Allan Pinkerton is best known for the founding of the Pinkerton Detective Agency. He is viewed as an innovative pioneer and leader in the criminal investigation field and is credited for his valuable contributions to law enforcement and private security practices. (Hunt, 2009)
Pinkerton was not always a detective; he started his life in America as a cooper. A turn of events caused him to begin a career in security. One day as he was looking for wood he saw a group of people he believed were doing something illegal. He went and got the Sheriff, who then arrested the group of men, who turned out to be counterfeiters. (Hunt, 2009) After this event, a group of businessmen approached Pinkerton and wanted him to investigate a man whom they believed was a counterfeiter. (Hunt, 2009)
After the arrest and conviction of the individual he was investigating, Pinkerton was offered a part-time position as deputy sheriff. (Hunt, 2009) In 1849, Pinkerton became the first detective in the Chicago Police Department and then quit a year later. (Hunt, 2009) Pinkerton then became a special mail agent investigating thefts of checks and money orders. In 1850, he created his own agency, the Pinkerton National Detective Agency. (Hunt, 2009)
The Pinkerton Agency was set up in downtown Chicago and originally employed five detectives. The agency eventually flourished and focused on a territory that included: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin. (Answers, 2010) In its early years, its chief area of expertise was the investigation of train robberies, but they also worked on cases involving forgery, counterfeiting, and murder. (Answers, 2010)
In 1858, Pinkerton formed the Pinkerton Protective Patrol, a group of night watchmen and contracted with various businesses to offer night protection. (Clifford, 2004) During the Civil War, Pinkerton and his agency assumed a number of roles in the union cause, one of which involved operatives to travel...