Colorado Private Investigator Licensing Bill Amended to Allow Some PIs to Register

By Paul Simon

Denver Private Investigator Blogger

DENVER – A Senate committee Wednesday  advanced a revamped bill requiring all private investigators in Colorado to obtain licenses, voting 3-2 along party lines after a contentious 3 ½-hour hearing pitting those who believe licensing will better protect consumers against others who see it as a boondoggle designed to kill small businesses and eliminate part-time investigators.

The revised bill that now moves to the Senate Finance Committee contains two licensing levels, one requiring an as yet-undetermined minimum level of experience and a second requiring that  investigators  working for firms register with the state. Private investigators working for a firm who register wouldn’t be held to the qualification standards that would apply to firm owners and any investigator operating as a sole-proprietorship.

Solo private investigators seeking to avoid the presumably larger fee and experience requirements would have to join a firm to do so. All private investigators would be required to pass a jurisprudence exam about their knowledge of the law,  and pass fingerprint and background checks.

About all the nearly two dozen people who spoke at Wednesday’s hearing by the Senate Judiciary Committee agreed on was that the volunteer licensing program in place since the middle of 2012 is a failure. Fees began at $340 annually, climbed to $644 and then to $1,094 this year, with the result that fewer private investigators are participating. The program handled by the Department of Regulatory Agencies is self-funded, so fewer participants means higher fees to cover operational costs.

“We’ve been raising the flag about a problem” with financing the voluntary licensing program, state regulator Dino Ioannides said, adding that he was disappointed that the legislature hadn’t resolved the problem.

The cost of a license under a mandatory licensing program was just as much a touchpoint during the hearing as whether any licensing is needed.
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8 thoughts on “Colorado Private Investigator Licensing Bill Amended to Allow Some PIs to Register

    • Just because a blogger takes an opposing view of your position (anti-license), you’re going to discount the contents of the pro-license blogger based upon the fact that the blogger chooses to remain anonymous? There have been countless journalists over the course of history that have published their articles under assumed names in order to avoid the wrath of the government or public. This is no different. This blogger obviously just wants to keep the “who” out of the conversation and focus on the facts and observe what is happening. Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press are inherent rights that are not reserved for those who decide to shout their viewpoints from a soapbox in the middle of the town square. I’ve looked at your personal profile and you call yourself a journalist. And if I’m not mistaken, Mr. Ross also has a journalism background. So for either one of you to discount the comments of an anonymous blogger is the highest form of hypocrisy.

      The blogger was accurate in his observations. So are you afraid to acknowledge them? The hearing wasn’t “contentious”, as you phrased it. As soon as the opposition got up there, it was a circus, complete with clowns. Because that’s what any reasonable person would have reported it. You took Johnson’s over-the-top antics and his cat calls from the gallery as “contentious”. It was embarrassing. Utterly unprofessional.

      If you’d like to talk about anonymity, let me ask this: Who is this Bob O’Block guy? Where is this group of private investigators that he claims to lead? According to his testimony at the hearing, he leads about 50 or 60 PIs. Where, exactly, are these followers of his? Why doesn’t he publish a webs site? At least Rick Johnson posts his membership roster, as does PPIAC. As a matter of fact, every professional association I know of posts their membership roster. But not O’Block’s “super secret” group. Not a website, not a phone number, not anything. They (whoever they are” are completely anonymous. Frankly, I doubt they even exist. Which causes me to doubt what O’Block’s motives are when it comes to this whole licensing issue.

      The fact is, O’Block’s group is just as anonymous as this blogger, yet you felt he carried enough weight to run a couple of articles on how Chris Bray, leader of the pro-license group, failed to pay a debt. How, exactly, did that relate to the issue of SB-133? Whether he paid that debt or not, I couldn’t care less.

      Why did you do that? Did you check him out? Or did you just decide that the accusation that O’Block was just the kind of salacious content that makes you and your anti-license group happy? It was disgusting and unprofessional, just like the oppositions testimony at the Judiciary Hearing.

      Maybe you should quit worrying about whether the comments are anonymous and just focus on the comments themselves and ask yourself if they were valid or not. .

      Anonymously,

      Floyd

      • Dear Floyd,

        Our association was formed over fifteen years ago by one former PPIAC past President and Chairman Ed O’conor, myself and Ken Kirwin and we were both board members of the PPIAC, In fact O’Conor replaced Chris Bary after his one month as PPIAC President after the board asked Mr. Bray to step down, and has since never been recognized for his eleven months of service to the PPIAC as President.
        It is however true via PPIAC bi-laws that Mr. Bray does qualify as Chairman of the board as a past President of one month!
        We founded our association with the mission to strive towards public records access open for all those, private citizens and investigators alike. This by the way was something the PPIAC turned a blind eye to for many years not doing anything with public record to help the industry at all just instead with their blind drive toward licensing, which honestly as far as I can tell provides investigators with no benefit whatsoever, except for some manor of idiot bragging rights.
        Anyway Chris next time you blog spell my name right!!

        Bob Oblock, Chairman C.I.I.A

  1. I disagree, particularly in this case – the truth is what it is and it has not been disputed. I would say that criticizing anything but the content is not to be taken seriously. I have yet to see any reporting that DORA, the current bill sponsor (and voluntary co-sponsor) and Senate Judiciary Committee all took varying and shared responsibility for what has happened; as opposed to the inaccurate information many bloviate about.

  2. I’m delighted to read your comment, Floyd, because healthy discussion of this issue is positive. It would be more convincing, however, to see debate on the issue itself. I have no dog in this hunt — I’m not a private investigator — and one thing I’ve seen repeatedly is an unfortunate tendency among the two sides to pursue personal animosities.

    If you checked my profile you know I spent considerable time with the Associated Press wire service. For years AP’s strict policy on using anonymous sources has been to avoid them unless absolutely necessary to source a vital story essential for public knowledge. That’s because those commenting anonymously can say whatever they choose without fear of being held to the truth.

    I note you defend Chris Bray, perhaps with some justification, yet address opponents of mandatory licensing as clowns. The fact is anyone who has an ox to gore (yes, another cliche) in this fight will see things from his or her perspective. The fact also is since I’ve been covering this bill both sides have made clear their displeasure with one thing or another about the coverage. That’s probably a good sign, in my book.

    Finally, various dictionary versions of contentious describe it variously as “tending to argument or strife; quarrelsome,” “causing, involving, or characterized by argument or controversy,” “law, pertaining to causes between contending parties,” and “likely or willing to disagree,” Given the distinct differences and the nature of the testimony at the Senate Judiciary hearing, contentious is fitting in my view. You’ve justified that term even in your own description of the hearing.

    — Paul Simon

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