Expiring PI Licensing Rules Take Odd Twist

By Simon Crittle

In a good example of bureaucracy gone mad, the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) will continue accepting applications for private investigator licenses until August 31 – the day PI licenses in Colorado will be abolished.

DORA told this blog that an unlicensed PI could face discipline right up until midnight August 30 for practicing without the proper credentials.

“They would (face discipline) under the Private Investigators Practice Act, just like any other licensee, and could be subject to discipline for unlicensed practice.”

The bizarre circumstance arises because Governor Jared Polis last year killed off licensing requirements for PIs as he had concerns regulatory regimes created barriers for minorities and newcomers.

DORA recently announced that currently licensed PIs will not have to renew their licenses by May 31.

But in an email to the industry the agency added: “New applications will continue to be accepted through August 31.”

“However, any pending applications will expire that day. We would encourage you to consider the narrow timeline for licensure when considering any new application.”


DORA admits the inverse affect of their position is that an unlicensed PI would be acting unlawfully if they practiced, and would remain subject to discipline until the moment licensing ends.

“If someone wants to work as a private investigator in Colorado, regulation continues and they must hold a license until August 31,” Lee Rasizer, public information officer for DORA, told this blog.

She said unlicensed PIs “are being asked to consider whether the cost of a license is more beneficial than waiting until the profession no longer is licensed.”

The governor effectively ended Colorado’s 9-year-old PI licensing regime when he vetoed a bill that would have extended existing regulations for another five years.

At the time Governor Polis, who has vetoed three other unrelated licensing bills, said “licensing is often not superior to other forms of consumer protection.”

“Too often it is used to protect existing professionals within an occupation against competition from newcomers entering that occupation,” said the governor in a letter explaining his reasoning.

Private investigators have been regulated by DORA since 2011. Requirements to obtain a private investigator’s license include being at least 21 years old, submitting an application, passing a background check, passing a jurisprudence exam, posting a surety bond and paying fees.

For more information about the windup of the licensing regime see this Frequently Asked Questions document for information on complaints, renewals and new application processing. Questions can be sent to DPO@state.co.us