Thomas Ruskin: From NYPD to PI
- February 24, 2009
- by ServeNow Staff
PInow.com member Thomas Ruskin grew up as the son of a litigation attorney who became the City of New York’s Investigations Commissioner and heard about investigations daily. This drew him toward the field of investigation work. He spent more than two decades in law enforcement with the New York Police Department and was responsible for New York City’s crisis management and emergency management before leaving to move on to “bigger and better” things.
“I asked myself, ‘What would be the next thing to do?’ Becoming a PI seemed like a logical jump,” said Ruskin.
The jump from NYPD to the owner of a private investigation firm proved to be a learning experience. Ruskin learned how to run a business, and how to work within the restrictions of the private investigation laws and regulations. “I had to have much more government oversight than running investigations with the NYPD.” Ruskin opened CMP Protective and Investigative Group, Inc., his own private investigation firm, in 1999. While CMP began with Ruskin and a few other investigators, he now has 23 employees. They routinely tackle high profile cases, such as the current case with Dr. Richard Batista – the doctor who either wants $1.5 million in compensation or his kidney back from his estranged wife. Ruskin has appeared on television networks, like Fox News and NBC, with Dr. Batista.
For years, Ruskin has built and cultivated media relationships. It began when he worked for the NYPD, but has increased exponentially throughout the years. When media outlets need to talk to an investigative or security expert, they know they can rely on him. When the plane crashed in Buffalo, New York on February 12, 2009, CNN called him in the middle of the night to discuss emergency and crisis management.
According to Ruskin, if you are getting big cases then you will get media exposure. He says that one key to working with the media is the ability to talk about investigations in very simple terms. Ruskin says that certain people are very suitable for the media because they can be themselves.
Just as networking with the media has been valuable to his business, so is networking with anyone and everyone he meets. “Seventy-five percent of my business comes from networking,” said Ruskin. “I give my card to everyone I meet. The more people who have my card, the better the chance I’ll get a call when they hear someone saying they need a private investigator or have a problem.”
Another successful business practice of Ruskin’s is to do everything he can to please a client even if it costs him money. When a well-known celebrity client had a problem with his daughter, Ruskin spent approximately 12 hours on the case. When money became an issue, Ruskin decided to return the full retainer to the client. “I knew he knew a lot of people who could potentially utilize our services,” said Ruskin. “When he got the full retainer back, he asked: ‘How can I thank you?’ I said, ‘If someone you know ever needs our services, send him to us.’”
Ruskin uses his savvy business skills and professionalism to make sure that each client is satisfied. It is these skills that have helped his business thrive and grow during the recession.
“Even though the economy is going through tough times, we haven’t seen that hit on our business,” said Ruskin. “Our marital investigations, embezzlement, corporate investigations, background checks and litigation work have all gone up.”
Despite the success he has already achieved, Ruskin still has lofty goals for his business. “I’d like to expand the business to become the largest PI firm in New York City, and maintain being one of the most respected and relied upon,” said Ruskin. “Being respected is the most important.”
Ruskin says that throughout the past 10 years, “the caliber of a private investigator and firms has increased so much because men and women in the industry work hard to keep the standards extremely high. We are very critical of those who don’t live up to the standards which we all strive hard to reach and maintain. This is very gratifying when you see the caliber of my competition and the quality of private investigators throughout this county.”