At the same time as licensing for private investigators (PI) in Colorado is being abolished, Colorado Springs police officers have faced disciplinary actions, in part, for conducting off-duty investigations without have PI licenses.
Nine Colorado Springs police officers took part in off-duty operations that included placing trackers on vehicles, mounting a secret camera to monitor a house in El Paso County, digging through trash and following people.
The disciplinary action, first revealed publicly by the Colorado Springs Independent, came after officers were found to be working for iXero LLC, a private security business owned by Teller County Sheriff Jason Mikesell.
Five of the nine officers were reassigned to patrol duties. They also faced suspensions. The most severe, 60 hours (about $3,000) in lost pay, was against one officer who recruited other officers for the private investigative work.
The officers are alleged to have used Colorado Springs Police Department phones, computers and cameras, and some carried their department-issued weapons and badges.
One officer is even alleged to tried to goad a “target” into ranting disparaging remarks about President Donald Trump.
The activities were a violation of CSPD policies, including a ban on use of police equipment for private purposes and a mandate that officers receive permission in advance for outside work.
Deputies from the El Paso Contry Sheriff’s Office are also alleged to have done off-duty work for iXero.
Internal affairs investigators suggested some actions by the law enforcement officers might have violated state laws against trespassing and conducting investigations without a private investigator’s license.
However, last month, Governor Jared Polis decided to veto a bill, which would have continued the requirement that private investigators in Colorado be licensed.
The governor’s veto ends Colorado’s 9-year-old PI licensing regime as his signature was needed to extend existing regulations for another five years.
In vetoing the bill, Governor Polis, who last year vetoed three other unrelated licensing bills, said “licensing is often not superior to other forms of consumer protection.”
Jason Mikesell said: “My private business has no relationship to the Teller County Sheriff’s Office.”
He also said he takes no responsibility for the jeopardy in which officers found themselves by working for him, and that no laws were broken.
iXero, which is based in Woodland Park, describes itself as the “world's premiere security provider” and “brings together the best and most experienced security professionals from the military, law enforcement, and cyber security fields to design unparalleled security solutions for any applications.”
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