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Monthly Archives: February 2014

As I sat there and observed the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing on SB133, I was amazed at the lack of decorum exhibited by the opponents to the bill.  

Rick Johnson, was the worst, with his combative and disrespectful rants aimed at the senators on the committee, referring to them as “you people”.  One moment he was making flippant remarks that were (I suppose) meant to endear him to the lawmakers, and then he would suddenly lash out in anger at them.  He made loud comments from the gallery, completely out of order, and was simply embarrassing. He is the undisputed leader of the opposition, and he showed little or no class in the way he represented himself or his constituents.  The madder and more indignant he got, the higher his voice got.  I thought at one time I could actually see the veins in his big neck.  And when Senator Johnston started questioning him, I couldn’t believe how poorly he defended his opposition to the bill.

I had to choke down my laughter over Bob O’Block’s contention that a license would “put a guy out of business” that makes $5,000 a year part time.  I’m going to tell you that if you told me I had to pay $500 but could make $5,000 part time, I’d be all in.  You know, I’ve done about as much research as I can, and don’t see where O’Block’s “group” exists anywhere but in his own mind.  He says he represents about 45 former law enforcement professionals.  After looking at the way he conducts himself, the way he dresses, the way he presents to a panel…I’m just trying to imagine the group of rag-tag private investigators that would call him their “leader”.  His response to the senator’s questions were confusing and made no sense.  

The guy that had to leave the hearing to attend his grand-daughter’s birthday party was also embarrassing.  Does he not see that every person on that panel saw through his “aw shucks” demeanor?  Does he really expect us to believe that every single person in his association has hung a shingle as a private investigator? He represents (probably) about a dozen former federal agents that are enjoying life with a pension after having devoted a career to protecting and serving (for which I will say I’m grateful).  But to say you can’t afford a few hundred bucks for a license?  

The guy that got up there and said he charged three time what everybody else does, yet can’t afford to show up in proper attire, was humorous.  I’m sure he knew this hearing was scheduled and if he was intent on making an impression as a guy that charges $200+ an hour, he sure didn’t make that with me.  

Here’s what made me the maddest.  The total lack of understanding by the opponents about the issue of cost.  Opponent after opponent lined up and bitched about the $1,000 license fee.  This fee structure is based upon the last bill, which is going away (regardless of the outcome of SB133).  So to talk about it is absolutely worthless.    

You know, this bill has some issues.  But the opponents did absolutely noting to explain to me why we shouldn’t regulate private investigators.  

So to the opponents, this is my question:  

Why SHOULDN’T we regulate?  You’ve given me nothing to agree with you on.  Don’t talk to me about how it will put you out of business.  Its hogwash and you know it.  Don’t tell me there’s no demonstrable harm, because its been demonstrated.  Give me a real reason NOT to regulate.  

There sure are a lot of people outside of Colorado watching what’s going on in the Centennial State these days.

A blogger up in Washington has now weighed in.  But he falls short on a few points…mainly because he has no first-hand knowledge of what’s going on in Colorado.  In his first paragraph, he says, “I felt like it was quietly taking place”.  Maybe if he were sitting in the Rocky Mountains instead of the Cascades, he would feel differently.  The truth is that folks (for and against) have been meeting over the issue for months (and have been arguing for years) and there as been a lot of effort to bring mandatory licensing to Colorado.  There has also been a lot of effort to kill licensing altogether.  But as someone who is actually here in Colorado, I can promise this:  Nothing here is happening “quietly”.

The Washington blogger then goes on to say that he believes that the voluntary licensing program was a gateway to mandatory licensing.  That just shows how uninformed he is.  The voluntary licensing program was never intended to be a gateway to mandatory, otherwise it would have been written into the law.  Makes me wonder who he has been talking to. There’s only one group that believes that, and its the group that opposes any kind of PI license.

I will agree with the Washington blogger that licensing has but one purpose, and that is to provide some consumer protection.  That’s the only reason to have it.

I’ll also agree with him that this concept of having different levels of license is a bad idea.  It’s more than bad.  It’s idiotic.  It is plain silly to think that just because a PI has more “experience” than the next PI, he (or she) is any better.  I’m not sure who (or what group) is driving this whole “experience” factor, but they ought to have their heads examined. The more I read that portion of SB133, I just shake my head.

But what I most agree with is how the blogger says that “…I think that those who had influence on this bill were thinking a bit more about themselves and that reflects in the different levels of licensing.”   Yes, there is a LOT of personal politics going on here. But did you seriously think there wouldn’t be?  Its personal on all sides of this issue.

I understand why the blogger feels the need to pontificate from Washington.  Blogging is great for exposure and web ranking (SEO).  And, after all, we all have the right of free speech (although I intentionally write this under an assumed name because of the grief I will get from several sides).

But the point of this article is to say this:  If you aren’t a Colorado PI and actually involved in this issue, you should maybe just stick to your own local politics and quit trying to tell other people how to run their own affairs.  Because you have no idea what’s going on in Colorado unless you’re here.  And by giving advice on things that you only have half the information on…you’re not helping.  

As I stand back and watch the two groups involved in the licensing debate trade barbs over different points, one thing becomes clear to me.  This is not about whether opponents oppose licensing.  It is about people that oppose PPIAC.  

In a recent blog article that was written by Ryan Ross, an opponent of licensing, the opposition decided to get down in the mud and defame the character of the leader of PPIAC.  What a true display of unprofessionalism and petty opinion.  

If the opposition is trying to position itself as “representative of a majority view PI licensing in Colorado”, then I think they need to come up with some answers themselves instead of throwing a bunch of nonsense out there.  I wonder to myself how many PIs the opposing group represents.  My guess is that it is less than 50.  Rick Johnson and his CSPI group has a few dozen members.  Bob O’Block has never listed (in public) who he represents and I suspect he has less than CSPI.  Other fringe groups like retired cops and federal agents are probably less than 5% of the total number of PIs in Colorado.  

Johnson was a former President of PPIAC and championed licensing in Colorado.  He even drafted a very strong bill that would have hurt a lot of small PIs (which when I saw it, was disappointed in).  And I know that Johnson got sideways with PPIAC and left the organization amid a lot of hurt feelings.  And so he has made it a crusade to bash PPIAC whenever possible.  

So I ask you.  Is this whole push against licensing a crusade to protect the industry and the consumer?  Or is it a crusade to defeat the PPIAC?  Based upon what I have seen so far in the blogs and the listserv, it is the latter.  

I don’t do a lot of investigating these days.  But I’ve been around this industry for a long time.  I don’t belong to either organization because of the petty politics that are always present in any group like this.  Everyone has an agenda and everyone has a personal opinion.  Just like me.  But I have friends in both groups and I hear what people are saying. And it is clear to me what Johnson and O’block are trying to do.  

I wonder if its clear to you, too?  I wonder if you (as a professional) enjoy being represented by someone that does not have your best interest at heart and is merely using YOU as the “reason” to oppose licensing…when you are merely a means to an end: Ruining PPIAC and anything it stands for.