Missouri Bill Seeks Licensing, Regulation of Private Investigators

The Missouri News is reporting the latest news on a bill introduced by Sen. Harry Kennedy, (D) of St. Louis. Missouri is only one of 6 remaining states that does not regulate private investigators. This bill would also include continuing educational requirements for all licensees.

The proposed bill includes a grandfather clause that would allow current private investigators to become certified if they have been in good standing as a business for two years. They would also have to provide proof of liability and workers’ compensation insurance.

The Senate Financial Committee on Monday heard Kennedy’s bill, which would also create a statewide board to license and regulate private investigators throughout the state.

Even though a representative of the Missouri Association of Private Investigators testified in favor of the bill, there was at least one PI who testified against it.

Do you feel private investigators should be licensed? What are the pros and cons of licensing as you see it? This is a very important topic as many of the remaining unlicensed states are fighting for licensing.

What do you think?


9 thoughts on “Missouri Bill Seeks Licensing, Regulation of Private Investigators

  1. I am studying to be a Private Investigator and have a deploma in Private Investigation and have been a member of three nationally known associations and sociaties dealing with security and private investigation. I am a certified process server. I would not consider myself ready to do private investigator work until I am trained by a licensed investigator, even though I have taken the courses and read books on it. One phrase should scare anyone that is not sufficiently trained or licensed to be a private investigator and is doing it anyway. that phrase would be “CIVIL LIABILITY” as well as practicing without a license. Mess up, and you may never be a PI and perhaps instead become a jail bird. I am all for more stringent rules and regulations for PI’s. You really have to be held accountable for your actiions. And, know the law. That is what it is all about. The idea is to catch the criminal, not become one yourself.

  2. I believe that Texas and California have the most stringent private security regulation in the nation. Texas has a specifically assigned bureau that oversees and enforces the Texas Private Security Act. In addition, there is also a section of Troopers that investigate all complaints and unlicensed activity. These Troopers regularly apprehend unlicensed operators through criminal enforcement efforts. The program is outstanding in that the highest level of consumer protection is being provided to all citizens in Texas. See thier website at

  3. State Licensing is not proposed by states so much as they are concerned about Private Investigators being unlicensed. The primary reason is state revenue. In the end, its always about money and MO state is no different than anyone else. They see this as a way to generate more revenue for the state.

    Just be honest and call it what it is and not hide it behind some caring issue or concern for the quality of PI’s. Its about state revenue being generated

  4. PI firms and individual investigators should be licensed, I can’t believe they are not already. Recently my family was harrassed by a firm that represented themselves as private investigators and even had a web site advertising such, but were unlicensed in the city as required by their municipality. To top that off after some research I found the owner of the company was a convicted federal felon!

  5. The information listed above regarding the number of Maine licensed investigators is incorrect. We have approximately 250 licensed investigators (not 800) and 20 investigative assistants. Investigative assistants need to complete a minimum of 1700 training hours as an employee of a sponsored fully licensed Maine private investigator to obtain full license status. Maine has no reciprocity agreements with other states and so to conduct investigations in the State of Maine, you will need a Maine private investigator license. The State of Maine public safety, Augusta, Maine provides licensing.

    Douglas Calderbank

  6. Paul, you are absolutely correct. I am a PI in Idaho, one of the few states without licensing, and having come from California law enforcement I am shocked and dismayed by several of those whom I now must call “peers.” As much as I hate fees and mandated training hours, I would appreciate some legitimacy to the industry here–not to mention a background checks for some of these guys.

  7. I was originally licensed in California. When I took the state mandated test there were no study guides or reference books to use. The main requirement was 6000 hours of “experience”. When I finally did take the test, it was riddled with questions pertaining mainly to security guards and the occasianal privacy question.

    California private investigators are regulated by the Department of Consumer Affairs. The same department that regulates Dental Hygenists. Yet I know first hand that dental hygenists are required to meet continuing education requirements to keep their license. There are classes and seminars offered to hygenists to keep them up to date with current laws and regulations. I think this should be applied to all investigators as well. I feel that if our profession was more closely regulated it would give us a legitimacy boost in the eyes of lawmakers. We lost access to complete DMV information, forwarding addresses, and some information services because of abuse.

    In the future I am sure we can expect further regulations that do not help us but rather are a result of the actions of a few. If we were regulated from the start, the Department of Consumer affairs would have already disiplined or taken action against those who did not keep their licenses current with continuing education and training. This may have prevented some of us from crossing the line. Before that can happen though we need to know where the line is!

  8. I feel strongly that this industry needs regulation and licensing is surly one way to control it. There are strict guidelines and qualifications in New York. I feel they are justified.
    When I hear debate over licensing, I always revert back to some of the calls I receive from people inquiring on how to become a PI. After talking to some of them for a bit, I hang up and cringe at the thought of some of these people who in noway meet the qualifications, being investigators. Zero experience, zero knowledge of the laws and rules..and you think we PI’s get a bad rep now?

  9. The Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies issued an informative study recommending against licensing of private investigators in Colorado. Their chart of the regulation activities of private investigators in other states reveal some curious facts. Maine has over 800 private investigators. Maine? California, which has almost 10,000 licensed investigators registered only 35 complaints in 2006. Florida has a few thousand fewer PIs than California but had over 100 complaints. Hawaii has only 150 investigators. Hawaii and Maine have about the same population. No offense to Maine, but I think I’d rather be a PI in Hawaii.

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