Colorado Private Investigator Licensing Update
Colorado had been one of only a few states without a mandatory licensing program for private investigators for many years. This meant that anybody and everybody who wanted to hang up a shingle and say they were a private investigator, could do this. Often times this would allow them access to sensitive personal information, including but no limited to a clients credit card information.
This changed on June 1, 2015, when the mandatory private investigator licensing law, was implemented. This was after a time period of over three decades where Colorado had no such law. The last mandatory private investigator licensing law in Colorado was in 1977, when an investigator challenged the law by declaring there was no definition of private investigator in the law, and therefore it was struck down.
During that licensing “drought” many private investigators have come and gone, some who held themselves out to be private investigators have seen the inside of the gray bar hotel, but with no regulation, there was no accurate count on how many private investigators there were in the state of Colorado.
Before this current law was passed, some speculated approximately 100, some speculated 250, and some speculated as high as 700. The number is very significant in Colorado due to the fact that Colorado has a TABOR law, which meant no money from the general fund can be used for this program. Therefore every dollar to operate the program has to come from licensing fees and this program itself. The end result of this type of system is that there is a set budget for the program itself, and that budget is paid through licensing fees, therefore the more licenses that are issued, the lower the cost of each individual license.
DORA, the agency that oversees this program anticipated 400 licenses would be issued, which at the time was only a best guess.
As we sit here in January of 2016, just over half a year into the program, there have been over 500 Colorado private investigator licenses issued.
The bottom line to the consumer is that this gives the person a place to verify that a private investigator has been properly vetted, licensed and with that license they are required to carry a bond. It also gives the consumer a place to file a complaint, when necessary, against a private investigator.
The end result of this program is that it is protection for the general consumer and the program appears to be bigger than most people anticipated.