Private Investigator Licensing Fees Top Issue as Regulators Hear Comments From Investigators

Posted November 15, 2014 by privateinvestigatorblogger
Categories: Uncategorized

By Paul Simon

Denver Private Investigator Blogger

DENVER – Colorado private investigators Wednesday told state officials getting ready to issue regulations for licenses that they’re on-edge about what they fear will be excessive licensing fees over the next few years and about conflicting statements from regulators about refunds some of them are owed.

Regulators received a bucket-load of comments about the draft rules for licensing experience, surety bonds, a licensing exam, standards of practices and rules of professional conduct. But how much licenses will cost over the next three years and the refunds due to those who paid for voluntary licenses dominated much of the 2.5 hour session.

“You guys have to make this palatable,” investigator Dean Beers pleaded, adding that the escalating fees was a key reason the voluntary licensing program failed. He said he’s received “dozens and dozens of emails” about the issue. He said regulators should anticipate costs over the next three years and set a licensing fee that won’t escalate dramatically year-to-year, as the fees for the voluntary program did.


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Colorado Private Investigator Regulators Finally Speak: Public Comment Meeting Set

Posted November 8, 2014 by privateinvestigatorblogger
Categories: Uncategorized

Tags: , ,

By Ryan Ross and Susanna Speier

Denver Private Investigator Blogger

DENVER – More than three months behind schedule and after months of silence, officials with the Office of Private Investigator Licensure (OPIU) of the Division of Professions and Occupations (DPO) and the state’s Department of Regulatory Affairs (DORA) said they have set the first “stakeholder” meeting for 1:00 pm November 12 in room 1250 (12th floor) at 1560 Broadway in Denver.

The stated purpose is to “gather input” on rules for the state’s brand new law requiring that all private investigator get licenses. “The division invites you to share your thoughts and recommendations as we develop a preliminary draft of the proposed rules to regulate private investigators,” the regulators said in their announcement.

Enforcement Unit Supervisor Dennis Larson also said in the announcement that regulators “will consider” comments only on requirements for the license for experienced investigators, the surety bond requirement, the exam, the standards of practice, the rules of professional conduct. Other matters – such as the cost of the licenses – will be considered only after comment on these items has been received, and then only if time permits.

All private investigators will have to pass the test adopted by regulators, and there is already a California offering to sell study guides and warning that the failure rate will be high, forcing a lot of unprepared investigators out of business.

It’s still not clear how many investigators are worried. Leading licensing opponent Rick Johnson isn’t. “A test is a test,’ he says. “ How difficult can this test be?” Johnson also acknowledges that not all Colorado investigators share his ennui. “People who work for me aren’t worried about it but people new to the industry might be worried and I can understand why they would be worried about an exam. It’s the unknown. They don’t know what’s going to be on this test. Thirty five years versus months — this is going to give the person with more experience the upper hand.”

Chief licensing proponent Chris Bray was not concerned by the schedule delays. ‘We have every confidence that DORA will meet the requirements set forth under law and will announce meetings, timetables and rules as soon as they are ready to be announced,” he said before the announcement of the meeting for public comment.

The delays, however, create a time crunch. State law requires the regulators issue their proposed rules, and then hold a hearing to solicit comment. That hearing, they said in July, was going to be held in November, with the rules becoming effective by January. Now that timetable is in jeopardy. The tighter the schedule, the less time the regulator have to do their homework, and consider comments from investigators and others.

How close to the wire is DORA actually going to go? “Lets have a New Years Eve party at DORA” Johnson says, “with beer in our hands, party hats, and blowers and lets sit down and see if we can get this hammered out.”

The agenda for the public-comment meeting is here.

The web site for the licensing program is here.

Although information remains unavailable on the web site DORA created for the private investigator licensure program. It is, however, available through a mailing list that you sign up for by sending a subscription request to:

Step Right Up and Get Your Colorado Private Investigator Test Study Guide

Posted October 24, 2014 by privateinvestigatorblogger
Categories: Uncategorized

By Susanna Speier
Denver Private Investigator Blogger

DENVER – A California company is offering to help Colorado private investigators pass the test required to get a license from state regulators next year, even before state regulators have decided what the test is going to test.

The PI Group is recently started advertising a “complete NEW study material package for the new 2015 Colorado Private Investigator license testing” on its website. Colorado investigators, will, in fact, have to pass a “jurisprudence” test of some kind to get a license in the state’s new mandatory licensing program, slated to go into effect on June 1, 2015. But state regulators haven’t said anything yet about how investigators should prepare.

Whatever the test’s content, the California firm is going to be ready, Director Don Grogan tells the Denver Private Investigator Blog. “As soon as DORA decides here’s what’s going to be on the test, we’ll have a study guide to match it,” he says.

Grogan claims to be “getting input” from Colorado regulators and “others” he won’t identify. Regulators wouldn’t respond to questions about Grogan’s claims submitted by the Denver Private Investigator Blog.

The PI Group has been creating study materials since the 90s, according to Grogan, and has been hired to develop the tests for several states. The organization has 4,000 members, he says.

Grogan says tests vary as much state to state as licensing requirements do. But he says they all draw upon broad areas that investigators need to be knowledgeable about, such as background checks and surveillance.

Grogan says he anticipates questions such as “How many counties are there in Colorado? “That’s a background check question,” he explains.

Another likely question involves how to determine whether someone owns a piece of vacant property. “There is no such thing as a statewide property check,” he adds. “You have to go county by county.”

Colorado investigators are also likely to get asked what state agency and what county agency maintains marriage records in Colorado. And where corporate records can be obtained. “We teach those nuances,” he says.

Grogan hasn’t determined what the cost of the Colorado study materials will be and the firm’s web site doesn’t indicate the costs of the study materials it offers for other states. Interested investigators are told to call the firm’s toll-free number.

Grogan says his firm will make study material “outlines” available online at no cost. But it’s the complete study materials that are the key to passing the tests. He says his firm has helped thousands of California investigators pass that state’s test, by studying the 14-pound packet of study materials he provides. “You don’t know in advance what to study for and it’s too late when you’re at the test,” he says. “In most states people fail a time or two before passing.”

Warning experienced investigators not to underestimate the test he warns, “you can be a good car driver and still fail the written test.”

Grogan says he thinks Colorado’s licensing program – like the licensing program in other states – won’t help private investigators. “I want licensing because we sell books,” he says. “But if I was a Colorado private investigator, I wouldn’t want a license because a license does nothing for them.”

“Cream rises to the top. If you find a good investigator you’ll get good reviews and good word of mouth.”

Grogan says the Colorado legislation was pushed by investigators trying to squeeze part-timers out of the business, and that their motives have nothing to do with protecting the public from bad investigators. “There’s no evidence that lack of licensing is hurting the public there,” he says. “I don’t see any stories about rogue investigators doing bad deeds in Colorado. I talk to some who are in the know and they say the legislation was pushed by the guys who want to remove the part-timers. I don’t think private investigator’s work ethics are going to change because of the licensing program.”

Grogram is predicting that the cost of a Colorado license will be more than $500 a year. “If I was in Colorado,” he says. “ I’d say that’s a throwaway of money.”

Colorado Private Investigations Industry Regulator Has Major Military Background

Posted September 11, 2014 by privateinvestigatorblogger
Categories: Uncategorized

Tags: , , ,

By Susanna Speier

Denver Private Investigator Blogger

DENVER – The regulator in charge of Colorado’s private investigators has a small background in investigations and a major background with the military, his resume indicates.

Mark Browne – named earlier this year to implement the legislation requiring that all Colorado private investigators get licenses from the state by July 1, 2015 – has been an intern with a big city police department and the consumer protection division of a state Attorney General’s department, but those stints are so far in his background he doesn’t even list them on his resume.

Instead, the resume focuses on his military experience, which began a decade ago when he was a troop fire support officer with the US Army, stationed at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs.  He writes in his cover letter to state officials that his job was to advise the troop commander on all technical and tactical aspects of lethal fires and non-lethal effects and to supervise the training, welfare, combat readiness, safety and morale of a three-member fire support team.

The Denver Private Investigator Blogger submitted a records request for Browne’s resume after a department spokeswoman refused to respond to a question about Browne’s professional background.

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Colorado Regulators Offer Limited Information About Mandatory Licensing Program for Private Investigators

Posted August 9, 2014 by privateinvestigatorblogger
Categories: Uncategorized

By Susanna Speier

Denver Private Investigator Blogger

DENVER – It’s been two months now since the legislation requiring all Colorado private investigators to obtain a state-issued license was signed into law, but state regulators are still being tight-lipped about implementation. The Denver Private Investigator Blog submitted a series of questions. Regulators answered some, not others. The Q&A below reflects the questions submitted by The Denver Private Investigator Blog, and the answers it received from Cory Everett, whose job title is ‘Senior Advisor to the Division Director, Strategic & External Affairs, Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA).’

Of special note is that Everett refused to provide any information about the background of Mark Browne, who is in charge of implementing the law. Anyone who knows about Brown’s personal or professional background is invited to send an email to:

DENVER PI BLOGGER: When was Mark Browne first employed by DORA?
EVERETT: Mark started in 2009 and presided over implementation of the voluntary private investigator licensing program.

PI BLOGGER: What did Browne do professionally before you joined DORA?
EVERETT: No response

PI BLOGGER: What positions has Browne held with DORA, and what professions has be developed rules and regulations for?
EVERETT: Browne oversees electrical and plumbing and private investigators. Our electrical and plumbing is the largest and most comprehensive program in the division.

PI BLOGGER: Will private investigators be Browne’s full-time assignment? If not, what percentage of your time will be devoted to implementing the licensing legislation?
EVERETT: It will be shared with electrical and plumbing. Most regulators have between 2 – 7 professions.

PI BLOGGER: What is Brown’s background, if any, in private investigation or law enforcement? Has he ever hired a PI? If so, did the person he hired provide him with the assistance he sought?
EVERETT: No response

PI BLOGGER: What will Browne do to educate yourself about the business of private investigation?
EVERETT: No response.

PI BLOGGER: What does Browne know about the current laws and regulations in other states?
EVERETT: No response.

PI BLOGGER: What is the department’s target date for making the preliminary draft of the Private Investigators Licensure Act regulations available to stakeholders? What are department’s target dates for the town hall and stakeholder meetings?
EVERETT: Provides the Private Investigators Licensure Act implementation timeline pasted below. 

Please note the dates provided above are estimates, and may be subject to change

Please note the dates provided above are estimates, and may be subject to change










PI BLOGGER: How do stakeholders get on the mailing list so they can get email notifications about upcoming meetings?

EVERETT: Stakeholders are also encouraged to sign-up for the Office’s listserve by contacting Dennis Larson at

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Private Investigators Groups Sets July 24 as National Private Investigators Day

Posted July 23, 2014 by privateinvestigatorblogger
Categories: Denver Private Investigator News


By Susanna Speier

Denver Private Investigator Blogger

DENVER – Hoping to undermine a slew of what its members say are unfair, inaccurate and misleading perceptions people have about private investigators, a national private investigators association decided during a convention in Denver last month to declare July 24 “National Private Investigators Day” with a statement that “encourages all members to join in this day of community appreciation for the important fact-finding work they perform as professional private investigators.”

“There are a lot of negative stereotypes about private investigators,” says David Luther of the National Association of Legal Investigators, whose members approved the proclamation. “There are inappropriate ideas about what we are able to do because of the media and the rogue investigators that reside in federal prisons right now. There’s the sense that private investigators will do anything – right or wrong – for their clients. There are investigators that do that, but the law enforcement is catching up with them.”

Citing TV shows such as Magnum PI and Rockford Files as examples, Luther says “one of the most difficult things is the perception by the public and legal community that we’re able to do things that we actually cannot do because of legalities. People think you can just go into a magic computer and find out all this information about people. That’s not the case. We can access more information than the general public, but that is licensed information given to us because of our credibility.”

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Luther cited Rockford files and Magnum P.I. as two great examples of inaccurate portrayals of private investigators. Share your favorite examples of inaccurate private investigator portrayal in the comments section below.

Colorado Enacts Mandatory Private Investigator Licensing

Posted June 10, 2014 by privateinvestigatorblogger
Categories: Colorado Private Investigator Licensing, Denver Private Investigator News

Tags: ,

By Paul Simon

Denver Private Investigator Blogger

DENVER – Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper has signed the state’s new law requiring all private investigations to be licensed by June 1, 2015, ending for now the legislative battle over its fate but probably not quieting the debate over its merits.

Senate Bill 14-133 was one of 53 the governor signed last week without comment.

As the measure sponsored by Sen. Linda Newell, a Denver Democrat, worked its way through the legislature, representatives of several private investigator groups in Colorado voiced differing views on whether it is needed and what the impact would be on the profession. The dissent continued even after it was signed into law.

“Two years from now I would like to see how Linda Newell and the rest of those fools feel about things this when a license cost is close to a thousand dollars, mark my works on this,” said Bob Oblock, president of the Colorado Independent Investigators Association who has criticized any licensing as an expensive requirement that will drive part-time investigators out of business.

But Chris Bray, head of the private investigator organization that was a driving force for mandatory licensing, called on those on both sides of the issue to embrace the new law that he said will benefit all in the profession. “I encourage all private investigators that may not have supported this effort to accept and embrace the new law,” Bray wrote after the governor signed the legislation into law. “This new law will allow our industry to engage in conversations with lawmakers, custodians of public record and stakeholders across Colorado concerning our industry and the credential you will soon carry. As private investigators, we will all soon have one common denominator – our license – and we can work together to be recognized as a credentialed group and a united voice concerning issues that impact our industry and our ability to practice our trade. In the end, it will benefit us all and allow us to more effectively service our clients.”

The new law repeals a voluntary licensing program in place since mid-2012 that drew limited participation and created a debt estimated at $70,000.

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Download the final bill


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