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Signs You Could Be Being Stalked

December 1st, 2016 • BlogComments Off on Signs You Could Be Being Stalked

At Advanced Professional Investigations, our surveillance and private detective services are second to none. We’re here to assist with everything from fraud to background investigations, with your discretion and privacy at the top of our priority list.

An item we get calls for pretty frequently is stalking. It’s a hidden world not many people are exposed to, but those who have dealt with a stalker have often been opened up to uncomfortable and sometimes horrific experiences. We’re here to help if you’re worried about being stalked, but only you can recognize the danger signs before you give us a call. Let’s look at a few of these warning signs.

Intensity

Most people who engage in stalking behavior are very intense in nature, part of what fuels their obsession. Simply being intense doesn’t automatically mean someone is a stalker, of course, but it can absolutely be an initial warning sign.

A stalker might sustain uncomfortably long eye contact, speak in loud and argumentative tones or have extreme facial expressions. If you see these habits along with any of our other warning signs, you might have your answer.

Personal Information

A stalker will often be eerily well-informed on your life and your personal details. They might track your schedule or your online habits, and it’s very possible they’re following your social media through anonymous accounts even once you’ve blocked them. They may start grilling you over the people you take pictures or spend time with, or reveal bits of information that it should be impossible for someone in their position to know.

Unannounced Visits

If the person suddenly seems to know your schedule and shows up far more often than random coincidence would suggest, that could be another sign. In some extreme cases, stalkers will continue to come around you even when you’ve asked them not to or told them you have other plans.

Physical Advances

When they do manage to get in your presence, many stalkers will engage in uncomfortable physical advances. This may just be standing too close to you or staring at you for long periods, or could include actual grabbing and physical touching. These are possessive behaviors that signal stalking.

Have you noticed any of these signs? There’s a real chance you need to speak with one of our private investigators at Advanced Professional Investigations.

Private Investigator Rates in Colorado

November 26th, 2016 • Colorado Private Investigations, Colorado Private Investigator, Denver Private Investigations, Denver Private InvestigatorComments Off on Private Investigator Rates in Colorado

Having worked full time as a Colorado private investigator for nearly 15 years, and for over 10 years as a business owner, I’ve been able to experience the ebbs and flows – the ups and downs of the profession. Over those 15 years, I’ve  had the opportunity to network with hundreds of practicing private investigators, both full-timers as well as part-timers, and I’ve also guided aspiring private investigators who were looking at gaining entry into the profession. Those hundreds of PI’s that I’ve met have come from many walks of life. Some had prior law enforcement or military experience. Others came into private investigations with criminal justice, investigative journalism, or even law degrees under their belts. Still others started out by taking an online private investigations course, or perhaps attended one in person. Others were introduced into private investigations having had no previous exposure to any type of investigations.

With such varying levels of experience, credentials, certifications, licenses, etc. how do private investigator business owners begin to set a fee structure when they start their own companies? This is a critical question that each new business owner should consider carefully at the time that the business is started. Most private investigators have an hourly rate with expenses charged separately, others might charge a flat fee hourly rate to include expenses incurred such as mileage and travel time, and still others charge a flat fee daily rate. Some private investigators even charge on a contingency or percentage basis. However, many states have restrictions or complete bans on this type of fee structure for private investigators. To complicate the matter even further, some investigators have a lower fee for cases worked as a contract investigator versus their regular fee for cases where they are the originating investigator.

Many new investigator businesses will simply attempt to research what the going rate is for the state or region of operation and then set their rates accordingly. However, consider this: over the years I have heard of Colorado private investigators charging rates as low as $40 per hour as the originating investigator, to rates as high as $300 per hour. Wow. $40-$300 per hour! That seems like quite a disparity to me. Think about it: all other expenses and factors being equal, the $40 per hour investigator has to work 7.5 hours just to match the 1 hour worked by the $300 per hour investigator! The obvious explanation to this is the $40 per hour investigator must be an inexperienced generalist while the $300 per hour investigator must be an experienced specialist with every credential imaginable.  However, there are other variables which could factor into those rates. The $40 per hour investigator could be a part time investigator, perhaps a retired individual who receives a pension or other forms of secondary income. Those individuals perhaps view private investigations as more of a hobby or pastime.  The $300 per hour investigator perhaps has a brick and mortar office in a prime location complete with a receptionist, office manager, administrative assistant, field employees, etc. The $300 per hour investigator could also be a smaller agency that contracts out work to $100 per hour investigators and as a result still generating a good profit while having subcontractors do the investigations.

I once experienced a scenario which I had not previously been aware of or even considered. I received a phone call from a large corporation which had recently started hiring in-house investigators. The potential client wanted to know what my company’s rates were for initiating surveillance on a subject in Glenwood Springs, CO. The caller explained to me that the surveillance would span from a specific pickup point until the subject returned to their residence, so in the potential client’s words, the surveillance would only be one day. I informed the caller of my hourly rates as well as mileage and travel rates, and explained that my office was located in Castle Rock, Colorado – approximately 3.5 hours away from Glenwood Springs. To help explain the minimum travel and mileage expenses, I informed the caller that the only investigator available to cover the surveillance case would have to be dispatched from Castle Rock. The potential client stated that their in-house investigator is paid a $125 per day flat rate. After a couple of seconds of silence on the phone line, I realized the potential client wanted me to make an attempt to match that rate. I politely explained to the caller that I could not lower my rates, and perhaps the corporation should continue using their in-house investigator. Her reply was something to the effect of, “But I don’t want to use my in-house investigator.” She went on to explain that they were not pleased with the quality of investigations they were getting from the in-house investigator. I spent another few minutes on the phone with the caller, but I quickly realized she had been accustomed into believing this flat fee rate was the average going rate for investigations.

I ended the phone call unclear if the in-house investigator was an employee or if the investigator was a vendor who did all their work for this corporation. Perhaps I could have clarified the caller’s definition of ‘in-house’ investigator, and then maybe I could have explained the various expenses, taxes, operating costs, insurance, etc. that I as a business owner must incur versus an employee investigator. Perhaps I could have explained how our company specializes in surveillance, that each surveillance investigator has years of experience, and how each investigator is individually licensed in Colorado. However, in my mind I was convinced we would not come to an agreement on a rate.

So once again, what should an investigator charge? Based on all the variables, this is a difficult question to answer. Instead, I ask private investigators to take a look at other businesses and professions. For example, attorneys, like private investigators, range in size as small as sole proprietors to as large as national or even international corporations with employees numbering in the hundreds or even thousands. Some attorneys have a home office, while some have dedicated office buildings. Practically all have some form of website or other forms of internet presence. Many have memberships in professional organizations and associations.

Private investigators, like attorneys, might have to purchase similar attire as attorneys for marketing, face-to-face client relations, and testifying / providing attorney support at hearings and trials. Unlike attorneys, private investigators aren’t required to have a 4 year or higher college degree, and in many states aren’t required to pass an exam or even be licensed. So perhaps the average rate for private investigators shouldn’t be the same as the average rate for attorneys in a given state or region.

To the private investigators at the low end of the spectrum, such as in the $40 per hour range, taking a look at other businesses and their hourly charges may prove to be an indicator of how the investigator is perceived to clients as well as colleagues, inadvertently or otherwise. Plumbers who are licensed charge $45 – $150/hr. Car mechanics charge $80 – $100/hr. Are licensed and professional minded private investigators not, at the bear minimum, as valuable in terms of the services provided as car mechanics or plumbers? Those are the questions that each investigator business owner must answer when establishing their rates.

Legal Basis in Family Law Investigations

November 11th, 2016 • Colorado Private Investigations, Colorado Private Investigator, Denver Private Investigations, Denver Private InvestigatorComments Off on Legal Basis in Family Law Investigations

Private investigators oftentimes have the stigma of taking on any case for any reason. Advanced Professional Investigations has worked hard to change that perception through educating the public and clients on what a professional investigator does and how we think. We do, however, still get the calls from individuals that want their husband or wife followed to see if they are cheating or find out if we can bug their cell phone or computer. In our office, the protocol is to determine if the case has a legal basis or is purely need to know. As Colorado is a no-fault state for divorce, the only time we accept a domestic case is if there is an attorney involved and if the attorney feels our help is not only warranted, but also beneficial to their legal case. Locating assets, determining employment of a parent that has stopped paying child support, conducting background checks on questionable individuals that spend time with the children, and obtaining evidence of drug or alcohol use during visitation are just a few of the examples where the case may have a legal basis in order for us to accept a case. Our findings are then turned over to the family law attorney to ensure the information will be utilized in the proper manner. As family law cases/domestic cases can be extremely volatile with emotions running high, it is important to us that our findings will only be used in a legal setting.

Another reason we typically don’t accept family law cases without legal representation is that family law cases are often very emotionally-charged and volatile. Attorneys tell us these cases require a lot of patience and guidance. When taking on family law cases, our policy is to ask for a conference call so we can determine what information the attorney is looking for during the course of the investigation. Many times the client has ideas on what they would like done based on what they have seen on TV.  These requests may be above the legal scope of what we can do as investigators and may actually hurt the case. Communicating with the attorney helps keep the case on the right track. On the investigative end, it ensures the case is worked with results that will support the case in a legal setting, instead of fueling emotionally-based requests.

 

Documenting the Dynamics of Parenting Time

November 4th, 2016 • Colorado Private Investigations, Colorado Private Investigator, Denver Private Investigations, Denver Private InvestigatorComments Off on Documenting the Dynamics of Parenting Time

divorce-pic

Like adults, children can have biases particularly in regards to their parents. Those biases are affected even more so in contentious divorces where struggles for parenting time become an emotional tug of war.

Emotions on the part of the client makes a family law attorney’s job even more difficult in determining whether concerns of the child regarding the other parent are being accurately described. Concerns for safety and the overall well-being of the children are sometimes in question and need to be taken seriously.

In addition to being helpful in determining whether drug or alcohol use is a factor during parenting time, having an accurate picture of the dynamics of the relationship can influence modification of that time. Although there may not be evidence of alcohol or drug use during visitation time, is there question of such in the hours before the child exchange? We at Advanced Professional Investigations have had cases in which we’ve documented subjects that have consumed alcohol immediately prior to a child exchange. Who is spending time with the children? Are background checks on individuals spending time with the children warranted? Unfortunately, we have had cases where new love interests or babysitters have had questionable backgrounds. Are the children being left unattended? Video documentation via surveillance can be crucial to a child custody case. Are the children in a healthy, stable, and safe environment is the ultimate question in parenting time or custody cases. There may also be a question of “quality time”. Is the other parent spending their time with the child or children or do they simply go about their daily business and leave the children in the care of others?

What are the children’s behaviors while they are spending time with that parent? Are they happy and seem content, or do they appear hesitant and fearful during their visitation?

Besides parenting time, questionable employment that would be detrimental to the emotional or physical well-being of the children may need to be answered. Is the subject working at a bar and taking the children with them during their shift for example?

Surveillance can be used to document questionable behaviors in an objective manner, providing the family law attorney with necessary information to proceed in the best interest of their client, or at times put the parent at easy knowing their child or children are well looked after while in the other’s care.

How Surveillance Can Be Beneficial

November 1st, 2016 • BlogComments Off on How Surveillance Can Be Beneficial

They aren’t situations in which we prefer to operate all the time, but there are times in life where a private investigator may be necessary. In particular, many unfortunate circumstances may require the hiring of a professional to conduct surveillance services.

At Advanced Professional Investigations, our professional private investigators will work with you to quickly and painlessly resolve your issue. We know that these situations often involve discretion and privacy, and we’re experienced at providing these and keeping you comfortable.

What are some reasons you might need our surveillance services?

Marital Disputes

One of the most common uses of surveillance is during marital disputes, an often-ugly process that can begin when someone suspects that a partner is being unfaithful but has no way to prove this. Surveillance can often be the only way to definitely prove lack of faith, which can actually be a very important factor in divorce cases.

Additionally, surveillance can be used to assist this process when children are involved. Things like quality of parental care, time constraints and potential negative issues like abuse, neglect or drug problems are all areas proper surveillance can help weed out and bring to the forefront.

Workplace Issues

Billions of dollars’ worth of products are stolen from workplaces every year by dishonest employees and scammers, but proper surveillance can put a stop to this in a hurry. A surveillance specialist like Advanced Professional Investigations can also assist with other forms of employee misconduct, including drug or alcohol use and misuse of equipment.

Worker’s Compensation and Insurance Fraud

It’s common for people to fake or exaggerate injuries or other conditions that might allow them to collect worker’s compensation or other forms of insurance without actually doing any work (or without actually getting hurt). Other forms of insurance fraud that are common include personal injury and disability claims, both also areas which can benefit from proper surveillance.

Stalking Concerns

Stalking is more common than you might believe, whether it’s in person, online or otherwise. This can include frequent trespassing on private property as well, or in some cases people who have already been issued a restraining order and may not be complying. Each of these areas can be addressed in part through surveillance, which can uncover the evidence needed to take action.

Advanced Professional Investigations is a premier private detective service in the Denver area, with years of experience conducting surveillance and other private investigative practices. Our professionals are standing by to help with all your needs.

The Investigator/Attorney Relationship

October 28th, 2016 • Colorado Private Investigations, Colorado Private Investigator, Denver Private Investigations, Denver Private Investigator, UncategorizedComments Off on The Investigator/Attorney Relationship

Why should an attorney use an investigator when they have a paralegal in the office?

It’s no secret that attorneys utilize paralegals to handle many investigative related tasks. Instead of viewing it as an “either/or” situation, look at the possibilities of utilizing both investigators and paralegals and see how additional resources can help save time and return better results.

Attorney support services include: Witness locates, interviews, photographing locations, records retrieval, asset checks, backgrounds of various levels, social networking searches, cyber profiles and reports written to withstand scrutiny in court.

Can a paralegal do all of that? Yes. A paralegal’s duties reflect the attorney’s requirements and depending on the case, the requirements may be enormous.

An investigator’s skills complement and dovetail with a paralegal’s duties. While the paralegal is busy working directly with the attorney preparing the case to be presented, the investigator can be out pulling records, locating witnesses and scheduling interviews, conducting a background investigation and Social Media Investigation and creating a report compiled from the data. An investigator provides an additional resource with skills that may differ slightly or greatly from a paralegal, but the goal is still to provide the attorney with crucial documentation for their case.

The Highly Specialized Career of Professional Investigations

May 2nd, 2016 • Colorado Private Investigations, Colorado Private Investigator, Denver Private Investigations, Denver Private InvestigatorComments Off on The Highly Specialized Career of Professional Investigations

Professional private investigations is a career that many people have a great deal of fascination about. Television and media have often depicted the private investigator as an individual who is a do-it-all, a James Bond type of figure willing to tackle and somehow successfully accomplish any type of mission, assignment, or adversity presented to the character.

In reality, professional investigators give a great deal of thought to what cases they are willing to accept. Effective and responsible investigators know that if a case is outside their area of expertise, there is a greater probability that the results of the case will not be optimal. If you are looking for an attorney to resolve a child custody matter, would you hire the attorney that specializes in bankruptcy law, immigration law, or criminal law? You will likely prefer to hire the attorney who specializes in family law, and maybe even more precisely, child custody matters.

Professional private investigators like, attorneys, have specialties of their own. When potential clients are considering whether to hire a private investigator, I will often advise them against hiring the do-it-all private investigator. The old saying, ‘Jack of all trades, master of none’ certainly applies to investigations. A person who is considering hiring a private investigator should first identify what needs to be resolved or what information is being sought. The potential client can then begin looking for an investigator who specializes in obtaining the desired information or resolving the person’s matter. When contacting the investigator or investigative agency, do not hesitate to ask if they specialize in a certain area. Also, do not hesitate to ask how much experience they have in a certain area.

Advanced Professional Investigations is occasionally asked about companies that offer and provide professional services unrelated to investigations, and simultaneously have an in-house investigator or an investigations division. While it may seem tempting to go with the ‘one stop shop’ provider, the client should give consideration to a couple of important factors. First, is there a potential for the in-house investigator to have a bias, or could there be a perceived bias if the investigative findings are presented in a legal setting? Second, if investigation is one of many other professional services offered by a company, how much dedication/focus is the company giving to the investigations division of the company?

Advanced Professional Investigations, LLC is proud to be a fully independent, dedicated professional private investigations agency. What does this mean to our clients? API is able to maintain a direct, customer-focused line of communication with our clients. API obtains its information and documentation in a non-biased manner. API’s results always withstand the scrutiny of any perceived bias in a legal setting. Because API is dedicated to professional investigations, API’s investigators frequently attend conferences, courses, and training to keep on the forefront of investigations. API maintains the latest video recording equipment, with features that are designed specifically for professional investigators, not the general public. API was founded on, and continues to be focused on providing the highest quality results to our clients.

Do you have an investigative case request and you’re not sure who to turn to? Give API a call. Rest assured that if the case request is outside of our areas of specialty, we will let you know and will go the extra step of finding an investigator with the specialty you need.

Physical Surveillance Vs. Unmanned Surveillance

January 6th, 2015 • Colorado Private Investigations, Colorado Private Investigator, Denver Private Investigations, Denver Private InvestigatorComments Off on Physical Surveillance Vs. Unmanned Surveillance

In recent years, there have been companies that are marketing unmanned surveillance platforms. Some companies are selling unmanned surveillance platforms directly to insurance companies, third party administrators, corporations, and surveillance investigators. Surveillance investigators who have unmanned surveillance platforms oftentimes offer the equipment as a service to clients, and sometimes use the equipment to gather information to use in conjunction with physical surveillance.

With this type of equipment becoming widely available, is unmanned surveillance a suitable substitute to a physical investigator – an actual human presence? To answer this question, we have to take a look at the type of use for the equipment the client has in mind. For investigations where there is a need to conduct mobile surveillance of an individual, or where multiple viewing vantage points are required, there simply is no substitute for the flexibility and adaptability that a physical investigator provides. By the very nature of an unmanned surveillance platform, it is limited in use because once positioned, it is stationary. The more sophisticated types of equipment have the ability to remotely rotate the viewing lens for a larger field of view. However, there simply is no substitute for the ability of a physical investigator to aim a camcorder in a 3 dimensional space with no limitations on keeping the camcorder mounted on a device. The physical surveillance investigator has the ability to quickly reposition the vehicle that is being used, whereas an unmanned surveillance platform is typically concealed or otherwise mounted inside a parked vehicle or other stationary object. Physical investigators can reposition the camcorder or the vehicle when an unexpected object blocks the camera’s field of view. Advantage: physical investigator.

To maintain the highest clarity of video, physical investigators know there is frequent analyzing, and thus frequent adjustments that need to be made both to the camcorder as well as to the vehicle that the camcorder is positioned inside. In clear weather conditions, camcorders can typically be left in autofocus mode. However, if there are any weather conditions where rain drops, snowflakes, or even dirt spots on windows accumulate, the investigator is able to switch from autofocus to manual focus to ensure the camcorder focuses on the desired object rather than what is covering the outside windows of the vehicle. In adverse conditions, physical investigators might have to clean the windows of their vehicles multiple times per day to maintain the highest quality of video footage possible. Physical investigators can defrost windows, remove snow, and use windshield wipers. Advantage: physical investigator.

By far the biggest advantage of the physical investigator is the ability to conduct mobile surveillance once the subject departs any one area. In today’s world, with the use of surveillance becoming more common, and thus its use being more widely known, physical investigators are more likely to obtain valuable documentation AWAY from the subject’s residence. Since unmanned surveillance platforms are commonly set up at the subject’s residence, a limited amount of activity will be documented. Advantage: physical investigator.

So what, if any, are the advantages of unmanned surveillance platforms? The use of this type of equipment can be beneficial in situations where a more mobile security system is needed. Typical security cameras are permanently mounted and wired. Unmanned surveillance platforms provide a greater degree of flexibility than permanently mounted systems. A second advantage to unmanned surveillance platforms is in the ability to conceal the system. Permanently mounted surveillance cameras are generally placed in locations to act as a deterrent to unwanted behavior as well as to document activity. Unmanned surveillance platforms can be positioned and mounted in a variety of locations. Particularly when paired with a dedicated power source, they provide covert documentation.

The other major benefit of unmanned surveillance platforms, specifically when compared with a physical investigator, is the benefit of time. Once set up, unmanned surveillance platforms can document a specific location for days, weeks, or more. Documenting the desired activity that is viewed through the lens can be started and stopped remotely on the more sophisticated systems. Unmanned surveillance systems can be beneficial in cases of equipment and other personal property theft where the occurrence may be infrequent. Surveillance investigators sometimes use unmanned surveillance systems to establish patterns of activity. This information can then be used to determine when physical surveillance will be most beneficial.

Will unmanned surveillance platform technology replace the physical investigator? The current technology does not have the flexibility and adaptability that the physical investigator offers. Just like any other piece of equipment, unmanned surveillance platforms have limitations that should be considered before making the decision to use the equipment on any particular case. Finally, make sure to check with state laws regarding the admissibility of video or photo documentation that is obtained when a physical investigator is not present.

Why Should Private Investigators Be Licensed?

March 11th, 2014 • Colorado Private Investigations, Colorado Private Investigator, Denver Private Investigations, Denver Private Investigator1 Comment »

Over my career, I’ve mentored and helped guide countless numbers of investigators. I am very passionate about the profession, and yes I do call this a profession. I do not want to call this an industry. Why should private investigators be licensed? Quite simply, licensing legitimizes the profession. Licensing gives the public the ability to report investigator misconduct. Currently, there is no structure in place to standardize the profession. Many of us do consider private investigations as a profession. Private investigations is not just a job, a hobby, an interest, or a pastime. It’s a profession. Attorneys are required to be licensed. Private investigators frequently work cases for attorneys. We are often times asked to testify at legal proceedings. How do judges, juries, attorneys, or clients know whether the private investigator is free of criminal records? How does the court know if the investigator testifying in a sensitive, legal case is legitimate?

When I am out on a surveillance, there are two things that I pull out when I am approached by a law enforcement officer: my driver’s license and my PI license. I want to have the police officer know as quickly as possible at I am there for a legitimate purpose. A business card will not help me do that. When I am requesting a record from a court clerk or record custodian, I show my PI license card.
I’m also passionate and dedicated to being a good and upstanding business owner.  I took the slow route of learning the profession from the ground up, over many years of practice, long hours and perseverance before starting my own agency. Since I started my agency, I’ve done everything in a legitimate and legal manner. I’ve maintained an active business registration in good standing since the start of my company in 2006. I know for a fact that some investigators have expired registrations and continue to maintain PI websites and solicit PI work. Legitimizing the profession will help deter this behavior.
There are 44 other states that have mandatory licensing. Many times, a colleague in another state is looking to refer a case to an PI in Colorado. The vast majority of the time, those investigators want a Colorado PI to display proof of being licensed. How will we do that if voluntary licensure is repealed? I have unquestionably received cases as a result of having my voluntary license. Is it because I had a marketing advantage? I don’t believe so. I believe it has everything to do with consumer confidence. My existing clients know the quality of my work, but how is a first time potential client supposed to know whether I am experienced and legitimate? Mentioning a license gives them a much grater degree of assurance of that.
I have heard stories from both clients as well as other investigators of PI’s taking cases for cash, and not providing an invoice of services. Are these investigators reporting all of their income? That is difficult for me to say, but again, legitimizing the profession will help expose those who are involved in this practice and will certainly deter those individuals, or risk jeopardizing their licenses.
I’ve heard stories of investigators attempting to blackmail clients, or in extreme cases the subject of the investigation themselves, by threatening a deliberate breach of confidentiality. Is this behavior being reported? Likely not. Legitimizing the profession will help deter this behavior.

Several years ago, I had a private party call me and ask if I could conduct surveillance on his ex-wife. He stated that they were divorced, but he planned on getting back together with her. He said he was suspicious of his ex-wife’s fidelity, and wanted to determine if she was in a relationship with another man. The private party sounded nervous and tense over the phone, and had no legal purpose for the surveillance request. I had so many red flags, I knew from the beginning of the phone call that I would not accept the case. However, before I let the private party know that, he had mentioned some specific details, such as his name and the town where his ex-wife lived. Less than a week later, I heard the news on television that this person had killed his ex-wife, killed a male friend she was with, and killed himself. I immediately contacted the police in the jurisdiction to inform them of this individual’s phone call to my agency. The police had me fill out a statement. The police statement is not something that can be readily located without knowing specifically where to look. How many cases are out there like this? Did the individual eventually hire a PI to conduct surveillance on his ex-wife? Who knows. The dead don’t talk. Let’s legitimize this profession so these incidents can be more readily reported, and thus located.

The licensing of private investigators is long overdue. I ask, who would you rather use, a licensed attorney, or one who isn’t? Exactly why are barbers and plumbers allowed to be licensed, and yet private investigators have been rejected time after time? Imagine how difficult it would be to find a qualified, educated, professional attorney free of criminal records, without licensing in place. Imagine the fear of not having licensing in place for teachers, where pedophiles and felons could teach children without a system in place to screen these individuals out. Perhaps businesses and the general public would still be able to identify qualified individuals through background checks, but why should that burden be exclusively on business owners and the general public? By the way, those background checks that businesses have to undergo to find qualified candidates free of criminal records – many of those background checks are performed by private investigators. Why should private investigators with felonies and serious misdemeanors be allowed to masquerade themselves alongside law abiding, professional investigators? Let’s legitimize the profession and allow it to move forward. Let’s give consumers the confidence and assurance they need to hire a private investigator in the first place.

For more information on the most recent licensing bill introduced in the Colorado legislature, please visit
http://www.leg.state.co.us/clics/clics2014a/csl.nsf/fsbillcont/A77F6AC902F65D5987257C3000063671?Open&file=133_01.pdf

Colorado Private Investigators Seek Licensing

April 22nd, 2013 • Colorado Private Investigations, Colorado Private Investigator, Denver Private Investigations, Denver Private InvestigatorNo Comments »

I am a past President of the Professional Private Investigators Association of Colorado. The reason why Colorado private investigators are seeking to establish a licensing requirement is simple: consumer protection. For the past 11 years that I have been a private investigator, including the beginning of my career, I have wondered why other professions in Colorado required licensing, yet Colorado private investigators had no professional oversight, no guidelines, no standards, no training or schooling requirements, no attestation to the knowledge of the laws that pertain to private investigators, no standardization, and simply nothing prohibiting anyone from becoming a private investigator. Over the course of my career, I have encountered a private investigator who was a drug addict while employed as PI. I’ve known of another who kept an ice chest full of beer in his car which he drank while out on surveillance stakeouts. Yet another kept marijuana in the car that she used for surveillance. Some PI’s have felony convictions, others misdemeanors. Some have had restraining/protection orders placed against them as a result of their investigations. One private investigator was shot at as a result of conducting surveillance on private property. At least two Colorado investigators admitted to improperly, and without consent of the owners, placing GPS tracking devices on the vehicles of the subjects of their investigations.

Colorado private investigators are entrusted and often tasked with having social security numbers, dates of birth, height, weight, daily habits, work and personal schedules, vehicle descriptions and identifying information, etc. of individuals they are investigating. I highly doubt there is another licensed profession which deals with this many types of sensitive information.

Colorado private investigators are hired by attorneys who are required to be licensed. PI’s are often called on to testify to the accuracy and legality of their findings. Attorneys and other clients depend on investigators to not just find information, but to have that information admitted into court as evidence.

Private investigators are hired to perform criminal defense / death penalty investigations, death causation investigations, child custody and welfare investigations, family law investigations, insurance fraud investigations, financial investigations, accident reconstructions, and political investigations to include opposition research. We are hired to locate lost relatives, friends, military and war veterans, beneficiaries, witnesses, etc.

Private investigators sometimes interview witnesses of murders and injuries. PI’s interview rape and assault victims. In certain circumstances PI’s might even interview children. Private investigators are routinely called on when clients are at the lowest points of their lives.

Private investigators often conduct surveillance, both stationary as well as mobile. Stationary surveillance is what
the public might refer to as stakeouts. The stakeouts are very similar, and in many cases identical to the stakeouts that police officers conduct. When a suspicious vehicle is called in to the police, the responding officer has no way of knowing if the individual is a legitimate PI without licensing. Private investigators cannot impersonate police officers. However that has not prevented Colorado investigators from flashing badges at subjects or the general public. There is nothing preventing law enforcement, district attorney investigators, and other public officials / employees from moonlighting as PI’s and thus involving themselves in conflict of interest cases. Colorado PI’s have faced discipline for such involvement.

Why should Colorado private investigators be licensed? It is in the best interest of the public that consumer protection be in place. The consumer protection of the public far outweighs the self interests of opposing PI’s. Please support SB-259. The bill is scheduled to be heard in Denver at the Capitol beginning at 1:30 p.m. in the Old Supreme Court Chambers. Here is a link to the bill:

http://www.leg.state.co.us/clics/clics2013a/csl.nsf/fsbillcont3/2FB500E51653EA4987257B2600715430?open&file=259_01.pdf