Updated: Mar 9, 2020
I was still going to college part time, but needed to make extra money because we now had a daughter, as well as tuition. I was advised to become a private investigator, the job required more education and experience, but starting pay was three times guard pay, plus expenses. I interviewed with three detective agencies, Pinkerton and Kinarney Detective Agencies, and Maxwell Allen Investigation Bureau. Later I worked some for Palm Detective Agency. I was a freelance P.I., working for whomever called first. I was also contacted to work for the Humane Society on animal abuse cases but never took a job with them.
It’s funny now, but that was in 1969 and on my Pinkerton interview the head detective told me that Pinkerton was the best agency in the world. I asked how he came to know that and he replied, we got “Jesse James.” When I got home, I looked it up and he was right! They were involved in Jesse’s assassination, just 82 years before I applied. They even had a sign on the wall. Along with the “all seeing eye,” like on the dollar bill. That’s where the moniker “Private Eye,” originated.
My first case was with George Kinarney. His father, also George Kinarney, had been head of the L&N Railroad Detectives. At that time, the railway detectives had, in some respects, more authority than the FBI. All the railroads shared agreements with one another for mutual right-of-way access to transport criminals who committed crimes against any of the railroad lines. This was put in place because of Frank and Jesse James, Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch during the 1870’s through early 1900’s when train robbing was going strong. My grandfather Arthur Bryant was an armed mail guard for the Railway Mail Service out of Dayton, Kentucky.
Police agencies and the FBI had to wait for extradition papers before they could transport arrestees across state lines, but not the railway detectives. They could move any criminal caught on Railroad property or right-of way, from any state to any state without more than physical custody, as long as they were on or in railroad property or right-of-way. George’s father died of a gunshot wound guarding a water works and his son George, a large amicable man appearing to be in his 30’s, with a winning smile took over, and in my view, he was fearless. He hired me because of one answer I gave him, and he had only one objection, my car. He asked me why I thought I could be a detective? I answered, “Because, I don’t look like a detective!” In fact, I looked more like the Pillsbury doughboy. He said, “No you don’t. Can you start tomorrow?” I filled out the hire papers and picked up my dossier’. That is a file, that has photographs of the subject, personal data, name, address, and aliases, telephone numbers, where the subject works, license plate numbers, make, model and color of the car or cars and where it will be parked when you begin your surveillance and other pertinent information. He then asked to see my car. It was a yellow 1967 Dodge Coronet, hardtop, with a black interior. He said this might not work. George always rode in Volkswagen Beetles. Usually they were black, red or green, and at that time the most common car on the road. He said no one ever paid attention to, or thought someone would tail them in a Volkswagen. He told me yellow might standout too much but it was my funeral.