prevention, fraud investigation, litigation support, and expert witness testimony. Through these endeavors, Justin has not only saved his clients millions but has also significantly influenced legal outcomes.
Beyond his direct involvement in investigative work, Justin actively contributes to the broader industry through thought leadership, evident in his articles and courses. His insights and achievements have earned him widespread recognition and numerous accolades, further establishing his stature in the field.
Justin's business achievements are balanced by his commitment to community service. He actively volunteers with organizations like the Boy Scouts and Ronald McDonald House, showcasing his dedication to societal improvement and empathetic leadership.
As a family man and father of four, he exemplifies a commendable balance between professional drive and family commitment, advocating for a healthy work-life balance. His personal interests, like his passion for history and baseball, also demonstrate his deep connection with his community.

In essence, Justin Hodson's approach as a businessman is defined by his relentless pursuit of innovation and excellence in Hodson P.I., driving the firm's success while fostering a culture of community involvement. His journey is a compelling blend of professional achievement, societal contribution, and personal fulfillment, marking him as a leader of integrity, innovation, and civic engagement in the private investigation sector.

"Elevating Your Private Investigation Business: A Comprehensive Guide for New Investigators and Small Firms"

This course, led by experienced private investigator Justin D. Hodson, CPI, is designed for new investigators and owners of small private investigation businesses. It focuses on the journey from a one-person operation to a thriving firm, emphasizing the blend of investigative skills and business acumen necessary for success. Participants will learn practical strategies to grow their business, enhance their reputation, and manage challenges effectively.


  • Investigator-Businessman Duality: Recognize the dual roles of investigator and businessman. Delegate non-critical tasks for strategic business development.
  • Essential Skills and Qualities: Embrace a new mindset as an employer, expect rejection, practice patience, and reinvest in your business.
  • Avoiding Common Pitfalls: Adopt a "hire fast, fire faster" approach for effective personnel management.
  • Building a Strong Reputation: Prioritize exceptional customer service, correct mistakes proactively, and maintain honesty and transparency.
  • Leveraging Technology for Efficiency: Invest in robust case management software to streamline operations and prevent errors.
  • Staying Compliant: Utilize resources from professional associations like CALI and read relevant legal manuals to adhere to legal and ethical standards.
  • Networking and Relationship Building: Engage in networking within the investigative community and with potential clients, both in-person and online.
  • Ongoing Professional Development: Keep up with industry trends and acquire new skills to stay competitive.
  • Effective Financial Management: Outsource bookkeeping and implement QuickBooks for scalable financial management.
  • Key Takeaways and Action Steps: Acknowledge your dual role, delegate tasks, and be patient and determined to elevate your private investigation business.

Speaker: Bill Bell

We are pleased to welcome Bill Bell, Managing Partner of WBI Consulting Group, as a speaker at FAPI’s 

2024 Annual Litigation and Investigators Conference. Bill's combined background in digital marketing and familial connections to the Private Investigation industry uniquely positions him to help investigators and related professionals explore new digital opportunities for their businesses.

At WBI Consulting Group, Bill has been central to developing the CompassPoint Strategy, which combines a deep understanding of digital landscapes and consumer behavior with actionable strategic initiatives. Bill's presentation will explore various topics relevant to today's digital landscape, including navigating digital transformation, building resilient business strategies, and driving sustainable growth.

Marketing Your Private Investigative Business

His presentation aims to provide practical advice grounded in real-world experience and strategies for growth. Join us for this session with Bill Bell to gain insight into integrating advanced online marketing techniques. This is an opportunity to learn from an experienced digital marketing professional and explore opportunities to expand the digital reach of your business.

Speaker: Madelin D'Arce, Esq. 

& Juan D'Arce, M.S.Ed.

Madelin D’Arce is a Partner at the law firm of Goede DeBoest & Cross, PLLC.  As a practicing attorney, she prosecutes and defends individuals and businesses for claims that include landlord/tenant disputes, breach of contract, conversion, fraud, and other business torts. She is often court-appointed as Guardian Ad Litem to search for and protect the interests of unknown heirs. Mrs. D’Arce also serves as the Code Compliance Magistrate for the Town of Miami Lakes and as General Counsel for Litigation Process Servers, LLC.  She is active in the legal community, serving as the Treasurer for the Miami Lakes Bar Association, Board Member for the Coral Gables Bar Association, and Director for the Spanish American League Against Discrimination. She and her husband Juan reside in Miami, Florida with their three young children.

Juan D’Arce is the owner and managing member of Litigation Process Servers, LLC – a South Florida-based company that provides service of legal process throughout the United States. Juan has been a certified process server since 1995 and is also a licensed private investigator.  Juan has taught as an adjunct at Florida International University's College of Law, serves as an expert witness regarding service of process, and Fellow of the Supreme Court of Florida’s Justice Teaching Institute. Juan is married to civil litigation attorney Madelin D’Arce, and they have two daughters and a son. 

Juan has actively served the legal profession and South Florida community for various decades, including as advisor to the Consul General of the Republic of Nicaragua, Deputy Regional President for the Hispanic National Bar Association within Region VIII (FL); Florida Bar Grievance Committee Member, and he has held leadership roles in many bar associations and community organizations.  He presently serves as President of the Spanish American League Against Discrimination. Juan is also an Officer at the Florida International University Alumni Board and the current Secretary of the Florida Association of Professional Investigators. 

Supporting education is pivotal to Juan; thus, he volunteers on local boards and currently serves on the following Miami Dade County Public Schools Boards: Small/Micro, Minority/Women and Veteran Business Enterprise Advisory Committee, Audit and Budget Advisory Committee Advisory Committee, Secure Our Futures Advisory Committee, and the 21st Century Schools Bond Advisory Committee.  Juan received the Cervantes Outstanding Educator Award from the Hispanic Advisory Board of Nova Southeastern University in the event’s 15th and 18th year. In 2011, Juan was honored as Teacher of the Year by the Minority Chamber of Commerce and recognized by The Miami Herald for his devotion to students and their future. The Hispanic Heritage Festival, the City of Miami, Miami-Dade County, and various other organizations have recognized his work in South Florida. In 2016, Juan was named Alumni of the Year for the 17th Annual Student Life Achievement Awards of Nova Southeastern University. 

Process Service - Cooperation Between Investigators, Process Servers, and Attorneys 

This is a common-sense approach to working with investigators, process servers, and attorneys. It covers things to know and how to get the most out of your relationship when working together. 

Florida Association of Private Investigators, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Copyright © 2017. All Rights Reserved

P.O. Box 21158
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33335-1158
Phone: (954) 278-9459

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