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Posts Tagged ‘licensed private investigators’

The Highly Specialized Career of Professional Investigations

Monday, May 2nd, 2016

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.

Pre Trial Investigators for Denver and Colorado Wide Cases

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

You can never have too much information. Wars have been lost for lack of data. Use API’s licensed private investigators as your resource for pre-trial investigations, and don’t risk a lack of details leaving your flank exposed in court. How overworked is your paralegal? How full is your plate? Let us help.

 

Here’s what a Pre-Trial Investigation can provide for you:

 

Witness Identification/Location/Statements – It’s always a race to locate and interview witnesses before the other side finds them. Take these tasks off your to-do list and let our private detectives locate and interview them. That’s one less thing you have to worry about.

 

Public Records and Social Media Investigations – The best time to be informed that someone has a questionable social network account under an alias, owns three prolific businesses, or has had several run-ins with the law is at your desk, not hearing it for the first time in court. Let our professional investigators help you by providing this information early on, so you can build your case armed with this knowledge.

 

Motor Vehicle Records/Registrations – Was the Claimant injured at work, or were they injured in an automobile accident shortly before the claimed injury? Did they have a valid driver’s license at the time of the accident, or was it suspended? Count on our insurance defense investigators to bring the information to the table.

 

Surveillance – Is there an intellectual property dispute? Child Custody/Parental Kidnapping? API employs Colorado’s most skilled surveillance investigators. API will provide you with high-definition, time and date stamped digital video and photo documentation that holds up in court.

 

High-Exposure Insurance Defense Investigations – When there are hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars riding on the outcome of insurance claims, every piece of information is crucial. Bring our insurance claims investigators on early and we can provide you with backgrounds, profiles, records and more.

 

Location Photography/Videography – Premises liability and other insurance defense cases often require photos and video, as well as background information of equipment, weather conditions, lighting and floor surfaces. The earlier our Colorado licensed PI’s are brought on in a case, the better the information we can provide to help you with the case.

 

These are just a few examples of what we can do to assist attorneys, overworked paralegals, insurance adjusters, corporate professionals and more to help win your case.

The Significance of PI Licensing

Monday, May 28th, 2012

Now that private investigator licensing has been restored and implemented in Colorado, many investigators have begun the process of obtaining their Colorado licenses, and some are not quite sure if a license is a worthwhile credential, or a necessity for this profession.  Several previous attempts at a mandatory PI license in the last 34 years had failed to convince Colorado legislators of the critical importance of licensing. In 2011, Colorado legislators finally agreed to pass a law that they felt was acceptable. Colorado, unlike every other state in the country, is unique in it’s licensing law in that it is a voluntary license. What this means is that every private investigator in Colorado has to make the individual decision whether to obtain a license. Some investigators are probably going to wait to see what type of benefits licensed investigators will have before they apply for a license of their own. Let’s take a look at the significance that licensing will have on the investigative profession in Colorado.

The first one is probably the most obvious reason for licensing. Every state with licensing, Colorado included, has statutes restricting licenses to individuals with criminal histories. Different states have different standards. An individual convicted of a felony will have a difficult time ever qualifying for a PI license in any state. Some states are more lenient with certain misdemeanor convictions, or the time that has passed since the misdemeanor conviction and the time of application for a license. Some states do not allow for any misdemeanor convictions at any point for an investigator to obtain and keep a PI license. Besides a background check, state licenses have an experience component for qualifying. States have differing experience provisions, so as a result some are more restrictive than others. By obtaining a license, an investigator can have the distinction of having met the minimum hours for obtaining the license.

As a business owner for a short 6 years, I’ve received many calls in that time span from colleagues across the country looking for a Colorado private investigator. Many of those colleagues, with mandatory licensing states, expect the same standard in a Colorado investigator, and would ask me if I was licensed. After explaining that there was no licensing in Colorado, many of those colleagues were shocked to hear of a lack of licensing standards. It didn’t take too many of those conversations for me to realize I needed to be licensed, regardless of Colorado previously having zero standards. My company obtained licenses in the states of Utah and Kansas. The reason for choosing those states was a practical one. Since my company’s main specialty is surveillance, I wanted to be licensed in bordering states. This way, if I was conducting a surveillance in western Colorado, my case wouldn’t be hindered with my subject crossing into Utah. Likewise if I was conducting a surveillance in eastern Colorado and the subject drove into Kansas. Mind you in my 10 years working as an investigator, I’ve only ever worked one case that originated in Utah, and one that originated in Kansas. It is the peace of mind of knowing that I can follow my subject from Colorado into Utah and Kansas that makes licensing in those states worthwhile. So what does a CO license mean for our colleagues across the country? It means they can readily find an investigator who has undergone similar licensing standards.

Another impact that licensing has for Colorado private investigators is in the legal based work that investigators are involved in. PIs are often hired to work cases that have a legal basis or purpose. Many times those cases will culminate in providing testimony in court or hearing. Licensed investigators can spend less time being qualified to provide testimony, by simply identifying themselves as licensed private investigators. Attorneys and their clients can likewise spend less time qualifying an investigator for their cases.

Another reason for a private investigator to be licensed is for records and database access. In Colorado, for example, there was previously no definition for a private investigator anywhere in Colorado statutes. As a result, there was nothing to distinguish private investigators from the general public. The only way that investigators typically identified themselves to records custodians and database providers was with business cards or business registration documents. There was the potential for an unscrupulous individual to deceptively identify themselves as a qualified investigator to obtain access to a desired record, or worse, gain access to an entire database.

So why should an investigator in practice voluntarily obtain a license when that person readily meets the state requirements and qualifications? A license serves as a credential, a recognition, a distinction, a designation that simply cannot be bypassed if that investigator is committed to being a professional. For those young, up-and-coming investigators that do not yet qualify for a license, the benefits of licensing will hopefully serve as a goal worth working towards. It is the responsibility of experienced, licensed investigators to guide new investigators towards the goal of obtaining their licenses and ensuring the future of this profession for generations to come.

For more information on Colorado’s private investigator licensing program, please visit http://www.dora.state.co.us/private-investigator/index.htm

To find a qualified professional private investigator in your area, please visit http://ppiac.org

Colorado Private Investigator News Feb. 2012

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

Professional Private Investigators Association of Colorado Senior Member Ricky Bennett will be the presenter of PPIAC’s first Quarterly Training Session which is scheduled for March 16th, 2012 with a venue in the Denver metro area.  Mr. Bennett will present a day-long class on Interviews. Keep an eye out on VP of Training Tan Smyth’s announcement for further details.
300. Most of us, when we hear this number, the first thing that might come to mind is the blockbuster movie that was released a few years ago. However, that number also holds a great deal of significance to Colorado private investigators. 300 (and counting) are the number of private investigators that are interested in Colorado’s Voluntary Private Investigator License. The spreadsheet with the contact information of the 300 was presented to Colorado’s Department of Regulatory Agencies. Further information can be located at http://www.dora.state.co.us/private-investigator/index.htm
PPIAC is diligently monitoring bills that have recently been introduced at the 2012 Colorado Legislative Session. HB12-1036, which is to provide clarification to the Colorado Open Records Act, was recently introduced and could potentially have a significant impact to private investigators if passed. The two page bill, which seeks to provide clarification of the exemption from the Colorado Open Records Act, might appear to be non-impactful, but it is far from it. In its current form, the bill specifies that the custodian of records may deny the right of inspection, on the ground that disclosure to the applicant would be contrary to the public interest, any records of the investigations conducted by any sheriff, prosecuting attorney, or police department, or any investigatory files compiled for any other civil, administrative, or criminal law enforcement purpose. Can there possibly be a much larger swath of a denial of records at the discretion of the custodian? Keep in mind these files were previously viewable in accordance to the Open Records Act. PPIAC has been working to create exemptions for licensed private investigators. If exemptions for licensed private investigators cannot be achieved, PPIAC will likely have no choice but to oppose this bill in its entirety alongside other opponents. You can read the bill by going to http://www.leg.state.co.us/clics/clics2012a/csl.nsf/fsbillcont3/F910975289BD2B1D87257981007F3A47?open&file=1036_01.pdf
HB12-1231, with regards to the Colorado Driver’s Privacy Protection Act, looks to be a much friendlier bill to the investigative profession. This bill seeks to bring the Colorado DPPA in line with the Federal DPPA. The PPIAC Board has not had the opportunity to review this bill, and thus has not taken an official position on the bill, but I anticipate the bill will receive the support of the association as it recognizes the licensed private investigator when requesting records from the Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles.
In the last couple of years, there has been an ever-increasing concern and focus on privacy, identity theft protection, and limiting access to public records. While legislators may introduce bills with good intentions, many of these bills can quickly go awry if not closely monitored and guided by PPIAC. It’s this type of legislative representation where an association can demonstrate its value and importance to its membership, and it’s this type of legislative representation PPIAC continues to provide for the benefit of the members year in and year out.
Please consider joining PPIAC in March for a Background/Integrity Interviews topic presented by Steve and Erica Davis.

The Anti-Surveillance Bill’s Influence on Colorado PI Licensing

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

Efforts to restore licensing to Colorado private investigators are not new. It is one of the founding principles of the Professional Private Investigators Association of Colorado since PI licensing was repealed in the 70’s. There have been several attempts by PPIAC to restore licensing to Colorado. That is well known to Colorado private investigators.

What many private investigators are not aware of is a piece of legislation that was introduced in 2010. HB10-1012 would have been devastating to the investigations profession in Colorado and would have been a major threat across the country. HB1012 attempted to limit surveillance across the board that could be conducted for Colorado worker’s compensation and other insurance claims. Surveillance for these cases is merely a way to help verify or disprove a claim. Private investigators were accused of trespassing, harassment, stalking, violating people’s privacy, etc. In the end, legislators, claimants, privacy advocates, and other proponents of this piece of legislation had NO proof of these accusations. Not a single charge of harassment or stalking, no documentation indicating trespassing or invasion of privacy, not even a single police report.

Some private investigators did not want to get involved, but PPIAC felt it was important to hire its own lobbyist to defeat this bill. Because this bill would have had an immediate and dramatic affect on the surveillance investigtations specialty as a whole, PPIAC was heavily involved.

Though it seems HB10-1012 would have only affected surveillance in the use of worker’s compensation cases, it’s very likely the law would have been hijacked to affect all surveillance. It could have then been hijacked even further to limit other forms of investigations.

The progress of HB1012 was being watched across the country because it would have set a detrimental precedence that other state legislators, privacy groups, etc. would have used as a template. In fact, the National Council of Investigative and Security Services has to continuously fight these types of privacy bills. NCISS often mentions that the biggest threat to private investigators are the privacy bills that are being introduced over and over.

During discussions involving HB1012, PPIAC asked Colorado legislators what could be done to ease concerns to those who introduced and supported the bill. The topic of licensing came up. Several private investigators mentioned that past attempts had been made, and each time licensing attempts were immediately killed during committee. Some legislators mentioned that maybe this was the time for private investigators to introduce another bill. A couple of legislators mentioned that a bill might be introduced regardless if PPIAC took part or not. PPIAC’s concern was if Colorado legislators introduced a bill, the industry has less say in the bill’s drafting points.

PPIAC knew that it had to work on a licensing bill to introduce in 2011. This bill would have to not only be beneficial for the industry as a whole, but it had to be successful. When HB11-1195 was initially introduced, it provided for ‘public’ records access, and maintaining of records access, to licensed private investigators.  The records access portion was removed due to concerns that keeping records access in the bill could cause the bill to be killed. Once removed, the bill wiped out a significant portion of the opposition.

Every PPIAC member involved in this process helped draft HB11-1195 to benefit the profession not just now but for decades to come. The newly signed law will be a benefit to any private investigator regardless of the past career of the PI. HB1195 is a paradigm shifting licensing bill. Rather than eliminating those who cannot obtain a license as mandatory programs do, and then attempting to police the industry to prevent unlicensed PI activity, HB1195 simply highlights those who have been vetted and qualified by the state of Colorado. It can be used as yet another credential, similar to becoming a Certified Legal Investigator, Certified Financial Investigator or Certified Fraud Examiner.