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Michael Claytor

Private Investigator

Michael Claytor has resided in Santa Barbara for over 30 years and is an alumnus of both Santa Barbara City College and the University of California at Santa Barbara, where he obtained a degree in Law & Society.  While attending college, Michael managed a behavior modification program in a group home for teenaged Wards of the Court.  After graduating from college, Michael was hired by the County of Santa Barbara as a probation officer and was assigned to write sentencing recommendations in juvenile court for youthful offenders.  Michael then transitioned to the Santa Barbara Police Department where he worked as a Patrol Officer, K-9 handler, Academy Instructor, Crisis Negotiator, Narcotic Detective, Gang Detective, Missing Persons Detective, Major Crimes Detective, and Cold Case Homicide Detective.


Michael Claytor’s extensive experience in investigation and threat assessment was developed from over 20 years of experience in local law enforcement.  Michael has an Advanced POST certificate from the State of California and has obtained state certification in crime scene investigation, sexual assault investigation, officer involved shooting investigation, internal affairs investigation, and homicide investigation, as well as in interview and interrogation techniques, advanced crisis negotiation, and employment background investigation.  Michael utilized this training and experience to investigate, apprehend and convict dozens of murderers, rapists, robbers, kidnappers and child molesters over the course of his career.   Michael was assigned as a lead investigator in multiple wire-tap investigations into local organized crime activities and was also assigned to a surveillance team on the state narcotics regional taskforce.  In addition, he was assigned an investigative lead in over 30 suspicious death investigations.  As a result of his proven success, Michael became a highly decorated investigator through numerous city, county, and national awards for outstanding investigative service.  


Michael was a team leader and SWAT tactical liaison on the crisis negotiations team, during which his interpersonal rapport building approach along with his interview and negotiation skillset led many criminals to not only surrendering peacefully, but to confessing to their crimes as well.  He is highly skilled at not only accurately assessing a threat, but at developing and successfully implementing strategies to safely mitigate an identified threat as well.


Through the decades of his investigative experience, Michael has interviewed well over a thousand witnesses, victims, and suspects and has investigated hundreds of crime scenes.  His work-ethic, integrity, and extensive investigative knowledge can be seen in the complete, accurate, and timely reports he provided to the local criminal justice system.  As a result of his extensive training and experience, Michael has been recognized, and provided testimony, in superior court as an expert in threat assessment and crime scene investigation, in addition to being appointed as the Investigating Officer in numerous criminal trials.  Michael also served his community by providing educational presentations on Homicide, Rape, and Officer Involved Shooting investigations, as well as Citizen Response to Bank Robbery and Family Internet Safety.


Michael became a licensed and insured private investigator within the State of California, as well as a registered and bonded process server within the County of Santa Barbara, in September of 2020.  As a private investigator, Michael has conducted dozens of employment background investigations, completed numerous residential and commercial threat assessments, located physical evidence in a million-dollar theft of jewelry case, identified the suspect in a serial mail theft case, successfully evicted a financial elder abuse suspect,  provided an employer with evidence of internal corruption, and was the lead investigator in a personal injury case which resulted in a multi-million dollar settlement.

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