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Posts Tagged ‘PPIAC’

Expanding Your Presence as a Private Investigator

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

In the last several months, the Professional Private Investigators Association of Colorado has made a push to expand its presence and earn greater recognition across the country. One of the ways PPIAC has done this is by being involved and partnering with other associations, whether they are other state associations, regional associations, national associations, or specialty / certification specific associations.

I recently returned from the National Council of Investigative and Security Services Conference which was held in Boston. PPIAC was represented by several PPIAC members, including past Presidents. There are many reasons why Colorado private investigators should consider attending national investigator association conferences and events. With NCISS, for example, you have an organization which provides an effective voice on federal legislative issues. Also, by attending these events, you can network with investigators across the country. These are just two of the many reasons for being members of and attending events such as what NCISS offers. For more information on NCISS, please visit http://www.nciss.org .

I have often heard of local, small investigator agencies wonder how they can possibly be competitive against national investigative agencies which have investigators available in most if not every state in the US. Being a part of investigator associations, some of which have a national presence, provides an answer to this dilemma. By forming networks with investigators in other states, local investigators can expand their reach. You no longer have to wonder how you can pull a record from a court in California if you have an investigator in that region you can turn to. Better yet, if you get to know the board members of the state associations, CALI being the example of California, you are able to expand your reach to cover literally every city and county of California for which you might ever need to fulfill an investigative request. 

PPIAC’s website now has a page with a list of Colorado’s licensed members. Here is the link to the page: http://ppiac.org/find-a-pi/colorado-licensed

Last but not least, the PPIAC annual conference is just one month away! Please get your payments sooner than later in if you plan to attend the conference. By doing so, the conference committee can better plan for the total number of attendees. For the latest information on the conference, go to http://ppiac.org/training/private-investigator-conference-colorado-springs . New this year is the Private Investigator Core Curriculum which will be held on October 17th, one day before the start of the conference. This unique program is free to attend but an RSVP is required. Details are on the conference web page. Thanks for your continued support of Colorado’s professional private investigator association!

Colorado HB12-1036

Saturday, March 24th, 2012

Attention Attorneys, Paralegals, Insurance Professionals, and Anyone who Relies on Open Records Access. This may affect due diligence and records retrieval on your cases! 

Advanced Professional Investigations wants to bring awareness to a bill which will limit open records access in Colorado. HB12-1036 is veiled as a “Clarification” but in reality restricts access defined in the Colorado Open Records Act.

Colorado private investigators and our colleagues nationwide, are concerned about this bill in its current form. There is no provided foundation addressing the need for clarification, and there are no guidelines for denial of records, only at the discretion of the custodian of records. That is dangerous to our profession, and the citizens of Colorado for whom Open Records are designed so that they can be informed and represented by their government.  This bill as introduced does not specify any department, office, or agency for which it applies – and specifically does not mention the AG’s office or limit to an active investigation. The bill gives complete discretion to the custodian of records, which are agents and clerks who are often far removed from those that may have a different intent for the purpose of not disclosing specific records. There is no provision for what would constitute public interest. Moreover, ‘public interest’ is both not defined in any statute, and the concept of open records is expressly for the purpose of ‘public interest’.

Here’s the latest update on HB1036. This bill, which the Professional Private Investigators Association of Colorado has opposed from the onset, was met with resistance at the Senate Judiciary hearing in Denver, CO. Several of the Senate Judiciary Committee members had the same concerns PPIAC has regarding the bill. The committee members questioned the proponents of the bill with these concerns. It seems the concerns were not adequately addressed by the proponents, as the committee Chair Morgan Carroll decided to lay over the vote on this bill while the committee gathers more information and even contemplates amendments.

Keep sending those letters! Make sure you voice your concerns to the committee if you have not already done so. It is making a difference! However, let’s not leave anything to chance. Now that there’s more time to work with before the vote, get the word out. Please send attorneys and media contacts a link to the bill so they are aware of the impacts it will have to their businesses and professions! Here is the link to the reengrossed, and most current version of the bill: http://www.leg.state.co.us/clics/clics2012a/csl.nsf/billcontainers/F910975289BD2B1D87257981007F3A47/$FILE/1036_rn2.pdf

For more information on PPIAC please visit http://ppiac.org

 

Colorado Investigator News – March

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

Private investigators all across Colorado and for that matter all across the country continue to anxiously await the implementation of Colorado’s licensing program, which comes closer to becoming reality with each day that passes. Shortly after DORA set the licensing fee at $320, the Professional Private Investigators Association of Colorado met with DORA in Denver to gain an understanding of how the Colorado PI license fee was determined. Thanks to the many who filled out the PI licensing questionnaire (which at last count there are 335 responses) DORA took that information and used it to help set the fee. Setting the licensing fee at $320 is a huge victory for Colorado investigators, as other states have much larger fees and Colorado’s initial fee is one of the more reasonable ones around. DORA indicated if everybody who had previously indicated their interest in a license follows through and obtains their initial license in 2012 when they are available and subsequently renews in 2013, it is possible that the second time renewal fee will be lower. Again, the more people get involved in the program in 2012, subsequent renewals may be lower, but that is very dependent on the early initial applications.. For more information on the implementation of the licensing program, please visit: http://www.dora.state.co.us/private-investigator/index.htm

 

Please save that link and visit it often, as there will be several important licensing updates that DORA will release from now until July. The DORA website also contains a FAQ tab and other information related to the PI licensing program.

 

The DORA rules hearing, where testimony was heard with regard to the proposed rules for the licensing program went fairly quickly without a great deal of discussion. The rules were to be adopted on March 9th and have now been released on DORA’s PI licensing web page.

 

In Denver, Colorado  HB12-1231, concerning DMV records and the licensed PI has passed through both the House and the Senate and was recently signed into law by the Colorado Governor. This is the bill that will bring the Colorado DPPA in line with the Federal DPPA. For those who are not aware of the history, the Federal DPPA recognized the licensed private investigator when requesting records from the Department of Motor Vehicles. This bill will not restrict access to anyone, including a non-licensed PI from obtaining DMV records. What I believe this bill will do, will be to provide the foundation, the building blocks if you will, for licensed private investigators to maintain access to DMV records. Now that Colorado will offer licenses to private investigators, it will be important for the profession to separate itself from being seen as the general public. So while the general public will likely continue to see records access eroded away, licensed and vetted private investigators will be able to hold themselves to a higher level of professionalism and accountability than the general public.

 

So here I’ve waited close to a year to be able to answer the question, “What value is there in a VOLUNTARY license? Isn’t it just a feel-good license?” In less than one year, and before the licensing program goes into effect, the Colorado Legislature has passed a bill which recognizes the licensed private investigator in terms of records requests. The Colorado Legislature needed a licensing law, and hence a definition for a private investigator in statute, before they could begin addressing the needs of the profession. Ultimately, PIs in Colorado have been getting regulated out of records access without licensure. Colorado PIs have already had several tools of our trade taken away, and the PPIAC Board realized there can’t be any exceptions for what is not defined. Many of us do not like regulation, but living with the alternative is to not earn a living.

 

On to HB12-1036, the CORA bill. This bill has moved its way to the Senate, and its first stop in the Senate is in the Judiciary Committee. Updates on this bill will come suddenly and frequently, so keep your eye out for updates.

 

The Professional Private Investigators Association of Colorado’s Annual Conference has been slated for October 18th-20th at the Antlers Hilton in Colorado Springs. I was driving through Colorado Springs the other day and took a drive by the hotel. It looks like it will be a great location to hold the conference. Be on the lookout for further information. In the meantime, here is the link to the hotel website: http://www.antlers.com/

 

 

 

 

Colorado Private Investigator License Signed Into Law

Friday, June 10th, 2011

In the afternoon of Friday, June 10, 2011, the Professional Private Investigators Association of Colorado received an email from Colorado Senator and bill sponsor Linda Newell. June 10th was the last day for Governor John Hickenlooper to make a decision on several bills. HB11-1195 was in the mix with those bills. The Governor could either sign the bill, veto it, or not sign it. If it was not signed, it would still become law. In the final tense hours of the business day, HB1195 was FINALLY signed into law!!!! PPIAC, and all Colorado investigators for that matter who have long desired to obtain a license can breathe a big sigh of relief.

The Professional Private Investigators Association of Colorado has been involved in over 30 years of efforts to restore licensing, only to face defeat after defeat. HB 11-1195 specifically has been at least a 1 1/2 year long effort. Decades of efforts, plannings, meetings, phone calls, sunrise studies, drafting of bills, fund raising, lobbying, contacting legislators, testifying, etc. have all culminated in today’s signing. I want to thank all Colorado PI licensing proponents for their support. Today’s historic achievement could not have happened without the strength in numbers of Colorado investigators, as well as the support of our fellow professional colleagues across the country! Private investigators interested in obtaining their Colorado licenses will now anxiously await for the licensing program to be implemented in 2012.

Colorado PI License Bill Awaits Hickenlooper’s Signature

Friday, May 27th, 2011

Denver, CO

As the final hours of the 2011 Colorado Legislative Session winded down on May 11, 2011, the Colorado House of Representatives voted 59-6 to pass HB11-1195 in consideration of the Senate amendments to the bill. This happened after HB1195 passed through the Senate on a vote of 21-13 on May 9, 2011. For the 2nd year in a row, PPIAC has directly impacted the outcome of a bill in the Colorado Legislature. Last year, HB 10-1012 was successfully defeated with the expertise of Capitol Success Group who identified the swing vote before any other lobbyist group. This year, HB1195 made its way to the Legislature as a somewhat late introduction in February 2011. Throughout the process, HB1195 took the long road by going through 3 House committees and 3 Senate committees, not to mention the House floor and Senate floor votes as well as the House consideration on May 11th. One of the lobbyists joked that HB1195 must have set a record for the number of committees it went through. On May 19, 2011, HB1195 was signed by President of the Senate Brandon Shaffer as well as Speaker of the House Frank McNulty. On that same  day, HB1195 moved to Governor Hickenlooper’s desk for passage into law. Here is a link to the current, and final, version of HB 11-1195 as it will be presented to Governor Hickenlooper.

http://www.leg.state.co.us/clics/clics2011a/csl.nsf/fsbillcont3/36A0D2670890C97F87257817005786ED?open&file=1195_enr.pdf

Being at the cusp of passage, and restoring, of a Colorado private investigator license law has been a process that has been 34+ years in the making. Maybe the Professional Private Investigators Association of Colorado can make history after all. Of course, these achievements required the work of many. I would like to thank all Colorado private investigators and out of state investigators involved, both PPIAC members as well as those who are not members for the continued support and commitment to raise the standard of professionalism of the investigative profession in Colorado.

Colorado Private Investigator Licensing Update

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

Thursday, April 7, 2011 – Colorado Private Investigator Licensing Bill HB1195 passes through the House, moving on to the Senate 

Colorado is one of only a handful of states without licensing of private investigators – an issue hotly debated, even among those in the field, since licensing ended in 1977.  Recently HB1195 – introduced by the State’s leading professional organization, the Professional Private Investigators Association of Colorado (PPIAC, www.ppiac.org) – passed through the House Appropriations Committee and on April 4 passed in a House floor vote, 52-13.  It now moves on to the Senate for the next round of debate.

 Backstory:   HB1195 creates a licensing program of the State’s private investigators on a voluntary basis. Most factions (including the Department of Regulatory Agencies, who would oversee the licensing program) agree that oversight of some sort is necessary.  Advanced Private Investigations has noted that HB1195 is a balanced approach that has bipartisan support because of its voluntary aspect. 44 states have mandatory licensing, but no other state has voluntary licensing. PPIAC has brought forth mandatory licensing attempts before, only to see those attempts fail. A voluntary licensing approach is necessary to get any kind of protection for the public.  The last effort to push a mandatory private investigator licensing bill died in debate a few years ago.  Today, HB1195 represents a middle ground between those who believe that there should be background checks and protection to the public without forcing those who do not care for oversight.  There are investigators working in Colorado who have felony convictions.  Surveillance investigators work in cars, canvassing neighborhood streets.  Some Colorado surveillance investigators even have DUIs.  Currently, there is no easy way for the public to know if an investigator is indeed conviction-free and qualified. This is what HB1195 is about. 

HB1195 is pro-business. It will unite and strengthen Colorado’s career private investigators – those who wish to distinguish themselves from those who may have been drawn to Colorado because it is the most populous state without licensing. If HB1195 passes, no one will have to close their doors or change the way they do business. But it will allow a level of protection to the public via a searchable State-regulated database of professional investigators who have no felony convictions and have met a minimum number of hours in the field. This bill presents a middle ground between protection to the public and a pro-business bill that helps begin to ensure the health of the profession for decades to come. 

In the House, HB1195 was sponsored by Bob Gardner (R) and Su Ryden (D). In the Senate it is sponsored by Linda Newell (D). 

See the Bill in its entirety at:

http://www.leg.state.co.us/CLICS/CLICS2011A/csl.nsf/fsbillcont3/36A0D2670890C97F87257817005786ED?Open&file=1195_01.pdf

How DORAs Recommendation Affects Colorado Private Investigators

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

Since 1977, Colorado private investigators have been without PI licensing. The Professional Private Investigators Association of Colorado, founded in 1978, was formed to improve the credibility of private investigators, and to provide guidelines for a licensing statute in the State of Colorado. In looking at PPIAC’s history, the statement, “Our continuing efforts to strive for licensure remain undaunted” still holds true today.

Early this year, PPIAC brought forth HB11-1195, a voluntary private investigator license bill in anticipation of a favorable recommendation from DORA, the Department of Regulatory Agencies located in Denver, Colorado. On February 17, 2011, DORA issued the 2011 Sunrise Review for Private Investigators. In the 21 page report, DORA discusses several levels of regulation: Licensure, Certification, Registration, and Title Protection. Each level of regulation offers different levels of restriction and public protection.

According to DORA’s report, since 1984 there have been four sunrise reviews (1985, 1987, 2000, and 2006) related to private investigators. Each of the four sunrise reviews recommended against regulation due to the lack of harm to consumers. According to DORA’s most recent (2011) report, there now is “a potential that consumers may be harmed financially by PIs if they fail to complete agreed upon services. As such, PIs should be regulated by the State of Colorado and be required to possess either a surety bond or errors and omissions insurance.”

So what is the significance of DORA’s 2011 recommendation? First, DORA has issued a recommendation that is opposite and contrary to its four prior sunrise review recommendations. Moreover, DORA has recommended that Colorado private investigators be regulated. According to DORA’s report, licensure, certification, registration, and title protection fall under their definition of regulation.

For PPIAC’s licensing effort, the worst case scenario would have been for DORA to issue a recommendation consistent with the four prior sunrise reviews. With DORA’s 2011 Sunrise Review, Colorado has a non-investigator entity and a State entity for that matter issue a recommendation that private investigators be regulated as a result of public harm. DORA’s recommendation thus helps pave the way for Colorado private investigators to raise the standard of professionalism as well as to provide a united, vetted voice through a licensing program.

Please visit www.ppiac.org for more information on the Professional Private Investigators Association of Colorado.

The Crossroads for Colorado Private Investigators

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

In life, the greatest challenges often yield the greatest rewards. In the coming months and years, the Professional Private Investigators Association of Colorado will be presented with many challenges. How the association tackles these challenges will no doubt shape its future for years to come.

One of the challenges for PPIAC will be addressing the continued training of its members. Recent events not just in Denver but all throughout Colorado involving private investigators have garnered national and in some cases international media attention. PPIAC has the responsibility of ensuring that its members receive the necessary continuing education and training to provide professional results to our clients. Emerging technology has brought with it emerging legislation. Recently-introduced information sources and websites have brought legislation restricting what information can be used and how it can be used.

Another one of the challenges facing PPIAC will be attracting the brightest, most skilled, qualified, professional private investigators in Colorado. For PPIAC to continue to survive and thrive, it must provide incentives for professional-minded private investigators to want to join a network of existing investigative professionals. PPIAC must foster professionalism with its own members, which will in turn provide an attractive atmosphere for future members. PPIAC will be faced with the challenges of bringing in private investigators which will promote the continued growth of the association.

PPIAC must also identify ways to ensure the public is protected. PPIAC must educate the public to include our clients about the lack of licensing regulations for private investigators in Colorado. PPIAC must encourage and provide the public with the tools to do their own due diligence prior to choosing a PI. PPIAC members who receive complaints from the public about improper conduct and actions of other investigators should direct the public to the proper agencies who can address these actions. DORA ( the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies) and the Denver / Boulder Better Business Bureau are two avenues where the public can be directed to log complaints. Directing the public to PPIAC and its background checked members will encourage public awareness of the association.

PPIAC also has the responsibility of changing the mindset of how private investigators are viewed. The public’s perception, to this day, tends to be what is presented by the movies and television shows. The only way for the public to start viewing investigators as professional is for investigators themselves to view and hold themselves as professionals. PPIAC members must take the initiative to break the stereotype of the shady, lurking in the shadows and bushes, booze bottle in the bottom drawer of the desk to the business minded, law abiding, trained, aware-of-current-regulation professionals the public deserves to have.

PPIAC has the responsibility of monitoring, addressing, and even introducing legislation which affects private investigations in Colorado. By taking a proactive, rather than a reactive approach, PPIAC can more effectively direct the outcome of legislation.

So the Professional Private Investigators Association of Colorado is at a crossroads. What type of association does it hope to be? What type of association does it want to continue to be? What will be the outcome of those decisions? Will members be content with the outcome of those decisions? PPIAC has and will continue to depend on the involvement of its members to affect the type of association, and the type of profession for that matter, that its members want. Colorado private investigators should consider helping shape the future of investigations in Colorado through membership in the Professional Private Investigators Association of Colorado. Please visit www.ppiac.org for more information.

Colorado Private Investigators Need Background Checks Too!

Friday, March 4th, 2011

The first thing to look for in a private investigator and/or investigative agency is their background and qualifications. Of course if the average person could conduct a thorough background, there would be no need for hiring private investigators to conduct background checks. A character investigation on the individual as well as verification of the investigator’s qualifications and experience should also be considered. With no PI licensing requirements in Colorado, there is only one known investigative organization in Colorado which conducts background checks/character investigations on its members: the Professional Private Investigators Association of Colorado or PPIAC for short. This organization verifies the hours of experience of its members and appoints membership levels based on the hours of experience. Many investigators and private detectives in Colorado obtain a PI license in other states as a way to display credibility and credentials above their peers in the state. A private investigator who wishes to obtain a license in another state must pass a background check as well as display a minimun

                As with other professions, the Better Business Bureau should be checked to determine if there are any consumer complaints filed against an investigative agency.

                Make sure to ask the investigator how many years of experience he or she has, particularly in the specific type of case that he or she will be working. A good question to ask is how many cases in a specific field that investigator has worked in the past year. Another question to ask is whether there are any other investigators other than the one being interviewed that will be working on the case. A surveillance investigator will probably not be the best bet in conducting a computer forensics investigation, and vice versa. College education, though not necessary, can give an indication as to the investigator’s research abilities, report writing abilities and overall intelligence.