Nicholas Beltrante was born in Atlantic City, New Jersey just a few miles from where the 2003 North Eastern Super Conference took place. In 1945, at the age of 17; he joined the Navy. He was rushed through boot camp in four weeks as the United States was short of uniformed men. He saw Pacific battle action during the Second World War. Mr. Beltrante served aboard the hospital ship The Consolation. This was the first ship to enter Tokyo Bay to pick up prisoners of war after the war ended. Mr. Beltrante has been notified that his military service to this country is being honored with the building of the US Navy Memorial which is being built on Pennsylvania Ave in Washington DC.
Mr. Beltrante is the founder of Beltrante and Associates which was started in 1977. But that was not the start of a a career in investigation and detection. Mr. Beltrante started his career as a police officer for the Washington DC Police Department in 1949. He served with the police department until 1963. Mr. Beltrante started his police officer career walking a beat. I have to tell you that Washington DC is a city that is quite different from most. I mean this man walked a police beat in an upscale residential area that contained the private homes of Lyndon Johnson, John F Kennedy, J Edgar Hoover and people like that. He would often pick up the newspapers of these people and hand deliver the newspaper to their front door for them. I remember Mr. Beltrante telling me one time that there was this young congressman from Massachusetts whom he didn't really feel was going anywhere. Mr. Beltrante would walk in front of his house every morning and greet him. He always picked up the man's newspaper for him because the young congressman had a bad back. That young congressman's name was John F. Kennedy.
The history this detective has experienced is amazing. When terrorists managed to gain entrance into the galley of the US House Of Representatives and open fired killing several congressman on the house floor, Nick Beltrante was there. He was one of the officers that helped apprehend the terrorists at the train station. During the renovation of the White House during the Truman administration, the President was forced to take up residence in the Blair House which is a town house directly across the street from the White House. The Blair House is the official residence of the federal government for visiting dignitaries. When the White House was in so bad shape that the floors were in danger of falling in, President Truman had to move over to the Blair House so the White House could be renovated. There is literally no grounds in front of the Blair House. It's entrance is on the sidewalk and the street is only a few feet away. President Truman was assigned only four Washington DC Police Department uniformed officers and a couple of Secret Service agents for his protection while he lived at Blair House. Nick Beltrante was one of those uniformed police officers. In November of 1950, Puerto Rican Nationals, protesting the want for total independence for Puerto Rico; attempted to shoot their way into Blair House in an attempt to assassinate President Truman. Nick Beltrante was part of the small police force that fired shoots that killed several of these terrorists and part of the police squad that apprehended several of them attempting to flee Washington through the train station.
In 1951, just three years after being with the Washington DC Police Department, Mr. Beltrante was promoted to detective. He became the youngest detective of the police department at that time.
Beltrante has been decorated in the Oval Office by President Truman and has been given a special recognition of merit in the offices of J Edgar Hoover. He ended up on the elite Presidential Protection Detail of the Washington Police Department. Many people don't understand this but when the President leaves the White House in the District Of Columbia, it is the Washington Police Department, not the Secret Service, that is in charge of the protection of the President. Beltrante first served on the Presidential detail when Eisenhower was President. He was part of the executive protection detail the day and night of John F. Kennedy's Inaugural. Beltrante explains that the night of John Kennedy's Inaugural, he protected the new President as he went to four different Inaugural balls. The first one was at the Georgetown University, the second at the DC National Armory, the third at the Hilton Hotel and the fourth at the Mayflower Hotel. It was a long night for Beltrante. By the time the new President exited the Mayflower Hotel it was 4:30 AM. The President then went to Paul Young's Restaurant for breakfast with Peter Lawford and Frank Sinatra. Beltrante was standing there on protection duty as these people had breakfast with JFK. Being a man of honor, he has never revealed any of these people's conversations to anyone. Journalists and news reporters hounded him for many years. Beltrante could have made a fortune with the knowledge in his head about what he observed through the private lives of the scores of famous people he has served. However, he just doesn't operate that way. It was past 5:30 AM by the time Beltrante got the President back to the White House. There was one and a half feet of snow on the ground. With his police connections, Beltrante was able to secure a hotel room down the street to get a few hours sleep as he was unable to drive home because of the snow.
By the time the Watergate scandals happened during the later part of the Nixon Administration, Mr. Beltrante was retired from the police department and in private practice. His investigative agency was called in to debug the Democratic National Headquarters after the Watergate burglars were arrested. He ended up being the director of security during Senator George McGovern's campaign for the Presidency. Beltrante was later used for a discreet investigation into the Kennedy Assassination that ended up becoming a book published called Mortal Error which was released by Saint Martin's Press in February of 1992.
A decade of so ago, there was an author who published a book on the Nixon years. He evidently had interviewed Mr. Beltrante and had some references and chapters in his book about this famous private investigator. It was quite obvious that this author was quite puzzled about Beltrante. The author knew that Beltrante has been called in the debug the Democratic National Headquarters. This author knew that he had been in charge of security for George McGovern when he ran for President. However, this author also knew that Beltrante has some connections with people who worked at the White House during the Nixon administration. Instead of understanding the fact that professionals in both the private investigative and legal business work for both democrats and republicans and stay out of the political patrician fray, this author choose to imply that Beltrante was a "double agent" who worked both sides of the fence. Nothing could be farther from the truth. A lot of these so called nonfiction books belong in the fiction section on the book stores. I could go on and on about it but the fact is that Mr. Beltrante has played a major part of the history of this country in the Washington DC area both in public and private practice.
Mr. Beltrante has been a man of action in the private investigative profession. It's almost hard to comprehend. When he first got into private investigative practice, there was no licensing requirements or state laws governing private investigators in the state of Virginia. So Mr. Beltrante wrote some requirements and got some other private investigators involved in it. He started and was the first President of The Private Investigator's Association Of Virginia <http://www.PIAVA.org/>. Through his leadership, this small group of investigators lobbied the state house of Virginia. Mr. Beltrante has a photo in his office of the Governor signing the law into effect and issuing Beltrante Virginia Private Investigator License Number One.
Nick Beltrante Founded The Private Investigators Association Of Virginia
He's the past president of The Council Of International Investigators. Beltrante is also a member of The World Association Of Detectives, The National Association Of Legal Investigators, The Association Of British Investigators and The Professional Investigator's Institute. Mr. Beltrante is also a long time member of ASIS and served for 20 years as chairman of it's investigative committee. Mr. Beltrante was an early active supporter of NCISS and helped host several early meetings with people on Capitol Hill. Because of his accomplishments and dedication to the private investigative professional, Mr. Beltrante was issued lifetime membership number one in the National Association Of Investigative Specialists, Inc. some years ago. He holds an LLB degree from La Salle University and a degree in Criminology from The Pennsylvania Institute Of Criminology. He was Speaker Of The Year at an early conference of the National Association Of Investigative Specialists.
Mr. Beltrante has put in decades of pounding the Washington DC (and surrounding area) pavement both as a police officer and as a private investigator. I have to tell you, he has done private investigations for some of the most important people in the world. Diplomats, Congressmen, Senators, foreign dignitaries, princes and princesses, ambassadors, Presidents, governors, kings, cabinet members, high ranking military officers, I mean this man has done it all when it comes to investigation. It's a great honor to know him and as founder and director of The National Association Of Investigative Specialists, I'm compelled to say that of all the investigators I have had the pleasure of meeting, this man has impressed me more than anyone. Nick is kind of humble. When you have done what he has done for all these years you kind of grow oblivious to the huge amount of accomplishments you have made and the people you have come to know.
If you have ever spent any time in the Washington DC area, you likely know that it's a city that you get along by the people you know. That is, it has as much to do with who you know as it does what you know. This man has seen it all and done it all in he nation's capitol. Beltrante has done it so long, he's just not impressed with much any more. On a recent trip to DC, Nick and Patricia had picked Barbara and I up for lunch one day. I had business cards from some of the staff members in the West Wing and I asked Nick if he wanted to have lunch with one of them. He said, "no Ralph I want to have lunch with you." From pounding the pavement of Washington DC for decades as a police officer and private investigator, Mr. Beltrante has what could be called this three dimensional map of the nation's capitol in his head. DC is a difficult place to drive in but Mr. Beltrante can wiz around the town like nobody I have ever been with. He knows every street, every building and the history behind it. If something has changed in the last thirty or so years, he can tell you about it.
One day, Nick drove me up to the White House Historical Association while we were in town. The place is in one of those townhouses that's directly across the street from the North entrance to the White House. It faces East and overlooks Layette Park. That is the park directly in front of the White House. As we pulled up to the corner, there were Washington DC police cars everywhere with their lights on. "Gosh what's going on here Nick?" I asked. "Oh.. nothing, the Vice President is coming to work," he answered. "I don't think we can park here Nick," I remarked. "Sure we can," he said. He has an official sign he can place in the dash of his car that says retired police and he uses it. He got out of his car and I followed behind him. The next thing I knew, he was chatting with and introducing me to the head of security for the Vice Presidential detail. I walked over to the White House Historical Association office and did my business which took maybe 20 minutes. When I came back out and got in Nick's car, he handed me the name of this guy and said if I ever wanted to go on a private tour of the Vice President's mansion, just give this contact a call.
That same afternoon, we went to the US Capitol. We drove right into the parking lot on the house side. When I was young, anyone could drive right onto the grounds and park in the US Capitol parking lot. Those days are long gone and security is everywhere. But Nick knows all these people that are on the Capitol Police Department. We had to stop at the guardhouse but went right through. We walked in a side door of the US Capitol and had to go through the security check. Come to find out that Nick had arranged for a special tour with people from the Chief of Capitol Police office. They showed us around. The building is grand. We made some turns in some hallways. I noticed this sign that read "Cloak Room-Do Not Enter." I followed Nick and his friend right passed the sign. We were in this hallway that runs behind the floor of the US House Of Representatives. There were several faces in this hallway of people you often see on the nightly news. We went through these fantastic double doors and were then standing on the floor of the US House Of Representatives. People were setting around in some of the seats. I had always wanted to do this but never had the opportunity. Mr. Beltrante had arranged it. Like I said, DC works a great deal on who you know, not what you know. Like I say, Nick knows everyone.
DC is a unique area to practice private investigation in because it's not a state. Licensing falls under the DC police. However, you generally have to have a license in Virginia and Maryland. You can be out on an investigation and go through DC and two states in the same hour. This is quite different than what I have been used to. When I had my agency in Orlando Florida, you rarely went over a state boarder. As you know, Florida is surrounded by ocean on three sides and the northern boarder is many hours away by vehicle. Texas is kind of the same way. The Western border from Austin is a 12 hour drive. But here in the DC area, you could easily go through several different states in an hour or less. That's why Nick Beltrante's agency maintains licenses in DC, Virginia and Maryland.
The main offices of Beltrante And Associates is located in Alexandria, Virginia. It's a hub of activity for background investigations that are conducted there. I had the opportunity to visit them. It's located in an upscale red brick one story office complex. Mr. Beltrante owns the office outright. The first thing I noticed was they keep the front door locked. This isn't a walk in the front door agency. You have to have an appointment or you aren't getting in. Susan Beltrante, Nick Beltrante's daughter runs the place. There is a nice waiting room much like a waiting room you would fine in a successful lawyer's office. I walked down the hall that leads to Nick's back office. The walls are covered with history. There are awards from all over the place. There are pictures of Nick and his family with famous people all over the walls. There is so much of it, it's hard to take it all in. I didn't have enough time. I could see it would take at least a half a day. You walk into Nick's office and you see the same thing. Books on investigation, amazing plaques on the walls and you name it. The office has a conference room to one side with a big table in the middle. There were other desks in here. You can tell Beltrante outgrew this place years ago. One investigator was on a computer in the corner and talking on the phone. She's was in the middle of a pre-employment background investigation. On one wall in this conference room, there is a huge giant picture of Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Bush (41). I mean this photo covers almost all of one wall. It's a rare photo of all four of those Presidents together. There is no doubt Beltrante has known and done work for each one of them at one point in his life.
Over the years, Nick Beltrante has had a massive amount of media publicity. The Official Journal of the District of Columbia Bar Association wrote about him this way. "He's One of the Deans of the Business on the National Level. " The Baltimore News American stated he was,"One of the Most Reputable Private Investigators." The Washington Post called him,"The Dean of Washington Private Investigators." Money Magazine stated he's "widely regarded as the dean of the private eye corps in the nation's capital." Time Magazine described him as, "a remarkable active private eye who may be your man."
So it is therefore resolved
on this 28th Day Of October, in the year of our lord, 2003, let all men
know that Nicholas R. Beltrante has been nominated for and is hereby approved
by unanimous consent that The National Association Of Investigative Specialists
hereby bestows A Lifetime Achievement Award To The Above named recipient.
Nick Beltrante Today
Ralph D. Thomas, Director