Paladin Jordan, chief investigator and CEO of Paladin Jordan Detective Agency, Inc., of Elgin gets the word out about his business by hosting murder mystery-themed, business after-hours parties. Melaine Kalmar photo for Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 21, 2013 6:25AM
ELGIN — Friends often tease Paladin Jordan about tailing cheating spouses and spying on them with electronic devices.
The funny thing is, the private detective has never handled a domestic case or received any inquiries about that type of work.
As chief investigator and CEO of Paladin Jordan Detective Agency Inc., 100 E. Chicago St., he mostly trains private investigators, vets and screens job applicants, and conducts investigations that provide a paper trail of answers to questions and solutions to problems.
“I didn’t have anyone to stick up for me when I was a little boy,” said Paladin of his career choice. “I had to fend for myself. I always felt a kinship with kids who were the underdogs.”
His expertise in criminal and employment law qualifies him to teach employers how to lead their own investigations, whether it’s a pre-employment background check or a workplace incident that needs to be cleared up.
Retirement for Paladin was a beginning, not an end. He worked as an Illinois State Police trooper for 29 years, spending the latter part of his career as a supervisor in internal affairs. The job required him to investigate allegations of criminal and administrative misconduct by troopers and other state employees.
Each morning, during his commute, he’d pass O’Hare International Airport and fantasize about working for United Airlines as a corporate investigator.
“They would call me on a Thursday and say, ‘We need you to fly to Paris to conduct an investigation, and you can take your wife with you.’ ”
Six months after he retired, his attempt at turning that dream into a reality was taking a part-time job with Southwest Airlines as a ramp agent. He liked being on the airfield, marshaling and handling cargo, and the travel perks that came with the job.
Mistakenly, he thought once a corporate security position became available, he would be a shoo-in for it. When he learned the likelihood of that happening was nil, he quit and took a job with Apple. It was an “in” he thought could also lead to a position in investigations.
But he quickly found out it doesn’t work that way. So he resigned and took a contractor position with the state police, conducting threat investigations at nursing homes.
“Illinois law requires all nursing homes to do background checks on residents,” he said. “The purpose is to identify residents who might be a threat to themselves or others.”
With about 1,000 nursing homes in the northern Illinois region, the work kept Paladin busy, but he never forgot about his dream job.
He took matters into his own hands last March when, after passing the Illinois Private Detective Licensing exam, he founded the Paladin Jordan Detective Agency in his hometown.
To get the word out about his business, he and his wife Maria, a Department of Children and Family Services employee, recently hosted a murder mystery-themed business after-hours. Guests had great fun figuring out the “whodunit” and gained a better understanding of the services that Paladin offers, he said.
The private detective will reach out to the community once again by hosting a workshop March 28-29 on how to conduct online investigations. Paladin will lead the class with Alton Police Detective Mike Bazzell, an expert in Internet searches that reveal the truth when it comes to matters of a business or personal nature.
The course will cover skills that can be put to use by police officers, human resource managers, nursing home staff and parents.
Always in defense of the underdog, Paladin intends to delve deeper into nursing home investigations and advocate more for the elderly, when his contract with the state police expires this month.
People can register for the upcoming workshop or find out about the next murder mystery business after-hours by visiting www.pjda.net or calling 224-238-7848.