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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    7

    Default Becoming a private investigator

    Hello everyone,


    I was wondering what ya'll can suggest for someone wanting to become a private investigator. I currently reside in CA, (San Diego area) and I am looking for a reputable school to attend, I am weary of the 'fly by night' type of guard training facilities out there.

    I'm not sure where to start or look for employment. My background unfortunately doesn't include law enforcement or military which is what alot of employers for investigations would like to see. I just worked as a armed guard for the least 3 years, and I am looking for a change.


    Thank you.
    Last edited by Gshock; 02-23-2012 at 07:02 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA.
    Posts
    381

    Default CA PI License

    Did you check BSIS site ?

    I know you can pass CA DOJ & FBI background check otherwise you can't be armed guard.
    then you need one of those

    * Have three years (2,000 hours each year, totaling 6,000 hours) of compensated experience in investigative work
    or
    * a law or police science degree plus two years (4,000 hours) of experience
    or
    * an AA degree in police science, criminal law or justice and 2 ½ years (5,000 hours) of experience.

    and
    Experience must be certified (Written and Signed) by your employer and have been received while you were employed as a sworn law enforcement officer, military police officer, insurance adjuster, employee of a licensed PI or repossessor, or arson investigator for a public fire suppression agency

    Also
    Work as a process server, public records researcher, custodial attendant for a law enforcement agency, bailiff, agent who collects debts in writing or by telephone after the debtor has been located, or person who repossesses property after it has been located is not considered qualifying experience
    [of course Security experience doesn't count]

    if you qualify one of those above, you send application (with sighed experience form) and fee.
    take Exam after BAIS approve if you are qualified (mostly experience part).

    I think hardest point is Qualified and Certified Experience.

    Sorry but I assume earliest you can be "qualify to apply" is 3 years from now.
    Last edited by Limo LA; 02-24-2012 at 03:17 AM.
    Not many but few chauffeurs are armed to protect clients.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Limo LA View Post
    Did you check BSIS site ?

    I know you can pass CA DOJ & FBI background check otherwise you can't be armed guard.
    then you need one of those

    * Have three years (2,000 hours each year, totaling 6,000 hours) of compensated experience in investigative work
    or
    * a law or police science degree plus two years (4,000 hours) of experience
    or
    * an AA degree in police science, criminal law or justice and 2 ½ years (5,000 hours) of experience.

    and
    Experience must be certified (Written and Signed) by your employer and have been received while you were employed as a sworn law enforcement officer, military police officer, insurance adjuster, employee of a licensed PI or repossessor, or arson investigator for a public fire suppression agency

    Also
    Work as a process server, public records researcher, custodial attendant for a law enforcement agency, bailiff, agent who collects debts in writing or by telephone after the debtor has been located, or person who repossesses property after it has been located is not considered qualifying experience
    [of course Security experience doesn't count]

    if you qualify one of those above, you send application (with sighed experience form) and fee.
    take Exam after BAIS approve if you are qualified (mostly experience part).

    I think hardest point is Qualified and Certified Experience.

    Sorry but I assume earliest you can be "qualify to apply" is 3 years from now.
    Yes, I read the regulations recently over again. And I am shocked how stringent they are compared to a armed guard. I guess what I am asking is, if I go through a school that will teach me the ropes of private investigation school. I'm starting to wonder where I can seek work? I found a place in California called DGA detectives (http://www.dgadetectives.com/) they offer classes for 4,300$ and help with job placement. So i'll just have to work for someone for 3 years before I can take the exam.


    Hell.... its easier for me to start a career in executive protection or bounty hunting then a P.I. Seems a bit strange to me.
    Last edited by Gshock; 02-25-2012 at 06:31 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA.
    Posts
    381

    Default

    When you looking at Security industry, PI license is same as PPO license which require almost same experience as PI (less than PI requirement thru)
    and Guard is same as PI assistant (employee who work for PI with no PI license)

    Guard Card is not "License", it is a "registration" and permit to "work for PPO licensee".
    I'm not sure but I think there is none "registration" or "permit" to work for PI (PI assistant, Employee for PI).
    So, it's one step easier to work for PI. (not to get license, I'm talking about comparison of Employee for PI vs Employee for PPO)

    If you really want to be PI, start working for PI office as PI assistant for 3 years is quickest way I guess.
    or you work as PI assistant at daytime then take night class in community college, you will be qualified in 2 years.

    Do you really want to do that ?
    You already have experience for Security industry.
    You are qualified to get PPO license.
    and there is no separate license/permit for EP (I'm not sure about bounty hunter)
    if you want to do EP, you can apply to PPO license (you already qualified), then you can start your own EP office.(Technically, PPO office who offer EP service. it's same license)

    There are higher wall ahead of you for matter of Business/clientele and Skill but above is just licensing and time-line point of view.

    You need "License" to do business for Security, PI and Repo but you need no license to work for them.
    (only Security industry need Guard Card to work for licensee)
    Not many but few chauffeurs are armed to protect clients.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    660

    Default I've seen ads for "sub rosa" and other "investigator" on Craigslist that don't say

    you need a P.I. lic., but of course they want SOME sort of exp.

    These are mostly for Worker's Comp fraud investigations....video of the guy with the 'bad back' moon-lighting as a piano mover, or as the star of local soccer team.

    Mostly they want you to have your own "surveillance ready" van or suv. Some want you to have some of your own electronics.

    Many PPO have a PI lic., so if you hooked up with one of them as a guard maybe you could hustle your way into the PI end of things and gain hours there.


    However, I do remember one contractor in my construction day who refused to sign the "certified hours" for a long term employee basically because he felt he would then get his own lic. and quit and complete....which he did anyways because I signed as a fellow employee. Didn't need to be anyone special for Contractor's Board, just someone "with knowledge of."

    Might have a hard time getting an former employer to sign after you end up quitting, regardless of how nice you quit. Maybe have them sign off your hours every month?

    How do you get into Insurance Adjusting field? Anyone know?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Limo LA View Post
    When you looking at Security industry, PI license is same as PPO license which require almost same experience as PI (less than PI requirement thru)
    and Guard is same as PI assistant (employee who work for PI with no PI license)

    Guard Card is not "License", it is a "registration" and permit to "work for PPO licensee".
    I'm not sure but I think there is none "registration" or "permit" to work for PI (PI assistant, Employee for PI).
    So, it's one step easier to work for PI. (not to get license, I'm talking about comparison of Employee for PI vs Employee for PPO)

    If you really want to be PI, start working for PI office as PI assistant for 3 years is quickest way I guess.
    or you work as PI assistant at daytime then take night class in community college, you will be qualified in 2 years.

    Do you really want to do that ?
    You already have experience for Security industry.
    You are qualified to get PPO license.
    and there is no separate license/permit for EP (I'm not sure about bounty hunter)
    if you want to do EP, you can apply to PPO license (you already qualified), then you can start your own EP office.(Technically, PPO office who offer EP service. it's same license)

    There are higher wall ahead of you for matter of Business/clientele and Skill but above is just licensing and time-line point of view.

    You need "License" to do business for Security, PI and Repo but you need no license to work for them.
    (only Security industry need Guard Card to work for licensee)
    This is true. My issue with private investigation is that it is really a specialized job market. Most of the job postings I've seen want a employee to have Military intelligence, or Police backgrounds/or a college degree. However one of my family members is a Lawyer and suggest that I can work for him (for experience) but now he's claiming there isn't enough work for his law firm.


    My friend who has over 10 years experience is applying for his PPO license this month. Me and him are discussing possible business partnership,however it seems like he's interested in patrol. And he's pretty worried about starting up and wants it to be a solo operation until he gets onto his feet. Executive protection may be another avenue i'll look into. But usually don't they want someone with police or a military background experience to get noticed? Guess Ill go check out Gavin Debecker in Los Angeles.

    CA BSIS makes no logical sense to me. They make it easy as hell to get a armed permit and let someone with less than a years experience carry a firearm in public. The firearm portion of the training is less than P.C 832 training offered by POST. But writing a case and doing P.I work you need 3 years to get a license? Hmmmm, I guess it's because all of the risks involved like the legalities of stalking and harassment that might come into play. But 3 years???
    Last edited by Gshock; 02-25-2012 at 08:48 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA.
    Posts
    381

    Default

    A. got license then need to find clients
    B. has enough potential clients then need license
    C. need clients and license both

    I do believe B is best way to start business.
    I don't have boat, I don't need to get vessel license.
    IF I don't have clients, I don't need business license (Because no business).

    I offer security service for only my limo clients.
    but I need PPO license because it's different from I am allowed to provide to clients with limo business license.
    So I took PPO license.
    It means I had clients "before" I took PPO license.

    All of my clients know that I have PPO license and I'm armed.
    Still they hire EP when they needed.
    Most of them are team of off-duty LEOs.

    I know many people (my client's friends) has own in-house employee EP team.
    (most of my clients and their friends are living in Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Brentwood, and Beach front Malibu)
    some of them are Ex-Israel military or Ex-British special force.
    I don't think they (EP team of my client's friends) have PPO nor Firearm permit(they are in-house, they don't need one)

    Many Off-duty LEOs who work for my clients as EP don't have PPO either.
    one of Retired LEO has PPO and all his buddy (active LEO) work for him or make contract through him.
    sometimes, off-duty LEO call head of company (retired LEO who has PPO), " hey, I got client. Let's make contract through you".

    So, I believe "Client first then get license" would be good idea to survive.
    Good luck.

    By the way, you and your friend should decide Solo or Partner "Before" apply for PPO.
    if he apply for solo, he can't change his license to Partnership or Corporate later.
    you can be "Employee" for him but not partner if his license is Solo.
    Not many but few chauffeurs are armed to protect clients.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Vancouver, BC
    Posts
    1,836

    Default

    The reason why it is more difficult to become a private investigator in more areas and regions is because it requires a lot more training to be able to do even remotely compared to a security guard, and it requires a much higher level of competency to do your job well, compared to a security guard.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    660

    Default CA BSIS lets you carry loaded gun in public w/Zero years exp. in anything AND

    you can Qualify with video game gun that doesn't even simulate recoil.

    Obama could be qualified in CA to carry a loaded gun and he never had a job or even attended a public school (but he might not pass the DOJ/FBI background check with requires submitting actual documents, etc)....but I digress.

    The total lack of firing a real gun with real bullets scares me because it is quite common for 'virgins' to reflexively apply a 'death grip' after firing first round and unintentionally fire a second or even third un-aimed rounds.

    When I did my first Qualification we had a guy who had NEVER fired a gun before and I was like "maybe have him fire just ONE first" but no, so I hid behind a tree when he started off with 6 rounds of 9mm in a Glock.
    Last edited by Squid; 02-26-2012 at 06:20 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA.
    Posts
    381

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Gshock View Post
    [B]
    CA BSIS makes no logical sense to me. They make it easy as hell to get a armed permit and let someone with less than a years experience carry a firearm in public. The firearm portion of the training is less than P.C 832 training offered by POST. But writing a case and doing P.I work you need 3 years to get a license? Hmmmm, I guess it's because all of the risks involved like the legalities of stalking and harassment that might come into play. But 3 years???
    We have to remember that BSIS is under "Department of Consumer affairs (DCA)".
    Mission for DCA is to protect clients from us (protect clients from low quality/scam Business).

    Unlike DMV issue driver's license or DOJ/Co.Sheriff or Public Safety on other state issue CCW .
    DCA (and its Bureau) looking at relationship between Consumer(Clients) and Business only.
    They are not looking at public safety.

    Whole DCA's mission is protects Consumer from low skill or scam business by checking and granting business license to service provider include barber, beautician, Automobile repair,etc.
    Bureau of Security and Investigation service under the Department of Consumer affairs control Security business, PI business, alarm business, Repo and Lock Smith to protect consumer (client) from low skill scam business.
    Consumer affairs has separate Bureau (BSIS) in its department because those services are "little" different than Beautician or Barber but still their mission is NOT public safety.

    maybe PI would access more sensitive personal information of clients than Security and need more skill than barber.
    Last edited by Limo LA; 02-27-2012 at 10:05 PM.
    Not many but few chauffeurs are armed to protect clients.

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