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/