What is Colorado’s Pi licensing debate? Most of us have been the victim of something.  You may have been the victim of violence.  You may have been the victim of a theft.  You may even have been the victim of bullying.  Being victimized is horrible, it gives you a sense of vulnerability and a feeling of despair.  Predators not only lurk in the shadows but in broad daylight waiting and looking for the right opportunity to take advantage of you.  When you hire a private investigator, you don’t expect to become a victim, you expect them to solve the issue you have tasked them with.  What happens when they don’t follow through?  Once again you become a victim of circumstance and there is limited recourse for you.

 

What is the issue?

Colorado is one of very few states that do not require Private Investigators to hold a license.  How scary is that?  As a professional private investigator this scares the wits out of me.  Colorado issues licenses for Barbers, Cosmetologists,  and Electricians to name a few.  Private investigators are not required to have a license.  There is a voluntary licensing program in Colorado in which a number of ethical and professional private investigators have chosen to obtain their licenses.  Licensing is not mandatory and therefore not everyone working as a private investigator is required to operate under the same guidelines.

 

How does this effect you?

I have heard a number of complaints from people about their experiences with unethical private investigators.  People have paid large retainers to these unethical tradesmen for services that were never completed.  Citizens have been harassed by people claiming to be private investigators for unethical purposes.  Others inside the legal field have complained about these charlatans providing sub-standard service resulting in litigation for them.  Think about this, a person that wants to portray themselves as a private investigator has access to personal information on you, your friends, your loved ones and others close to you.  Right now you have no recourse against their activities unless it rises to the level of a criminal event.

 

Who is against licensing?

Obviously individuals with a criminal past oppose any type of licensing.  Under the licensing law these individuals would face a background check and therefore keep them out of the profession.  Those people convicted of serious crimes should not be allowed to be a private investigator.  What concerns me are the people who testified at the state capitol stating that we don’t need licensing because it is a self policing industry.  Let me assure you, there is no self policing aspect of the private investigation field.  There is no Star Chamber consisting of elite all powerful private investigators looking to undo the harm caused by unethical predators.  I was absolutely shocked to hear this argument come from those who have served in law enforcement.  These agents and officers that once served the public trust are blatantly and with gross disregard undermining that trust.

 

Why is licensing important?

I think it is pretty clear that I am pro licensing.  Mandatory licensing adds professionalism to an industry in Colorado that has fallen behind the curve in regard to the rest of the nation.  In an earlier blog, Should Professional Investigators be Licensed, I discuss additional reasons why licensing is important.  Licensing adds consumer protection to the industry.  If a predatory investigator commits an undesirable act the consumer has recourse.  Without licensing that recourse does not exist.  PPIAC Chairman Chris Bray recently posted a blog, Colorado PI Licensing Update, which gives additional information on the current legislative state of affairs regarding the campaign for licensing.

 

What can be done?

Take the time to contact your legislators.  Let them know that you support licensing.  Let them hear your voice.  Our Representative Republic relies on the voice of the people to affect change where change is necessary.  Maintain the public trust and help make licensing mandatory!