It has been a heated debate during this years legislative session here in Colorado over Private Investigator licensing. In review, for those that are not aware, in 2012 the Colorado legislation past into law a Voluntary licensing program for PI’s. Under this law it required any Private Detective or Investigator that referred to him/her self as licensed they would have to be licensed under the voluntary system. While it was not mandatory it is very stringent requiring 4,000 hours of work in the industry, fingerprint background checks, a background check through the FBI, CBI and DORA.
The PPIAC (PROFESSIONAL PRIVATE INVESTIGATORS ASSOCIATION OF COLORADO), a group which I am affiliated closely with, introduced the bill and worked diligently to get the bill passed. I am proud to be a Senior member of the PPIAC and to serve on their Board of Directors as Treasurer. The volunteer private investigators licensing went into effect in July 2012. After a half of a year only a small percentage of acting PI’s in Colorado had licensed.
This alarmingly low number caused concern for the protection of the consumers of PI services within the state. It is estimated that there are somewhere between 300 and 400 acting detectives in the private industry in Colorado right now. When the first round of licensing ended in February of 2013 the count of licensed private investigators was around 70.
It was at this point that the PPIAC took a stance to protect the consumers of our industry and go after mandatory licensing. One of the reasons the 2012 bill was not mandatory was that it was the belief that many more Private Eyes would take the high road, be professional, and show their clients and the state that they are indeed trustworthy and able to be vetted through such a system.
This year SB 13-259 was presented to the legislatures which would simply change the voluntary to mandatory. It also had an avenue for new professionals to enter the industry, and continuing education was considered in it. I am pleased to announce it has passed the Senate floor, although changed somewhat, and is now headed to the full House for consideration.
At this time the bill has changed from a licensing to a registration program. Hours of experience have been excluded however it will require a jurisprudence test will be required showing the PI has the proper knowledge of laws in the state of Colorado as they pertain the the Private Investigations industry. The bill also requires a surety bond to protect the consumer and a fingerprint background will still be conducted by DORA.
With the registration program it will give the state a means to track everyone doing business as a P.I. in Colorado as you will not be able to call yourself a Private Investigator or Private Detective without being registered. Each of us will have been vetted through a background check, tested for our applicable knowledge of the laws, and the consumer now will have a place to go should conflict arise that cannot be settled with the PI directly. as well the bond will ensure the PI does not go rogue and run off with the clients retainer / fees without providing the work as well.
There are some PI’s, much to my confusion, that have fought the licensing and now are fighting the registration for their own profession. I have to wonder why would anyone fight going through the background checks? Why would anyone fight having to be bonded? It is my understanding a bond of $10,000.00 would cost around $100 a year. This is a small token to pay considering the rates a PI charges and the value it gives to our clients in peace of mind.
I for one am not afraid to go through the background checks. I am proud to carry license number 27 in the state and am doubly proud to say I have been vetted through the CBI and the FBI while going through the Private Investigator licensing process here in Colorado. I am fully insured and will be obtaining a bond, post haste, once the bill has passed.
In closing, we must keep an eye to the current legislation process. There is less than a week to go in this years legislation period and time is of the essence. I encourage you to, as I have done, contact your Colorado State Representatives and encourage them to vote YES one SB 13-259 and give the public peace of mind, once and for all, that the Private Investigations industry in Colorado is a safe industry to do business with; protected by a law that protects the consumer.
~ John L. Morris
A Northern Colorado, licensed and insured, Greeley Private Investigator
Call today for your 100% FREE Private Investigator Consultation (970) 673-5719
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