Colorado’s Private Investigator License is quite simple in its requirements: a person must be 21 years of age, must be able to pass a fingerprint background (both State and Federal,) must pass an open-book Jurisprudence Exam, and must hold a bond. Continuing education is not listed in the statute.
As a professional, it is highly encouraged.
Put simply, investigators are fact-finders. Investigators aren’t like they are portrayed in the media; they don’t skulk in bushes or break the law in order to get a dossier. They do not draw their guns and threaten people, and they don’t get into drunken brawls and then show up at court hours later to quip some smart-aleck remark that annoys the judge and attorneys, but impresses the jury.
Private investigators are fact-finders.
It doesn’t sound very impressive when it’s compared to the latest television series, does it? PIs often work with attorneys, which necessitates both legal and ethical considerations. Although it is not edgy and glamorous like the law-bending hard-boiled fictional PI, private investigators have the important distinction of interviewing witnesses, obtaining records, finding and retrieving physical and/or digital documentation, as well as testifying in court, conducting surveillance, investigating backgrounds, locates, and verifying data. These are but a few of the responsibilities of a well-rounded private investigator…and they all require training and education in both procedure and laws pertaining to the undertaking.
Even senior investigators should continue with annual training; trends in technology, applications, processes (as well as laws governing legal procedures) are constantly updating. To discontinue training would be to ignore the possibility of updating to a better way of conducting investigations; surveillance investigators would be missing out on better equipment and techniques to improve chances on their case. Open source internet investigators need to be constantly updating their skillset- accesses, sites, and permissions change so quickly that there must be redundant methods in place to obtain documentation for the case. Background investigators must be aware of the changes in Federal and State laws that govern their specialty; interview investigators must be aware of legal changes and vernacular, to ensure a more complete understanding of the interview subject.
Professional education is expected to have a cost attached; the returns of such an education can be counted on through many avenues: the client receives a product that is up-to-date with the latest techniques (and aligned with the legal guides), the investigator may receive more subcontract work from other investigators that are assured of the most recent and compatible ways of conducting business, and the investigator also has a building block in the form of the latest education from which to continue their training.
-Tan Smyth - PPIAC VP of Training