+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4 LastLast
Results 1 to 40 of 137

Thread: PI LICENSING: Texas

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 1989
    Location
    National Office
    Posts
    2,332

    PI LICENSING: Texas

    THERE MAY BE 2 OR MORE PAGES
    to this Topic!

    Make sure you click on the Page Number at
    the bottom and top of this Topic.




    NO LICENSE IS REQUIRED
    IF you fall into the following:



    Sections 1702.321 through 1702.330 as Revised.

    1. NO LICENSE NEEDED FOR: an individual employed by one employer in connection with the affairs of the employer.

    2. NO LICENSE NEEDED FOR: a person who obtains information from public records.

    3. NO LICENSE NEEDED FOR: a person who is engaged in the business for preemployment purposes, honesty, and interviewing services.

    4. NO LICENSE NEEDED FOR: a private business who has their own security or investigative department.

    5. NO LICENSE NEEDED FOR: a person engaged exclusively in the business of obtaining and providing information to determine creditworthiness;

    6. NO LICENSE NEEDED FOR: a person engaged exclusively in the business of obtaining and providing information to collect debts.

    7. NO LICENSE NEEDED FOR: an IRS recognized charitable, nonprofit organization that provides services related to locating missing children.

    8. NO LICENSE NEEDED FOR:a person engaged in electronic monitoring of an individual as a condition of that individual's community supervision, parole, mandatory supervision, or release on bail.

    9. NO LICENSE NEEDED FOR: a person engaged exclusively in the business of verifying information provided by an applicant for property, life, or disability insurance or an indemnity or surety bond;

    10. NO LICENSE NEEDED FOR: a person engaged exclusively in the business of repossessing property that is secured by a mortgage or other security interest;

    11. NO LICENSE NEEDED FOR:a person whose activities are regulated under the Insurance Code.

    12. NO LICENSE NEEDED FOR: a licensed professional engineer practicing forensic analysis or necessary data collection;

    13. NO LICENSE NEEDED FOR: a licensed insurance company, including their employees while performing duties in connection with the insurance policy.

    14. NO LICENSE NEEDED FOR: an attorney while engaged in the practice of law;

    15. NO LICENSE NEEDED FOR: a person who obtains a document for use in litigation under an authorization issued for a written or oral deposition;

    16. NO LICENSE NEEDED FOR: an employee or agent of a common carrier who protects or investgates the carrier or a user of the carrier's long-distance services from a fraudulent, unlawful, or abusive use of those long-distance services.

    17. NO LICENSE NEEDED FOR: a person who sells exclusively burglar alarm signal devices, burglary alarms, television cameras, still cameras, or other electrical, mechanical, or electronic devices used for preventing or detecting burglary, theft, or other losses.

    18. NO LICENSE NEEDED FOR: an employee of the United States, this state, or a political subdivision of this state while the employee is performing official duties.

    19. NO LICENSE NEEDED FOR: a person who has full-time employment as a peace officer and who receives compensation for private employment on an individual or an independent contractor basis as a patrolman, guard, extra job coordinator, or watchman if the officer: (A) is employed in an employee-employer relationship or employed on an individual contractual basis; (B) is not in the employ of another peace officer; (C) is not a reserve peace officer; and (D) works as a peace officer on the average of at least 32 hours a week, is compensated by the state or a political subdivision of the state at least at the minimum wage, and is entitled to all employee benefits offered to a peace officer by the state or political subdivision;

    20. NO LICENSE NEEDED FOR: a reserve peace officer while the reserve officer is performing guard, patrolman, or watchman duties for a county and is being compensated solely by that county;

    21. NO LICENSE NEEDED FOR: a peace officer acting in an official capacity in responding to a burglar alarm or detection device; or

    22. NO LICENSE NEEDED FOR: a person engaged exclusively in the business of a locksmith who (A) does not install or service detection devices; (B) does not conduct investigations; and (C) is not a security services contractor;

    23. NO LICENSE NEEDED FOR: a common carrier by rail engaged in interstate commerce, regulated by state and federal authorities, and transporting commodities essential to the national defense and to the general welfare and safety of the community; or

    24. NO LICENSE NEEDED FOR: an entity that: provides medical alert services for persons who are sick or disabled;

    25. NO LICENSE NEEDED FOR: an entity that: does not provide any other service that requires a license under this chapter; and

    26. NO LICENSE NEEDED FOR: a hospital or a wholly owned subsidiary or an affiliate of a hospital licensed under Chapter 241, Health and Safety Code; or

    27. NO LICENSE NEEDED FOR: a charitable or a nonprofit entity that provides the services in the manner required by Subsection (b) and that is exempt from the payment of federal income taxes under Section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and its subsequent amendments by being listed as an exempt entity under Section 501(c)(3) of that code.

    28. NO LICENSE NEEDED FOR: A charitable or nonprofit entity that provides medical alert services must provide those services through a licensed person, licensed nurse, licensed physician assistant or by a hospital, subsidiary, or affiliate described by Subsection (a)(3)(A).

    29. NO LICENSE NEEDED FOR: a person who sells or installs automobile burglar alarm devices.

    30. NO LICENSE NEEDED FOR:a person who holds a license or other credential issued by a municipality to practice as an electrician and who installs fire or smoke detectors only in single-family or multifamily residences.

    31. NO LICENSE NEEDED FOR: a person who is employed full-time by and is commissioned as a campus security personnel employee by a private institution of higher education; or

    32. NO LICENSE NEEDED FOR: a peace officer commissioned by an incorporated municipality who is hired on a regular basis by a private institution of higher education while that peace officer is operating within the scope of the peace officer's employment with the institution of higher education.

    33. NO LICENSE NEEDED FOR: a nonprofit business or civic organization that: (A) employs a peace officer who meets the qualifications of Section 1702.322(1) as a patrolman, guard, or watchman; (B) provides the services of the peace officer only to: (i) the organization's members; or (ii) if the organization does not have members, the members of the communities served by the organization as described in the organization's articles of incorporation or other organizational documents; (C) devotes the net receipts from all charges for the services exclusively to the cost of providing the services or to the costs of other services for the enhancement of the security or safety of: (i) the organization's members; or (ii) if the organization does not have members, the members of the communities served by the organization as described in the organization's articles of incorporation or other organizational documents; and (D) does not perform any other service that requires a license under this chapter;

    34. NO LICENSE NEEDED FOR: a person who owns and installs a burglar detection or alarm device on the person's own property or, if the person does not charge for the device or the installation, installs the device for the protection of the person's personal property located on another person's property and does not, as a normal business practice, install the devices on the property of another;

    35. NO LICENSE NEEDED FOR: a person in the business of building construction that installs electrical wiring and devices that may include in part the installation of a burglar alarm or detection device if: (A) the person is a party to a contract that provides that: (i) the installation will be performed under the direct supervision of, and inspected and certified by, a person licensed to install and certify the alarm or detection device; and (ii) the license holder assumes full responsibility for the installation of the alarm or detection device; and (B) the person does not service or maintain burglar alarms or detection devices;

    36. NO LICENSE NEEDED FOR: an employee of a cattle association who inspects livestock brands under the authority granted to the cattle association by the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration of the United States Department of Agriculture;

    37. NO LICENSE NEEDED FOR: a landman performing activities in the course and scope of the landman's business.


    SOURCE:
    [QUOTE]SUBCHAPTER N. EXCEPTIONS
    Sec. 1702.321. GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES.

    (a) Except as provided by this section, this chapter does not apply to an officer or employee of the United States, this state, or a political subdivision of this state while the employee or officer is performing official duties.

    (b) The provisions of this chapter relating to security officer commissions apply to a person employed by a political subdivision whose duties include serving as a security guard, security watchman, or security patrolman on property owned or operated by the political subdivision if the governing body of the political subdivision files a written request with the commission for the commission to issue a commission to the political subdivision's employees with those duties.

    (c) The commission may not charge a fee for issuing a commission to an officer under Subsection (b). The commission shall issue to the officer a pocket card designating the political subdivision that employs the officer.

    (d) The commission expires at the time the officer's employment as a security officer by the political subdivision is terminated.

    (e) The commission may approve a security officer training program conducted by the political subdivision in accordance with Sections 1702.1675 and 1702.168.

    Sec. 1702.322. LAW ENFORCEMENT PERSONNEL.
    This chapter does not apply to:
    OCCUPATIONS CODE - CHAPTER 1702
    Revised 09/01/2001 29

    (1) a person who has full-time employment as a peace officer and who receives compensation for private employment on an individual or an independent contractor basis as a patrolman, guard, extra job coordinator, or watchman if the officer:

    (A) is employed in an employee-employer relationship or employed on an individual contractual basis;

    (B) is not in the employ of another peace officer;

    (C) is not a reserve peace officer; and

    (D) works as a peace officer on the average of at least 32 hours a week, is compensated by the state or a political subdivision of the state at least at the minimum wage, and is entitled to all employee benefits offered to a peace officer by the state or political subdivision;

    (2) a reserve peace officer while the reserve officer is performing guard, patrolman, or watchman duties for a county and is being compensated solely by that county;

    (3) a peace officer acting in an official capacity in responding to a burglar alarm or detection device; or

    (4) a person engaged in the business of electronic monitoring of an individual as a condition of that individual's community supervision, parole, mandatory supervision, or release on bail, if the person does not perform any other service that requires a license under this chapter.

    Sec. 1702.323. SECURITY DEPARTMENT OF PRIVATE BUSINESS.

    (a) Except as provided by Subsections (b) and (d), this chapter does not apply to an individual employed in an employee-employer relationship exclusively and regularly by one employer in connection with the affairs of the employer.

    (b) An individual described by Subsection (a) who carries a firearm in the course of employment must obtain a private security officer commission under this chapter.

    (c) Although the security department of a private business that hires or employs an individual as a private security officer to possess a firearm in the course and scope of the individual's duties is required to apply for a security officer commission for the individual under this chapter, the security department of a private business is not required to apply to the commission for any license under this chapter.

    (d) This chapter applies to an individual described by Subsection (a) who:

    (1) works at a location that is open to the public; and

    (2) in the course of employment:

    (A) regularly comes into contact with the public; and

    (B) wears a uniform with any type of badge commonly associated with security personnel or law enforcement or a patch or apparel with "security" or the name of the employer on the patch or apparel.

    Sec. 1702.324. CERTAIN OCCUPATIONS.

    (a) For the purposes of this section, "landman" means an individual who, in the course and scope of the individual's business:

    (1) acquires or manages petroleum or mineral interests; or

    (2) performs title or contract functions related to the exploration, exploitation, or disposition of petroleum or mineral interests.

    (b) This chapter does not apply to:

    (1) a manufacturer or a manufacturer's authorized distributor who sells equipment to a license holder that is used in the operations for which the person is required to be licensed;

    (2) a person engaged exclusively in the business of obtaining and providing information to:

    (A) determine creditworthiness;

    (B) collect debts; or

    (C) ascertain the reliability of information provided by an applicant for property, life, or disability insurance or an indemnity or surety bond;

    (3) a person engaged exclusively in the business of repossessing property that is secured by a mortgage or other security interest;

    (4) a locksmith who:

    (A) does not install or service detection devices;

    (B) does not conduct investigations; and

    (C) is not a security services contractor;

    (5) a person who:

    OCCUPATIONS CODE - CHAPTER 1702
    Revised 09/01/2001 30

    (A) is engaged in the business of psychological testing or other testing and interviewing services, including services to determine attitudes, honesty, intelligence, personality, and skills, for preemployment purposes; and

    (B) does not perform any other service that requires a license under this chapter;

    (6) a person who:

    (A) is engaged in obtaining information that is a public record under Chapter 552, Government Code, regardless of whether the person receives compensation;

    (B) is not a full-time employee, as defined by Section 61.001, Labor Code, of a person licensed under this chapter; and

    (C) does not perform any other act that requires a license under this chapter;

    (7) a licensed professional engineer practicing engineering or directly supervising engineering practice under The Texas Engineering Practice Act (Article 3271a, Vernon's Texas Civil Statutes), including forensic analysis, burglar alarm system engineering, and necessary data collection;

    (8) an employee of a cattle association who inspects livestock brands under the authority granted to the cattle association by the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration of the United States Department of Agriculture;

    (9) a landman performing activities in the course and scope of the landman's business;

    (10) an attorney while engaged in the practice of law;

    (11) a person who obtains a document for use in litigation under an authorization or subpoena issued for a written or oral deposition;

    (12) an admitted insurer, insurance adjuster, agent, or insurance broker licensed by the state, performing duties in connection with insurance transacted by that person.

    Sec. 1702.325. COMMON CARRIERS.
    This chapter does not apply to:

    (1) a common carrier by rail engaged in interstate commerce, regulated by state and federal authorities, and transporting commodities essential to the national defense and to the general welfare and safety of the community; or

    (2) an officer, employee, or agent of a common carrier, as defined by Section 153 of the federal Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. Section 153), and its subsequent amendments, while protecting the carrier or a user of the carrier's long-distance services from a fraudulent, unlawful, or abusive use of those long-distance services.

    Sec. 1702.326. MEDICAL ALERT SERVICES.

    (a) This chapter does not apply to an entity that:

    (1) provides medical alert services for persons who are sick or disabled;

    (2) does not provide any other service that requires a license under this chapter; and

    (3) is:

    (A) a hospital or a wholly owned subsidiary or an affiliate of a hospital licensed under Chapter 241, Health and Safety Code; or

    (B) a charitable or a nonprofit entity that provides the services in the manner required by Subsection (b) and that is exempt from the payment of federal income taxes under Section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and its subsequent amendments by being listed as an exempt entity under Section 501(c)(3) of that code.

    (C) A charitable or nonprofit entity that provides medical alert services must provide those services through a licensed person, licensed nurse, licensed physician assistant or by a hospital, subsidiary, or affiliate described by Subsection (a)(3)(A).

    Sec. 1702.327. NONPROFIT AND CIVIC ORGANIZATIONS.
    This chapter does not apply to:

    (1) a nonprofit business or civic organization that:

    (A) employs a peace officer who meets the qualifications of Section 1702.322(1) as a patrolman, guard, or watchman;

    (B) provides the services of the peace officer only to:

    (i) the organization's members; or

    (ii) if the organization does not have members, the members of the communities served by the organization as described in the organization's articles of incorporation or other organizational documents;

    OCCUPATIONS CODE - CHAPTER 1702
    Revised 09/01/2001 31

    (C) devotes the net receipts from all charges for the services exclusively to the cost of providing the services or to the costs of other services for the enhancement of the security or safety of:

    (i) the organization's members; or

    (ii) if the organization does not have members, the members of the communities served by the organization as described in the organization's articles of incorporation or other organizational documents; and

    (D) does not perform any other service that requires a license under this chapter; or

    (2) a charitable, nonprofit organization that maintains a system of records to aid in the location of missing children and that:

    (A) is exempt from the payment of federal income taxes under Section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and its subsequent amendments by being listed as an exempt entity under Section 501(c)(3) of that code;

    (B) exclusively provides services related to locating missing children; and

    (C) does not perform any other service that requires a license under this chapter.

    Sec. 1702.328. SECURITY SYSTEMS SALES AND INSTALLATION.
    This chapter does not apply to:

    (1) a person who owns and installs a burglar detection or alarm device on the person's own property or, if the person does not charge for the device or the installation, installs the device for the protection of the person's personal property located on another person's property and does not, as a normal business practice, install the devices on the property of another;

    (2) a person in the business of building construction that installs electrical wiring and devices that may include in part the installation of a burglar alarm or detection device if:

    (A) the person is a party to a contract that provides that:

    (i) the installation will be performed under the direct supervision of, and inspected and certified by, a person licensed to install and certify the alarm or detection device; and

    (ii) the license holder assumes full responsibility for the installation of the alarm or detection device; and

    (B) the person does not service or maintain burglar alarms or detection devices;

    (3) a person who sells or installs automobile burglar alarm devices and who does not perform any other act that requires a license under this chapter; or

    (4) a person who sells exclusively over the counter or by mail order burglar alarm signal devices, burglary alarms, television cameras, still cameras, or other electrical, mechanical, or electronic devices used for preventing or detecting burglary, theft, or other losses.

    Sec. 1702.329. FIRE ALARM AND DETECTION SALES AND INSTALLATION.
    This chapter does not apply to:

    (1) a person whose activities are regulated under Article 5.43-2, Insurance Code, except to the extent those activities are specifically regulated under this chapter; or

    (2) a person who holds a license or other credential issued by a municipality to practice as an electrician and who installs fire or smoke detectors only in single-family or multifamily residences.

    Sec. 1702.330. SECURITY PERSONNEL OF PRIVATE INSTITUTION OF HIGHER EDUCATION.
    This chapter does not apply to:

    (1) a person who is employed full-time by and is commissioned as a campus security personnel employee by a private institution of higher education under Section 51.212, Education Code; or

    (2) a peace officer commissioned by an incorporated municipality who is hired under Section 51.212, Education Code, on a regular basis by a private institution of higher education while that peace officer is operating within the scope of the peace officer's employment with the institution of higher education.


    TO APPLY FOR A LICENSE
    Review the following web links:


    Requirements for a Texas Agency

    Requirements & Application Forms

    To Verify a Texas PI License - Click Here

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 1989
    Location
    National Office
    Posts
    2,332
    Originally posted by Kenny Butler
    To be in the legal limits of Texas state laws I have to be employed by someone that is licenened by the state.
    Yes and No. It depends on who you are working for as a Private Investigator. Not all companies are required to be licensed in Texas that employ private investigators.

    There are 37 EXEMPTIONS in the Texas Statutes (see above).

    Originally posted by Kenny Butler
    If I accept an assignment from a client provided to me by IPIU, who am I working for? The Client, or IPIU.
    Neither.

    IPIU does not place you with a client. They place you with a company. Clients are customers of companies. Do not confuse the two.

    Originally posted by Kenny Butler
    If by IPIU, is IPIU recognized by my state to legally employee me for services in the state of Texas.
    IPIU is not your employer. IPIU is your union association.

    Originally posted by Kenny Butler
    ... is there a way that IPIU can help me in job placement for a texas based investigation company or firm.
    Of course. Email usa@ipiu.org .

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 1989
    Location
    National Office
    Posts
    2,332

    Re: Working as PI in Texas

    Originally posted by Jon Jezek
    I found the following at a regional Texas investigator's "association" website:
    We fully support any association, provided they are straight forward with the "complete facts" and allowances under state law. The Texas "association" has only their opinion based on the facts they "choose" to offer. They have no regulatory powers (and neither does IPIU or any other association). Their quote may be out-of-context, and if so may show them to have an agenda and a mission that may be contrary to IPIU's Mission Statement, and may be contrary to the State of Texas elected "lawmakers" who authored the statutes (and not the State Board of Licensing), and the exemptions permitted by licensed private investigators and unregulated PI's. Please see our Mission Statement

    "In Texas, private investigations companies cannot hire investigators as “contract labor”.

    What is an "investigator" versus a "private investigator"? Again, they do not use the statutes language to support their statement. There are over 30 "investigator" exemptions in the statutes (see above). If they are referring to an investigator who is being employed to perform a task reserved for licensed private investigators only, then they are correct in that opinion. If they are referring to using an investigator to perform a task in any of the 30+ exemptions, then they are incorrect.

    In all fairness, when you read any opinions posted at their association website, they are probably referring to all licensed acitivities by licensed private investigators. Most state association applications appear to prefer to have members who are licensed private investigators and not unregulated private investigators.

    " Each investigator must be a regular employee as defined by the IRS. This means that relevant taxes must be withheld from paychecks and other state and federal employment guidelines must be followed.

    If a licensed private investigator hires anyone to perform their assignments (even as a trainee), they can certainly place that investigator under their payroll system. That is primarily a tax question and whether or not the employer controls all of the methods of the task that the investigator uses in performing the assignment.

    "However, a licensed company can subcontract work to another licensed company." Is the last sentence the key?

    In some cases, yes.

    "From what I've seen most of the assignments are in fact "contract labor".

    Yes and no. Again, this is left up to the employer as they know their rights and tax situation more than any applicant.

    "How can we legally work in Texas when not already employed by a investigation company?

    Either work for a licensed private investigative agency, or any other licensed firm (including attorneys, insurance fraud departments, etc) or work for any company that operates within the 37 exemptions permitted by the lawmakers.

    ".... regarding licensing in Texas there is a requirement for 3 years "verifiable work experience performed on a full-time basis" before one can apply for licensure (as a private investigator). It's the "chicken or the egg" question, no exeperience, no employer, no license. No license, no experience, no employer. It would seem these are two huge "Catch-22's" or would that then become a "Catch-44". Please advise.

    Yes, it may appear that both the statutes and the licensing board and the state association promote 3 years of experience before you can obtain a license. But the full reading of all of the statutes and the applications proves otherwise.

    IPIU members have access to the member's forum titled Obtaining Your Private Investigator License or Agency License Forum where you do not need 3 years experience to acquire a license as a private investigator or to own a licensed agency.

    Are you confused yet?

    Don't be. The reading and understanding of ALL of the statutes sets a hope free to explore the possibilities.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 1989
    Location
    National Office
    Posts
    2,332
    Originally posted by Sharon K Hurley
    I heard from a P.I. in Dallas, that Dallas requires you to have a license even to do Mystery Shopping assignments.

    Anyone know about this?
    The Texas State Attorney General has made no formal declaration. The statutes by the Texas Lawmakers (not the Texas Licensing Board) is what prevails over all opinion, regardless of the source.

    The Texas Attorney General is the ONLY officer of the state to chose whether or not to offer a "position paper", as it is their office that will approve or disapprove any charges to be brought against any mystery shopper.

    To date: The Attorney General has NOT stated any position on mystery shopping.

    To date: The Texas Licensing Board has not furnished any evidence of bringing a citation against ANY mystery shopper or company.

    To date: There is NOTHING in the statutes that provides the licensing board to name specifically "mystery shopping" as an area of business that they have regulatory powers over.

    To date: The ONLY opinion offered is a "position paper" authored by the licensing agency and NOT the attorney general.

    To date: One of the largest national mystery shopping firms in the United States (SSA), whose corporate offices have been in Texas for over a decade, has never been served with any official papers indicating they need a private investigators license. The absence of such notice to any mystery shopping company in Texas appears to reflect that the licensing board's position paper lacks sufficient merit, which in itself appears to be a contradiction.

    It is our view that if the licensing board was serious in their position, they would have cited numerous mystery shoppers and companies over the last ten years. However, if the citations were challenged in a court and the licensing board's charges were dismissed by a district judge, then the board would have a public record on file stating the opposite of what their position paper reflects. Their opinion may very well be that they do not care to see mystery shoppers continue their business, but if they (the board) were to lose to a court decision.. then the board may be proven to have shown abusive regulatory powers over a mystery shopping company that may have been operating within the state statutes. The lack of charges brought on by the board, in our opinion, seems to be prudent at this point.

    It is IPIU's Mission Statement to support any board's right to publish their opinion (which is what they have done). It is IPIU's Mission Statement to support all licensing boards in their respective roles according to the statutes that they must operate by. That is why we encourage union members to understand the complete context of the statutes and not be too quick to offer an opinion that has no statutory merit based on the law, which in all states are authored by the law makers and not the licensing board.

    Here is the Texas Licensing Board's "opinion":

    There is a common misconception held by many contractors of investigations company services in which they believe that they do not meet the definition of an “investigations company” as provided in the Private Security Act [Article 4413 (29bb) V.A.C.S.], simply by not calling themselves “investigators.”

    Whether a company or individual calls themselves a “mystery shopper”, “shopping service”, or “efficiency consultant” is not what determines whether or not they may be required by Texas law to be licensed as an investigations company. Rather, it is the activity in which a company or individual engages that determines the statutory application of the requirement for an “investigations company.”

    Section 2 of the Private Security Act defines an “investigations company” as:

    “. . . any person who engages in the business or accepts employment to obtain or furnish information with reference to:

    (i) crime or wrongs done or threatened against the United States of America or any state or territory of the United States of America;

    (ii) the identity, habits, conduct, business, occupation, honesty, integrity, credibility, knowledge, trustworthiness, efficiency, loyalty, activity, movement, whereabouts, affiliations, associations, transactions, acts, reputation, or character of any person;

    (iii) the location, disposition, or recovery of lost or stolen property; (iv) the cause or responsibility for fires, libels, losses, accidents, damages, or injuries to persons or to property;

    (iv) the securing of evidence to be used before any court, board, officer, or investigating
    committee; . . .”

    The details and subject of the information being gathered can be used to determine whether a company or person operating as a “mystery shopper” or “shopping service” is required by law to be licensed as an investigations company.

    Below is a comparison table of sample activities that show what does or does not require a license under the Private Security Act. This table is not all-inclusive but merely serves as a guideline.

    Required to be licensed as Investigations Company:
    • Check on sales clerk courtesy.
    • Engage manager in conversation to determine loyalty to company, employees or just general attitude.
    • Check employees handling of meat for Health Code violations.
    • Monitor employees’ conversations in aisles in back of store.


    Not required to be licensed as Investigations Company:
    • Check on merchandise racks for order and neatness.
    • Engage manager in conversation to determine if the store temperature is comfortable.
    • Check temperature at which meat is being stored.
    • Monitor condition of aisles in back of store for cleanliness.


    As can be seen from the distinctions in the table between the “Required to be Licensed” activities and those which do not require an investigations company license, the difference occurs when furnishing information about a company and its individual employees as opposed to the environment and conditions in which those people work.

    When offering or providing services to a client, a “mystery shopper” or “shopping service” must make a clear distinction between those service that can be legally offered without an investigations company and those services that require an investigations company license issued by the commission.

    Author: Chief Larry Shimek


    Although we respect Chief Shimek's opinion, it is, nevertheless, and opinion that is derived on his interpretation of the state statutes, such as determining what specific activities are approved by his opinion (i.e. checking the temperature in a store, which is not mentioned anywhere in the statutes).

    Additionally, the United States Federal Government employs mystery shoppers for their federal facilities, which include the US Post Office for integrity assignments.

    So it is our opinion that no opinion has statutory merit unless the statutes are modified by the law makers. And the absence of an opinion authored by the Texas Attorney General (who is an attorney well versed in the regulatory powers of the licensing board) speaks for itself.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 1989
    Location
    National Office
    Posts
    2,332

    Re: Hi Michael

    Originally posted by Sharon K Hurley
    Yes, I spoke to several Private Investigators in the Dallas/Bedford area and they all have said yes.
    That is unfortunate. Private Investigators should always support their licensing statements to the statutes, which in this case they did not.

    Even a telephone call to the state licensing board with that question would not have given you the "yes, you need a license". The board does not give verbal opinions over the phone, such as the "conversation" you have with a few PI's. Everything is in writing, and is based on the statutes.

    What your private investigators stated was their view of the "opinion" authored by a non-attorney for the board (see above reply). That is why IPIU requires a signed Code of Ethics by it's members, which details conduct.

    Originally posted by Sharon K Hurley
    It is true that you have to have a license in Texas to do mystery shopping assignments..
    I will caution you not to make any such statement. It is not true.

    Originally posted by Sharon K Hurley
    so I have stopped doing them.
    And now you see the effect of relying on "professional" advice, that is nothing more than an opinion.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    London, England
    Posts
    3,231
    Originally posted by Robert Smith
    I know that you must have at least 3 years experience before you can do any of the steps to obtain your private investigator's license, ?
    Not unless you just want to open your own Texas Agency. No experience necessary, but there are some extra forms to use.

    IPIU union members get free help in the forum titled OBTAINING YOUR LICENSE.

    Originally posted by Robert Smith
    to know if security work would actually count as any of the time or does it strictly have to be private investigation experience?
    I would call the licensing bureau, as the experience they permit may be waived in certain areas.

    But before you do that, understand that you can still obtain a Texas License with no experience if that license were assigned to an existing agency willing to hire you.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    London, England
    Posts
    3,231
    Originally posted by Zoraya Marroquin
    I apologize in advance if this question has already been answered, I might have missed it.



    Does this mean that if I don't have a PI license, it is possible to work for a licensed Private Investigator under his/her license?
    In Texas, a licensed PI can license you under their agency license.

  8. #8
    Linda Manning is offline Law Offices of Attorney Services
    National Office

    Law Firm Member Agency of:
    International Private Investigators Union (IPIU)
    Join Date
    Dec 1989
    Posts
    383
    Originally posted by John Chambers
    Or are there companies that recognize one license over another?
    We are a Law Firm member of IPIU, and we recognize the Texas PI License, any Law Enforcement Photo ID, any attorney license or other state issue profesional license that is monitored through the FBI's wants and warrants database. We also recognize the IPIU Photo Credential Card because it is monitored too, especially for unregulated private investigators.

    Originally posted by John Chambers
    Okay, so then the IPIU license is just as "valid" as one issued by the Texas Board of Private Investigators?
    The IPIU Photo Credentials is not a state license. However, it is monitored for wants and warrants just like the state licenses are monitored.

    As an example, if a state licensed private investigator commits a felony and it goes to warrant, then then state can become aware of the warrant and suspend the PI license until the warrant is cleared.

    If an unregulated private investigator who has no state license, but has the IPIU Photo ID, commits a felony that goes to warrant, then IPIU can become aware of of the warrant and suspend the union member, plus notify all of the agencies and firms he/she was referred to.

    And last, there are several licensed private investigators in Texas that are also members of IPIU. They carry both their IPIU card plus their state license.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    73

    Thumbs up Sept 1 2003 change to Texas PI requirements

    I want to add- there are revisions to the current Texas Statues for the occupation code for PIs (1702) effective Sept 1st 2003--No longer will it be required to have 3 "consecutive" years of experience. The revisions on the web currently depict the old statues with the word "consecutive" lined out. West Law will have the changes made to reflect the new Statues and update the information by by Sept. when it goes into effect.

    Thanks for all the above. It has really cleared up a lot.
    Catch 22 is worse in other states- While working as a manager for Aetna Finance, I had a former "PI employee" from Nevada working for me. He indicated- at that time- Nevada had issued only about 5 PI licenses and they were usually willed to other family members when they died! In other words he told me that it was far easier to get a license here in Texas. That's why he moved! (Seems he could never get his own license there- even after working over 10 years full-time as a top PI for one of the five agencies.)

    Anyway -enough Texas tales for now.
    Thanks for all!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    73
    Hi Hugh,
    Could you explain what you were talking about the Texas law changing and no longer requiring three "consecutive years"? I'd like to know more about those changes, and is there somewhere I can read about it? As I stated before I have not really been able to navigate their website (licensing board) Any info would be appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Susan Arredondo
    Hi Susan! Zoraya had the same question out on a level 4 forum topic. I have copied it below so all can use these instructions. I don't have much time to find the "changes to current law" (or similar verbiage) section right now, but once you get into the statutes you will find a section where lines are actually drawn through words depicting the new changes to be posted in September. The link instructions and furhter explainations are below!...

    Where to find Texas laws for Private Investigator, Bail Bond Surety, etc.

    quote:
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Hello everybody, Does anyone know where I might find the laws on bounty hunting for the state of TX. Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------



    Zoraya, this is kind of my specialty as I worked for a global media information giant. I taught Banking Compliance officers and Lawyers how to find/use information both within our proprietary sites/software as well as how to go directly to other free sources.
    Each of the 50 State searches are different. Some more complicated than others. One thing you need to keep in mind is that the State Statutes that you are searching today may be a year behind. This gives an edge for Companies to make money by providing more up-to-date information to clients’ -by crunching numbers (for data) and modifying laws (for text) -Customers pay big bucks so that they can have the most recent information now! I say this because West Law (a private company contracted by Texas) will complete all the changes from the last legislative session-so that it can be posted on this site on/around September 1, 2003.
    (about a year or so behind!)
    If you need more up-to-date info, such as what specific laws will change this September, just let me know and I will see what I can do. I do know that in September there will be positive modifications for the PI laws. For example, instead of the requirement for three "consecutive" years of experience, (to become a PI) the new law reads just "three years of experience total"! Because of this change, I can apply for my license in September!!!

    Anyway, sorry for being so long winded! I have discovered this State information can be confusing- even for professionals who use it every day. Please follow the instructions below to find your answers...


    The Texas Statutes Search

    1). Go to- http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/cgi-...wd&CQ_LOGIN=YES
    2). Select- “Simple (Boolean) search.”
    3). Below that in the drop-down box select the words “Occupations Code”
    4). In the “Text to search for” space type-"Private Investigator" (be sure to include quotation marks!)


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Just an FYI before we continue our search- Private Investigators, Bail Bond Surety, and Security Guard Services are covered under The Texas Occupation Code chapters 1702 & 1704
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    5). Click on “Occupations Chapter 1702” ( to expand it and then...
    6). On your keyboard press and hold the “Ctrl” button, (lower left part of the keyboard) then hit the “f” key on your keyboard. This will bring up the “Find ” pop-up screen.
    7). Type the words “Bail Bond Surety”, or "Private Investigator" (no quotation marks please) in the box labeled “Find What.”
    8). In the upper right hand corner of the pop-up box, click on the 3-d box labeled “Find Next.”

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    As you can see, each time you click "Find Next" it automatically highlights each hit. The fourth hit deals with what PIs can do in TX. (VS. What they can’t do under the previous 3 hits)

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Zoraya, it really is easy once you get the hang of it. If I have given you too much information, please realize that others may also have questions about the other "stuff-ola."

    Once you get the hang of it, don't move 'cause each State is set up differently and you will have to learn it all over again!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 1999
    Location
    London, England
    Posts
    2,834

    PERSONAL OPINION (not IPIU):

    Update: 2-16-2005
    Mystery Shopping Bill Passed to allow
    No License Requirement



    News:

    The Texas Board of Licensing has a "Position Paper" posted on their website regarding Mystery Shopping. This "position paper" is nothing more than what the "board's" personal opinion is on Mystery Shopping - which is an area that is EXEMPT from the Texas Statutes.

    http://www.tcps.state.tx.us/shoppers.htm

    So when newcomers call the Texas Board, they are confronted by a receptionist or clerk or enforcement officer that informs the caller NOT to perform Mystery Shopping assignments! (I see this as an unnecessary and careless threat)

    This has caused frustration and anger by the Senate lawmakers of Texas who participated in authoring the statutes for the "board" to follow their law - not the "board's opinion".

    IPIU's
    Mission Statement, in part, contains:
    Our mission is not to limit ... education to only those statutes that may or may not have any direct authority and regulation over (the) conduct or duties as a private investigator, but rather to educate in the full context all the applicable laws and/or lawful remedies that may apply ethically to their individual circumstances and goals.

    Although we firmly sustain all government licensing bodies who regulate private investigators within their lawful authority, and we promote licensing whenever the entire facts of a member's individual circumstances dictate such a requirement, we do not necessarily believe that all citizens require regulation by a government licensing body in the affairs of a citizen’s chosen career unless there is a proven need for additional consumer protection, which would include a fair and balanced recourse.
    This is a prime example of a board officer who, in my personal opinion, has over stepped his authority and position in going after a professional group of Mystery Shoppers for their licensing fees - either out of money interests or power.

    Now comes the news of the day:

    There is a letter circulating the Texas Congress:
    Dear Representative ____________,

    I respectfully urge you to allow final passage of Senate Bill 943 in support of allowing mystery shopping companies to work within the State of Texas.

    Our bill has been unanimously passed by the full Senate as well as the House Law Enforcement Committee. We need your support.

    Within the last three years we have successfully worked with Senators in California and Arizona to pass the same Bill being presented today. To date in California and Arizona, there have been no complaints from labor, industry or state Better Business Bureau's.

    The purpose of mystery shopping is to allow trained consumers to evaluate basic customer service standards such as retail associate friendliness, sales skills and product knowledge to name three components. Additionally we will report on cleanliness standards such as the sales floor and washrooms. This information is presented back to our clients on a format they have pre-approved. This information is not used for disciplinary purposes but rather to reward superior customer service skills or coach those associates who need additional training. National chain stores to independent local businesses use our service on a regular basis throughout the United States.

    I encourage you to pass this Bill to allow our professional service to assist our clients in ensuring consumers in Texas are receiving a quality customer service experience.

    Thank you.
    It has been stated before on these forums that Mystery Shopping was known as Integrity Investigations some decades ago. But when private investigators began to see an over enthusiastic licensing board raising their fees, or regulating more activities - a small movement of private investigators renamed their Integrity Investigative assignments as - Mystery Shopping! And that created a multi-million dollar business that is exempt nearly everywhere.


    So my person opinion (not IPIU's or the Private Investigators Forums) is that this action by the Texas Senate is in response to an over zealous licensing officer. That is why it is extremely important to believe FIRST the statutes in your state BEFORE you believe any one person who may be misrepresenting the facts.

    To follow the congressional calendar on SB 943,

    Go Here>
    http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/cgi-b...LLSUFFIX=00943

    As of today - the bill died because of a late session, but there may be some news later on this regard.

    Wasn't this the state where all the Democrats crossed the border into Oklahoma to leave the business on the tables??? I wonder if that is why they did not get to the bill in time?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 1989
    Location
    National Office
    Posts
    2,332

    Re: Income

    Originally posted by Jeff Baylis
    OK, I have read this page and from what I gather, it is possible to get a state licence in Texas in less than 3 years if you are not going to be managing or starting your own firm.
    Any licensed Texas agency can hire you, with no waiting period except for a background check, under their agency, which gives you a license to perform investigations under the agency license.

    If you have not done so, please post your introduction in the Introduction Forum so trainers can help direct you.
    Legal Affairs comments are not intended to be and should absolutely not be taken as legal advice. If you should require legal, tax, or financial advice, you must first enter into a written agreement with only a licensed professional for legal, tax, or financial services, signed by both you and the licensed professional, and paid a retainer in good funds. Legal Affairs is not, nor intends to be, nor solicits to be your licensed professional. Members accessing comments by Legal Affairs are required to be bound by their Terms of Use Agreement regarding Legal Affairs.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 1989
    Location
    International Office
    Posts
    5,178
    Originally posted by Jeff Baylis

    It is possible to get a state licence in Texas in less than 3 years if you are not going to be managing or starting your own firm? If so, how soon can it be done?
    Any licensed agency can hire you as a licensed PI under their license. No unreasonable waiting time.

    Originally posted by Jeff Baylis
    What type of income can someone who is licensed in Texas expect to make?
    As an employee, I have seen $20/hour and up. As an owner, you can triple that.

    Do a search for Texas PI's and read their web pages for rates.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 1992
    Location
    National Office
    Posts
    4,626
    Originally posted by Tammy A Nelson
    I don't know if I should ask this in here but, A friend of mine wants to be a PI and I told him about IPIU. He is worried that he may have problems getting liscened. He was convicted of a felony assault about 10 years ago,and he spent 2 years on probation..he hasn't had anything on his record since ,but the question is will an agency be able to liscence him?Will this make it harder for him to get assignments.any answers on this would be greatly appreciated.
    sincerely:
    In nearly all states, a convicted felon who has applied for a PI license would have the review done aby an appeals board. The board determined the nature of the offense, how long it has been, how long the applicant has had a clean record, their employment, and their rehablitation.

    I suggest your friend write a personal letter to the Director of Licensing (see their web site) and simply ask "what it would take to be approved for a PI License?" The director may quote statutes, but there is always an appeal board.

    Another approach is to inquire for a Governors Pardon. Contact the state capitol and ask for an application. A pardon typically forgives a conviction, and because the governor appoints the Director of Licensing - it could serve as another approach.

    And last, your friend could always start his own licensed agency as an owner, and hire a current licensed PI to manage the cases. As an owner, he could determine his own salary from the $65 to $100 an hour client fees, and pay his manager a smaller portion of the retainer ($25 to $35/hr). Union members have free help in setting up their agency and license in our Level 4 private forums.

    PS: Look at the exemptions for Texas where your friend does not need a PI License to work.

    Happy holidays,
    Robert Donovan
    Director - Agent Relations
    Sr. Director - IPIU Ethics Board


    START WITH TRUST
    When you see the Better Business Bureau Seal, it means the
    International Private Investigators Union (IPIU) has agreed to:

    TELL THE TRUTH, KEEP ITS PROMISES, BE RESPONSIVE
    www.ipiu.org | IPIU Web Store
    BBB A+ Rating Link | Contact IPIU
    Founded in 1989 - Celebrating our 21st Year Serving 41,932 Members
    CALL IPIU TODAY TO JOIN: 800-548-1526

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    73

    The boss and trainee...

    In the first post on the second page of this topic, Mr. Brown wrote "You can obtain a state license from Texas if you take and pass the Level 1, Level 2, and/or Manager's state exam." Is that all you have to do to get your license? Just take the tests and then you get licensed? There is nothing else you have to do? Somehow that doesn't sound right. I'm confused.
    Jamie, This will allow you to create a PI Company, but you must hire licensed PIs. In other words you drum up the business, keep the books, and they do what they do best. There are License fees and insurance costs, and you must put up a hefty bond with the State. Last I figured, It will cost you around 3,000 to get started not including payroll reserves---but this is within reach for most!
    Who knows if you choose to train under your "capable hired hands" you too can become a bona fide PI in three years!

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    National Office
    Posts
    632
    Originally posted by Jeff Baylis
    I totally comprehend that I can immediately work as a trainee under someone else after I get a license from IPIU.
    IPIU photo credentials are not a state license. Go to the Trainee forum and look for the Credentials sub forum.

    Originally posted by Jeff Baylis
    I
    Can someone get a STATE LICENSE in TEXAS in LESS THAN 3 YEARS if they ARE NOT a manager or starting their own firm?
    Yes.

    You can be employed by any licensed agency without any experience, and they will license you under their agency license.

    Or, if you want to be an independent licensed PI, then you need to have the 3 years experience.
    Lance Jefferson
    Trainer - Private Investigators Union



    START WITH TRUST
    When you see the Better Business Bureau Seal, it means the
    International Private Investigators Union (IPIU) has agreed to:

    TELL THE TRUTH, KEEP ITS PROMISES, BE RESPONSIVE
    www.ipiu.org | IPIU Web Store
    BBB A+ Rating Link | Contact IPIU
    Founded in 1989 - Celebrating our 21st Year Serving 41,932 Members
    CALL IPIU TODAY TO JOIN: 800-548-1526

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    National Office
    Posts
    632

    Re: Licensed is not required?

    Originally posted by Bobby Watts
    Am I understanding the exemption right in Texas that if I performed background checks for different businesses I would not need a PI License since I am verifying information on an application.

    Thanks,

    Bobby
    Correct, as long as your company name does not say "investigations" or anything close. Anyone can sell info to anyone.

  18. #18
    Donna Reagan's Avatar
    Donna Reagan is offline Administrator
    Private Investigators Forum

    Licensed Private Investigator
    DHS Certified
    Join Date
    Feb 1995
    Location
    New York City, NY
    Posts
    4,223

    Re: PI Trainees for Texas

    Originally posted by Willie Williams
    Go before the appeals Board that might take months to get an appointment.
    Most college graduates are determined to invest 4 or more years in getting what they want. An appeals board is just another process to go through if you are as determined in making this your profession. Nothing comes quick and easy.
    Originally posted by Willie Williams
    the lure is the PI license. Is it not?
    Yes and no. The exemptions listed above prove that there are companies who perform investigations without the need of a PI License. And no license is ever needed as a private investigator for an attorney.


    Donna Reagan
    Licensed Private Investigator
    DHS Certified


    START WITH TRUST
    When you see the Better Business Bureau Seal, it means the
    International Private Investigators Union (IPIU) has agreed to:

    TELL THE TRUTH, KEEP ITS PROMISES, BE RESPONSIVE
    www.ipiu.org | IPIU Web Store
    BBB A+ Rating Link | Contact IPIU
    Founded in 1989 - Celebrating our 21st Year Serving 41,932 Members
    CALL IPIU TODAY TO JOIN: 406-534-0251

  19. #19
    Donna Reagan's Avatar
    Donna Reagan is offline Administrator
    Private Investigators Forum

    Licensed Private Investigator
    DHS Certified
    Join Date
    Feb 1995
    Location
    New York City, NY
    Posts
    4,223
    Frank, always allow the employer you are working for, such as the fraud unit of a company, to determine if you need a license or not outside of your regular employee duties. The statutes allow for this, same as working for an attorney.


    Donna Reagan
    Licensed Private Investigator
    DHS Certified


    START WITH TRUST
    When you see the Better Business Bureau Seal, it means the
    International Private Investigators Union (IPIU) has agreed to:

    TELL THE TRUTH, KEEP ITS PROMISES, BE RESPONSIVE
    www.ipiu.org | IPIU Web Store
    BBB A+ Rating Link | Contact IPIU
    Founded in 1989 - Celebrating our 21st Year Serving 41,932 Members
    CALL IPIU TODAY TO JOIN: 406-534-0251

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    17
    Quote Originally Posted by Legal Affairs
    Yes and No. It depends on who you are working for as a Private Investigator. Not all companies are required to be licensed in Texas that employ private investigators.

    There are 37 EXEMPTIONS in the Texas Statutes (see above).


    Neither.

    IPIU does not place you with a client. They place you with a company. Clients are customers of companies. Do not confuse the two.


    IPIU is not your employer. IPIU is your union association.


    Of course. Email usa@ipiu.org .
    Will IPIU actually find the clients or will we have to find them?
    Joe Dan Earnest

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Mar 1992
    Location
    National Office
    Posts
    4,626
    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Dan Earnest
    If you have a Law enforcement background ,do you have to wait 3 years to start up your own business?
    No.

    And neither does a trainee who wants to own their own PI Agency.

    IPIU Union members have access to the Level 4 Forum titled OBTAINING YOUR OWN LICENSE/AGENCY LICENSE where the trainers offer extra help.

    Or, you can contact the state board. But make sure you explore ALL of their statutes and loop holes and not just take the word of the receptionist.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Mar 1992
    Location
    National Office
    Posts
    4,626
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Ellis
    Joe,

    go to Manager training...not Manager testing..

    Jeff
    Although we suggest taking the Manager's test, it is different then owner. An owner does not need to manage their own agency. An owner can be licensed under their agency license without any experience, and still own the agency.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Mar 1992
    Location
    National Office
    Posts
    4,626
    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Dan Earnest
    Will IPIU actually find the clients or will we have to find them?
    Some of our memberships offer free client referrals and promotion of your agency.

    Read our Membership Options here:
    http://www.ipiu.org/forums/showthrea...&threadid=6542

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Mar 1992
    Location
    National Office
    Posts
    4,626
    Quote Originally Posted by John R Palmer
    I have heard somewhere that at least here in Texas if you are w/o a state license and not working under one either, the work you pursue avoid the word "investigation".
    That is correct.

    Quote Originally Posted by John R Palmer
    would it be O.K. to practice background "checks", Criminal Histories "checks", Asset and Credit "checks", or PreEmployment "checks" (as an independent contractor)?
    Background checks, criminal history checks, and most asset checks can be done by anyone without a PI License. There are thousands of courthouse gophers that check files every day for the large database companies.

    Credit Checks are a bit more complicated, but do not require a PI License.

    Independent Contractor is okay, but a corporation is better. You can then make yourself an employee of your corporation and hire a sparetime licensed private investigator for tasks that need a PI License. We cover the details in the Level 4 Forum as I mentioned in an earlier post.

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Mar 1992
    Location
    National Office
    Posts
    4,626
    Quote Originally Posted by John R Palmer
    I found this provision in the statutues.


    NO LICENSE NEEDED FOR: a person engaged exclusively in the business of repossessing property that is secured by a mortgage or other security interest;


    Does this mean that NO license is required to repossess automobiles?

    Thanks!
    If the state has another license for Repo operatives, then they do not need a PI license. Most, not all, states have Repo Licenses.

  26. #26
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    14
    "Contract Labor" in Texas.

    Texas is one state that has its Catch 22's.

    If you want to work as an independant investigator you can't in Texas. You must be either an employee of a private investigations agency/company or be the licensed owner, manager, and private investigator of your own agency/company.

    I know. I am a retired Texas Peace Officer that first began as a Bounty Hunter independant which at the time (1994) required no licensing to do, but in 1999 I was advised by the Texas Commission that I now had to be a private investigator to bounty hunt fugitives.

    That's also when I found out that I had to either work through an agency or become one myself to work. I wasn't about to turn my client base over to another agency that I had already worked hard to get. So, I took the managers test and provided all my previous law enforcement credentials/education, and paid the fees to become my own agency.

    I am the licensed owner, manager, and chief investigator of the Hoofard Agency, a private investigation only agency. I hope what I have said helps on the texas catch 22's. I operate currently in Tx., ILL., CA., LA., NV., CO. and have held licenses in some 38 states over the last 10 yrs. in security and investigations/personal protection work.

    Thanks,
    Don Hoofard, Sr.
    DR. DONALD R. HOOFARD, SR.
    Licensed Private Investigator (TX #A09683)
    Hoofard Agency - Texas

  27. #27
    Join Date
    May 1989
    Location
    National Office
    Posts
    2,332
    Quote Originally Posted by Don Hoofard
    ... in 1999 I was advised by the Texas Commission that I now had to be a private investigator to bounty hunt fugitives.

    That's also when I found out that I had to either work through an agency or become one myself to work.
    IPIU's Mission Statement fully supports all state licensing for private investigators, but we also endorse and recommend using the full extent of the law as outlined in the statutes.

    Nevertheless, we have found serious misrepresentations at times when members call their state licensing boards and are told by unqualified state employees that they cannot perform private investigations without a state PI License.

    To the contrary, the lawmakers of states did not intend to give absolute authority to the governor's appointed licensing board to interpret the law to the extent it would be contrary to the lawmakers’ intent. Only the state attorney general can offer such an interpretation of the state statutes.

    The lawmakers did not intend for their statutes to grant the board a mission to license every scope of private investigation. To the contrary again, the lawmakers have specifically embodied in their statutes many exemptions to private investigators being required to be licensed. Yet, a telephone survey revealed 50% of the telephone calls to the state board were met by receptionists and other employees insisting the caller needed a PI License in all circumstances.

    The lawmakers further recognized that any citizen can own a private investigative agency without being required to become a private investigator. The lawmaker's have always understood the difference between ownership and management. They fully understand the role of a corporation, its board of directors, its elected president, and its employed managers. And with that, the lawmakers regulate the powers of the licensing board through their statutes to insure that all licensed private investigative agencies are managed by a qualified licensee. Yet the owner is exempt of becoming licensed. For a state employee to insist otherwise to a caller is misleading.

    Therefore, the licensing board's authority is limited to what the statutes grant the board in its scope, and nothing more.

    As an owner (or majority stock holder) of an agency, you control who is the appointed manager and employee. Once the agency receives its PI License, the owner (or majority stock holder) can then direct the general manager to hire anyone (including yourself) as an intern licensed private investigator. Owning an agency affords the rewards of company profits, as well as earning additional payroll as a licensed intern while gaining the experience to become independently licensed in the years ahead.

    Your vast experience over the years has proven you have achieved your goal of becoming a licensed private investigator and owner of an agency. Encourage others to continue in their quest to become licensed if they wish to do so. But also encourage others to fully explore the many options afforded them by the statutes as defined by the lawmakers of the state.

    In the end, licensed agencies and investigators must find common ground in working with the licensing board rather than apart from it. Licensing boards are political in nature, as the director is usually appointed by the governor. And whenever politics enters the equation, careful consideration must be used in communication skills to achieve the desired aim without alienation.

  28. #28
    Join Date
    May 1989
    Location
    National Office
    Posts
    2,332
    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Dan Earnest
    Does having a B.S. degree help in getting your private investagators license?
    No, but it helps in owning a business and with your background check if you decide to apply for your own agency or license.
    Legal Affairs comments are not intended to be and should absolutely not be taken as legal advice. If you should require legal, tax, or financial advice, you must first enter into a written agreement with only a licensed professional for legal, tax, or financial services, signed by both you and the licensed professional, and paid a retainer in good funds. Legal Affairs is not, nor intends to be, nor solicits to be your licensed professional. Members accessing comments by Legal Affairs are required to be bound by their Terms of Use Agreement regarding Legal Affairs.

  29. #29
    B Ann Craig's Avatar
    B Ann Craig is offline Administrative Forum Trainer

    Sr. Certified Distinguished Member:
    Private Investigators Forum
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    8,424
    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Pena
    This is important and I'm sure I understand part of it. what I don't understand still is whether a trainee is considered contract labor or does he sign on as an employee at each company he performs work with!
    Chris, that is up to the agency who is offering employment. In Texas, and agency can simply add you to their employment and license you as a trainee under their agency license. Or, they may choose to hire you as a 1099 contractor depending on the task they are assigning you and whether or not it is based on a tax situation. Either way, if you can obtain an assignment we suggest you ask the agency what your status will be.

    This is between each member, and the agency. I hope this helps you. Good luck in all you do.

    Have a wonderful weekend. Take care.

  30. #30
    William Brassfield's Avatar
    William Brassfield is offline Moderator::
    (On Leave of Absence)

    Sr. Distinguished Member:
    Member since 2002
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Oklahoma
    Posts
    2,450
    Quote Originally Posted by Denise Damazio
    What if you get licensed under another agencies license and you leave that agency. Do you still get to keep your license or do you have to stay with that agency a certain amount of time?
    Too bad you're not north of the Red river, then I could answer that question with my eyes closed.

    But seriously...


    On page one of this subject is a list stating things that no license is required for.

    However, I haven't found anything that would give you the correct answer to your question, so I have put your question to Admin, and Legal, and they should give you the correct answer shortly.
    Will Brassfield

    Where there's a will, there's a way......and I'm Will

    Visit our New Home Page: www.ipiu.org

    Visit our New Bookstore: www.privateinvestigators.cc

  31. #31
    Join Date
    Jul 1989
    Location
    International Office
    Posts
    5,178
    Quote Originally Posted by Denise Damazio
    What if you get licensed under another agencies license and you leave that agency. Do you still get to keep your license or do you have to stay with that agency a certain amount of time?
    States generally give you 30 days to notify them of the new agency you are working for, so they can simply move your records.

  32. #32
    Donna Reagan's Avatar
    Donna Reagan is offline Administrator
    Private Investigators Forum

    Licensed Private Investigator
    DHS Certified
    Join Date
    Feb 1995
    Location
    New York City, NY
    Posts
    4,223
    Quote Originally Posted by Marianne Stanley
    Hey All,

    I have taken the exams on http://www.tcps.state.tx.us/. I answered the question about having to have a License to work in Texas as no. When I was done It told me I was wrong that you do have to have a License. I have done the first two exams and will now follow up with the DPS on the Last two exams. That way I can just get it and not have to woory about it later. Thanks everyone

    Marianne Stanley
    Without having an exact copy of the phrase and use of the question that you failed, I cannot post an opinion. After all, the state can be very tricky in their questions that may seem to be simple and straight forth.

    But if it is true that the full context of the question was as you stated, then the very question is contrary to what the lawmakers of the State of Texas authorized the board to do when offering a state exam. The statutes clearly state that anyone can work as a private investitgator within the exemptions allowed.

    On the other hand, the question (as you posted) states that whatever company a private investigator works for should be "licensed". But what "license"??? A corporation who employs a private investigator for internal affairs may need a corporate business "license", but not a "PI License".

    Silly, isn't it!

    In the end, you need to pass their exam. And in doing so, give them the answers they want to hear. But in your moments of private seclusion, you know the truth.

  33. #33

    Thumbs up Texas PI Licensing

    [B]
    Quote Originally Posted by Marianne Stanley
    Hey All,

    I have taken the exams on http://www.tcps.state.tx.us/. I answered the question about having to have a License to work in Texas as no. When I was done It told me I was wrong that you do have to have a License. I have done the first two exams and will now follow up with the DPS on the Last two exams. That way I can just get it and not have to woory about it later. Thanks everyone

    Marianne Stanley
    Hi Marianne,

    That was a hard way to learn but you've cleared up what we in TX needed to know, so we thank you Ma'm.

    Beverly A. Shipman
    ______________________

  34. #34

    Thumbs up Licensed or Not To Be Licensed

    Quote Originally Posted by Legal Affairs
    The Texas State Attorney General has made no formal declaration. The statutes by the Texas Lawmakers (not the Texas Licensing Board) is what prevails over all opinion, regardless of the source.

    The Texas Attorney General is the ONLY officer of the state to chose whether or not to offer a "position paper", as it is their office that will approve or disapprove any charges to be brought against any mystery shopper.

    To date: The Attorney General has NOT stated any position on mystery shopping.

    To date: The Texas Licensing Board has not furnished any evidence of bringing a citation against ANY mystery shopper or company.[/B]To date: There is NOTHING in the statutes that provides the licensing board to name specifically "mystery shopping" as an area of business that they have regulatory powers over.

    To date: The ONLY opinion offered is a "position paper" authored by the licensing agency and NOT the attorney general.

    To date: One of the largest national mystery shopping firms in the United States (SSA), whose corporate offices have been in Texas for over a decade, has never been served with any official papers indicating they need a private investigators license. The absence of such notice to any mystery shopping company in Texas appears to reflect that the licensing board's position paper lacks sufficient merit, which in itself appears to be a contradiction.

    It is our view that if the licensing board was serious in their position, they would have cited numerous mystery shoppers and companies over the last ten years. However, if the citations were challenged in a court and the licensing board's charges were dismissed by a district judge, then the board would have a public record on file stating the opposite of what their position paper reflects. Their opinion may very well be that they do not care to see mystery shoppers continue their business, but if they (the board) were to lose to a court decision.. then the board may be proven to have shown abusive regulatory powers over a mystery shopping company that may have been operating within the state statutes. The lack of charges brought on by the board, in our opinion, seems to be prudent at this point.

    It is IPIU's Mission Statement to support any board's right to publish their opinion (which is what they have done). It is IPIU's Mission Statement to support all licensing boards in their respective roles according to the statutes that they must operate by. That is why we encourage union members to understand the complete context of the statutes and not be too quick to offer an opinion that has no statutory merit based on the law, which in all states are authored by the law makers and not the licensing board.

    Here is the Texas Licensing Board's "opinion":



    Although we respect Chief Shimek's opinion, it is, nevertheless, and opinion that is derived on his interpretation of the state statutes, such as determining what specific activities are approved by his opinion (i.e. checking the temperature in a store, which is not mentioned anywhere in the statutes).

    Additionally, the United States Federal Government employs mystery shoppers for their federal facilities, which include the US Post Office for integrity assignments.

    So it is our opinion that no opinion has statutory merit unless the statutes are modified by the law makers. And the absence of an opinion authored by the Texas Attorney General (who is an attorney well versed in the regulatory powers of the licensing board) speaks for itself.



    This is what I thought. Just to put my two cents into words, when in doubt, you can always check with the Attorney General's Office (OAG), wherever you are. They'll inform you as to the laws of the State.

  35. #35
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Okalahoma
    Posts
    71

    Thumbs up PI Licensing: TEXAS

    Thanks to all:

    I read this forum several times for the information. Legal Affairs, as always, has complete answers. I truly appreciate their info. I thank everyone for their additional inputs. I'm new and have very little information. Again, thanks to everyone and especially Legal Affairs.

    JeryLyn

  36. #36
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    29

    Question Texas PI Testing

    If I have already taken and passed the exams levels 1,2,and 3
    what would my next steps be to advance in Texas ?

  37. #37
    Lori Copaus's Avatar
    Lori Copaus is offline PI Agency Corporation Owner
    Private Investigator Forum Member

    Member of:
    International Private Investigators Union (IPIU)
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    213
    I have requested my Agency application from Austin and this is what I was told. You can open your own agency in your name, but you have to hire a Licensed PI to work as your manager. When you submit your application for the agency, you also submit your fingerprints, the manager's fingerprints, a fee for both persons and the Licensed PI has to take a manager's test, which you also pay for out of your pocket. So to open your own agency, you will have around $600.00 out of pocket expenses to submit the application. Then you have to figure in your business cards, advertisement and so forth.
    What I am wanting to know is, how can we find a licensed PI who is willing to take the test, fingerprints, work as our managers, even though we own the company and let us tag along on investigations, etc, and pay them less than what we are making to get our experience.

    Any suggestions?

    Thank You
    Lori E. Copaus

  38. #38
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    147
    As far as working as a Mystery Shopper in Texas is concerned, I worked as a Mystery Shopper for almost six years for a company based in Tenn. with branches all over Texas. I was asked by their regional manager to do the Mystery Shopping for them. Having a license to do so was never mentioned.

  39. #39
    Hi Lori:

    I've been perusing this thread with interest. A lot of people are confusing "registration" with "Licensing". A company must be licensed and have a manager who meets the experience requirements. Individual Private Investigators must be "registered" through the company they work for. They can, I believe, be on the rolls of more than one agency at a time, as is usually the casewith "contract-type" positions. Finding a qualified manager should not be to difficult depending on where you are. The qualified manager must be available to run the "day to day" operations and there should be no more than one manager for a company. If that manager is not qualified in all areas of the company, assuming you had a Class C company (Guard and investigations), then a supervisor must be on the staff also with the appropriate experience level for the other duties. I have not pursued whether one individual can manage more than one company - that would be another aspect to look at.

    Cheers

    JR

  40. #40
    Tricia:

    Have you been through an approved school for the Level III ?

    If you three levels completed you should be able to get on with any of several agencies in Texas. YOu Level III certification is good for up to 90 days from the date of yur weapons qualification, after that you will have to requalifiy - I'm not sure on the time limit for the academic training but I believe it is two years. If you can't find it let me know and I will dig it up for you

    Cheers

    JR

+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4 LastLast

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •