By Susanna Speier
Denver Private Investigator Blogger
The 2016 Professional Private Investigators Association of Colorado (PPIAC) Rocky Mountain Private Investigator’s Conference, which takes place September 22-24th at the Renaissance Hotel in Denver, Colorado will provide training and networking opportunities for professional private investigators throughout the Rocky Mountain region.
This year’s focus topics ---which include surveillance, counter surveillance, surveillance detection, skip tracing, report writing, data mining, computer forensics, witness interviews and trial preparation--- will be taught on the basic and advance level over the course of two days (Friday and Saturday) and culminate in an awards banquet on Friday night.
Whether you’re new to the private investigator industry, the PPIAC conference, and/or both, we scoured the internet for guides on how to get the most out of a conference and these are our five favorites:
This is the first suggestion made by the Harvard Business Review and according to Harvard Business School professor, Francesca Gino, creating a priority wish list of people you’d like to meet then sending them an email introducing yourself –ideally through a mutual friend or colleague—will be welcome. Especially if the person is presenting. If the person is not presenting, you can ask to sit together during a presentation or grab coffee after.
Snap photos of contacts with lanyard
“Put a face to the name of the people you meet by taking pictures that include their faces and name tags,” suggests Legalproductivity.com While it may seem easy to put names with faces a week or even a month after a conference, if you’re attending an annual conference like PPIAC where a lot of people return year after year, and you have trouble putting names with faces, this is a great strategy.
Don’t make non-work plans for the evenings
US News’ advice may not the advice you want to follow while you’re smack in the middle of downtown Denver but that Red Rocks concert you go you is costing you valuable networking time, not to mention energy that you could be available for a last minute dinner or outing.
Follow up after the event
Isn’t this a little obvious? Entrepreneur’s advice is nevertheless critical to reaping the benefits of the time, money and effort you’re invested in these two days of networking and training. Even better, they suggest following up on Linkedin.
Bring more business cards than you think you’ll need
The Denver Private Investigator Blogger would like you to learn from her mistakes and always bring more business cards than you think you need to the conference. Maybe another obvious one but business cards are a pain to replicate by hand so just bring more.
By the Denver Private Investigator Blog
By Ryan Ross
Ross Investigators, P.C.
Colorado regulators have known for months that a private investigator is operating illegally without a license, and although they told him to stop, they aren't referring him for criminal prosecution and they have told the person who complained about the private investigator that she’s going to have to file another complaint if she wants him to stop.
“It’s very disheartening,” says Toni Ingram told the Denver Private Investigator Blog. “In Colorado it seems like the (private investigators) that are doing things illegally always seem to skate by with no ramifications.”
Colorado regulators issued Jacob Ames of Broomfield a cease-and-desist order last July telling him to stop calling himself a private investigator. Under a Colorado law passed in 2015, private investigators operating in Colorado aren’t allowed to call themselves that unless they get a license from the state. Ames hasn’t.
Ingram filed a complaint against Ames in eight months ago. She says Ames is thumbing his nose at regulators by continuing to call himself a private investigator on his LinkedIn page. Ingram says regulators told her she can file another complaint against Ames. “I will,” Ingram writes to the Denver Private Investigator Blog, “but I have no idea how long that will take to wind its way through the process again.”
Ames told regulators in a July 8 email that he hasn’t obtained a private investigators license “due to monetary issues.” The cost of a license is between $300 and $400.
Ames told the Denver Private Investigator Blog he works missing persons and death investigations and that 95 percent of the work is pro bono, and without income he has no way of paying for a license.
He acknowledged being in what he calls “technical” violation of the law requiring him to be licensed but he said he’s been trying to eliminate all references to himself as a private investigator.
It’s difficult to impossible, he said, because his business card has been circulating for years, and is posted in many places online over which he has no control. “I’m trying to cover everything,” he said, “but there’s a lot out there on me.”
As for his LinkedIn page, Ames says he wasn’t aware it calls him a private investigator. “I barely use that,” he says of LinkedIn. Following his conversation with the Private Investigator Blog, Ames updated his LinkedIn profile with the description, “C.P.S. Investigations Consultant, Armed Security Patrol and Protective Services K9-Unit.”
Ames also said he had a phone conservation with a state regulator that the regulator said was “off the record” in which the regulator says the licensing law was “all about the money” and not about increasing the standards of private investigators. He said the regulator urged him to get the funds necessary to obtain a license.
As for Ingram, Ames said she filed the complaint against him because of a “personal grudge or vendetta” stemming from his refusal to endorse or use psychic services that she endorsed or offered to help solve missing persons and death investigations. Ames told regulators Ingram had joined a group of psychics and had “attempted to get involved (in) or obstruct many investigations of missing persons” and “has been a nuisance in the community of Private Investigations.”
In August, regulators decided to refer the Ames case to the Office of Expedited Settlement. That’s the most recent action indicated in the records released to the Denver Private Investigator Blog in response to a records request submitted citing the state’s open records law.
In an Aug 9 email to regulators, Ames wrote that Ingram’s complaint is “frivolous” because, he said, he had stopped calling himself a private investigator and no one else was calling him one except for the operators of a web site over whether he says he has no control. “So all should be well,” he wrote. He didn’t reference his LinkedIn page.
The Ames case is important for Colorado private investigators because it’s a test of what regulators are willing to do to defend the state law requiring investigators to get licenses. If unlicensed private investigators get nothing more than a “cease and desist” letter from regulators, then private investigators who get licenses and pay the fee will wonder whether they need to bother.
Toni Ingram is the mother of Morgan Ingram, who was found dead Dec. 2, 2011 in her family’s home outside of Carbondale. Morgan was 20. Authorities ruled her death a suicide. Toni Ingram says a stalker or stalkers murdered her daughter.
Ingram says investigator Ames first contacted her in 2012, offering to help. She says she did not accept the offer. At the time Ames was free to call himself a private investigator because Colorado did not have a licensing requirement. But the licensing requirement became effective Jun 1, 2015.
On Aug. 5, 2015, Ingram says, Ames contacted her again, this time to complain and she and an associate were trying to help a client of his who, Ingram says, also had a daughter murdered. Ames intimated that didn't want them helping his client. Ingram says Ames told his client that he had investigated Morgan’s death and concluded that Morgan had been killed by her brother. Ingram says that’s “ a horrible lie.”
Ames is “ a bottom feeder,” she wrote in the complaint she sent to Colorado regulators, “praying on grieving families that have lost a loved one to murder, as well as families of missing loves ones.”
Regulators told Ames in a February 19 letter that calling himself a private investigator without getting a license is a misdemeanor. He didn’t respond. They issued their case-and-desist order July 5. They offered Ames a hearing. He declined, and said he would stop calling himself a private investigator.
The Ames case is apparently the first one in which regulators have issued a cease-and-desist order, but regulators aren't being forthcoming with their outcome of their review of other complaints. Enforcement supervisor Dennis Larson says he will not release any records pertaining to enforcement cases that are “ongoing,” citing a provision in the records law allowing public officials to withhold such records.
The Denver Private Investigator Blog reported last March that regulators had received complaints against five Colorado private investigators. They were accused of operating without a license, harassing the husband of a woman who had children by a prior marriage on behalf of the ex-husband/father, not responding to a request for a $400 refund after a client complained that the private investigator has failed to disclose he knew someone he had been hired to investigate, acting “very unethically and inappropriately” when while working for a defense attorney representing someone charged with sex assault when he tried to contact the alleged victim at her residence and spoke with her boyfriend, and calling someone more than 100 times “in a day” and leaving 27 voice-mail messages calling the complainant “filthy names, cussing me out and baiting me to answer the phone.”
These complaints are presumably still under review.
By Ryan Ross
Ross Investigators, P.C.
Colorado has added about 327 licensed private investigators since PIs were required to obtain licenses last year and figures obtained from the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) show it is the third smallest among those regulated by the State of Colorado.
State regulators issued 327 licenses to private investigators since the licensing requirement went into effect June 1, 2015. Add that to the 337 licenses issued before the licensing became mandatory and that’s about 660 licenses, 580 of which are active.
Those numbers are higher than the projections made by legislative analysts while the licensing program was being considered in 2014. Those analysts predicting only 400 licenses would be issued and only $136,000 of revenue would be generated.
The good news for private investigators is that the licensing program is on solid financial footing. At $262 per license, the program generated about $153,000 during the most recent fiscal year, which is about 11 percent more than projections. The current licensing renewal fee is $276.
These numbers are small, compared to other Colorado professions. In fact, only two other DORA regulated professions in Colorado have numbers this small: mid-wives (330) and naturopathic doctors (133). In the later cases, Coloradans’ lives and well-being can be damaged by unscrupulous or poorly-trained professionals. The damages created by unlicensed investigators aren’t as clear.
Colorado issues licenses for 37 professions and services. Including all license types, there are two others that are smaller than the investigators: ski lifts (563) and funeral homes and crematoriums (359).
The figures for investigators show predictable renewal rates. Of the 257 level 2 investigators who obtained licenses prior to last year’s June 1st deadline, all but seven percent renewed. Of the 80 level 1 investigators who did, 20 percent did not renew.
One licensee had his license suspended because of a failure to pay child-support. No licenses have been revoked by regulators.
By Susanna Speier
Denver Private Investigator Blogger
Today is Labor Day, the nationwide holiday celebrated the 1st Monday of the month of September, according to the US Department of Labor. It is "dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers" so Happy Labor Day, to those who are celebrating.
Over a hundred years ago, the Pinkerton National Detective Agency served as a private militia to industrialists. Benjamin Welton's January 2015 article in The Atlantic details how this agency --with its robust database of newspaper clippings, mugshots and measurements, filled in where the federal and local law enforcement of the time fell short. Ultimately the Pinkerton's explicitly violent, anti-union stance overwhelmed them with negative press thereby alienating the literate middle class.
"Private detective novels set in the modern day are rarely published anymore" Welton concludes before going on to point out that the cases most private investigators take on today --infidelity, divorce and social scandals-- would have been shunned by the Pinkertons.
Today, the private detective industry remains un-unionized. A hard working, private investigator in Denver, Colorado can earn an average of $51,894 a year, according to Glassdoor.com's September 1, 2016 report based on 36 salaries. This is almost 50% higher than the average, $34,270 annual that PIs earn nationwide.
Last year we reported the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) average was They average $45,740 per year or $21.99 per hour with finance, insurance and legal investigation jobs paying the highest. That was last year, though. The current BLS report reports the average (based on 2015 data) is $45,610 a year and $21.93 an hour which is a drop in $130 a year or six cents an hour.
More surprising was the job outlook shift which, last year, stated "the field is expected to grow by 11% between 2012 (when the data was complied) and 2022 which is considered average growth." This year's report using data from 2014 and projects through 2024, however was less optimistic, predicting the field to only grow 5% during that time which, though a lower number, is also average.
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