Colorado Private Investigator Regulators Finally Speak: Public Comment Meeting Set

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: dennis.larson@state.co.us

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