Colorado Private Investigator Licensing Update

May 3, 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, – 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: