An Embarrassment To The Profession

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.  

  1. Michael said:

    Answer the question WHY there should be regulation in the first place. Life seemed to be going just fine before the voluntary and now mandatory licensing “necessity” to “protect” our industry.

    You espouse such heights on “professionalism” yet you quip as though you’re a gossip columnist more than an self-anointed professional. Pot + kettle + black ….

    • There should be regulation to ensure that people who are entrusting an investigator with sensitive information or situations are not entrusting a person who will lie, steal or cheat them. I’m not saying you would. I don’t know you. But if I hired you, I would want to know that you had gone through a background check and a test to make sure you knew what you were talking about on the most basic of levels.

    • Mandatory licensing has been sought since 1977, when declared unconstitutional. Colorado’s PI licensing law – the first in the country and the first law passed by Colorado as a state (so the history goes) lasted 100 years. The change of licensure from mandatory to voluntary was by bill sponsor Rep. Bob Gardner. No stakeholders suggested this and Rep. Gardner would not budge from voluntary. Sen. Newell, who reluctantly sponsored mandatory and agreed to the amendment to voluntary, has stated this multiple times over the past couple years. For some unknown reason, those opposed to licensure fought a hard battle against voluntary – never figured out why it mattered if it didn’t matter. The current mandatory fiscal note does not reflect near $1,094 for licensure. Of course, as happening now in MD (for process servers), DORA (and MD’s equivalent) has full control of costs and fees, which cannot be set in statute as most other states can. As to other concerns – from consumer protection to enhancing our professionalism – this is best accomplished through through reasonable mandatory licensure and fees, to include background checks and verified experience. Even those that have opposed only the last few years, while being licensed in another state for more than a decade, had arguments of consumer protection and professionalism – all of which they hypocritically have opposing and insincere positions now.

  2. Rick Johnson here,the incompetent,loud rude, embarrassing, undisciplined leader of the Colorado licensing opposition, I think I got it all… and I will identify myself-how bout you? Before I get started,you would do yourself a great service understanding what the word ‘assertion’ means.The majority of your assertions are just that.MIght I I suggest less time critiquing and more time gathering facts so you don’t embarrass yourself.

    Thank you for your comments,your personal critique of me while I testified (you forgot to mention it was entertaining,lots of laughter and you have no idea of how well I know those that I testified in front of-but facts have no place in your assertions and that is all what they were. So here goes:

    It has been shown on a national level that licensing does little or anything as it relates to consumer protection,please go to the various states that do regulate,find out the number of pi’s regulated FACT

    !- complaints filed, the complaint type,what was the discipline and what the complaint was all about. The complaints are
    low in relation to the number of pi’s regulated in any given state. The majority of these complaints nationally have to do with a pi not following administrative rules -didn’t file in time,check bounced,signature missing,etc. And yes some of the complaints have to do with ‘shoddy’ work,which the government can not get involved,contract disputes and complaints where money was taken and no work performed. Very few of the complaints filed are criminal in nature and no question criminal conduct should be prosecuted One last thing-many complaints will come from pi’s complaining about other pis. This is the kinda of stuff that will drive the license fee up. FACT

    Lets not forget all the ways a Colorado pi can be sanctioned in Colorado, title 18 Colorado Criminal code,Colorado Consumer Protection Act,civil court,small claims court,BBB if a member and firing squad-shucks, just kiddin, you think we are in need of additional laws? FACT

    2-At the moment the license cost has not been determined. Why is that such a big deal-simple, the current volunteer licensing program puts the cost of the ONE YEAR license at $1095.00. The cost is a direct result of numbers provided several years ago by the same group that is pushing the new effort of mandatory licensing, another miscalculation and we all are gonna be screwed.FACT

    3-Think again,if anyone thinks this about consumer protection that jut is not the case: If so why is it that the Chair of PPIAC came to the March 2013 meeting of the CSPI and in front of no more then 30 attendees, and told us we need more licensed pis to lower the cost for them. At NO time were the words ‘Consumer Protection’ spoken. Those words are only used by those pushing for the license when all else fails like now. FACT

    4-Currently there is a $40,000.00 deficit in the state fund as a result of the failed voluntary licensing program. Others and I testified against the original proposal in 2011. Our testimony then had to do with the fiscal impact,we had a idea that the program would find itself in financial difficulty. Who should pay that $40,000.00-the taxpayer,or is it going to be incorporated in the licensing fee if the current bill passes.

    5-As the current bill stands their is NO definition of requirements to be a pi,they will be determined by the director who will be running the program on behalf of the government.Come on…who does that?

    6-What about those trying to enter the profession? Colorado unlike other states does not have big agencies. I would venture the majority of Colorado pi’s do this on a part time business and those that do not have a small operation and no way will they take on a newbie-taxes,insurance-not gonna happen. FACT

    Complaints here in Colorado-you bet we have our fair share of clowns that should move on to a another profession. BUT,if a pi gets themselves in trouble NOT acting in the capacity of pi,should we count that ? Example,In Aspen several years ago, A Colorado pi took advantage of a close friend of his that was the owner of a very successful restaurant. As I recall he embezzled over $100,000.00. Tell me, what does that have to do with the bad act Colorado pi,he just happened to be a pi.

    What reasons are there to license Colorado pi’s. The words: ‘Licensed Colorado Private Investigator ‘ sound even to me.Peel back the onion skin and you might change your mind,Tell me what pi would go along with the following:

    1-What is this thing going cost me in dollars,time state interference,etc

    2-What is the return on my investment

    3-if I did not favor licensing past why would I do so now

    4- the legitimate complaints really justify all this extra none sense.

    Don’t forget we have licensing in Colorado,we have the exact program that went into law several years ago. Regardless of the license cost ,you got what you wanted-go pay for. it.YOU and others that prefer not to pay the high fee for something you believe in is your business ,but don’t try and sell the consumer protection story-would this blog be in existence if the license cost were $200.00-NO,that is my point. FACT

    KInda makes you wonder how all of the Colorado pi’s including me,have been able to stay in business for the last 40 years without government interference.

    Whoever you might be,I really don’t have to explain to you or anyone what you thought my testimony and others that oppose the bill. Ask the 300 former students that have gone through my academy-will tell you, I am a passionate guy when it comes to this industry,and lectures the same way he testified at the hearing.You have no idea of the personal relationships I have with the judiciary committee members,so I will leave at that.Another assertion on your part,I will assume you have little if any court time as a witness. FACT

    To many of us,,this is a big deal,emotions will run high-government involvement,cost, return on our investment,etc. I wonder how you would advise a client what to do under similar circumstances. I testified that if this bill passes,we will be here again in two years trying to make it go away as a result of uncontrolled cost and I stand by that statement. Did it ever occur to you the reason the Colorado regulatory agency who will run this program has remained neutral? This is a solution looking for problem, and lets all remember, it is more important of kill a bad bill then to pass a good one.You clearly have no idea of how many pis from other states and non related to the pi businesses are questioning the sanity of those who want to invite the government into our business-some would give up their @$^*%$ to get them out of their business. FACT

    The most embarrassing issue here,why would you and others allow the government into your business when at the moment you have no idea of how this might effect your lively hood. So many unanswered questions and you and others are willing to follow the pied piper having no idea of what lies in front of you.There is a reason some pi’s are getting $200 per hour-those are the ones who are problem solvers. FACT

    The license cost-if not a big deal why don’t you pay the current fee? I will bet the only answer to that is, the fee is to high-my point,this has nothing to do with consumer protection.

    Lets remember this is the same legislature that brought legalization of marijuna to Colorado and the dumbest gun laws in the country-you really gonna trust this ship of fools to get involved in your business??? FACT FACT FACT

    By the way, LICENSED really dosen’t mean much. I am of the opinion that credibility is earned not purchased. At the end of the day we can agree to disagree with one another. I didn’t have the time to critique those who favored licensing as you did. Did you testify,or was it your job to be…? .Tell you what-I am more then happy to debate you on these issues at the next CSPI meeting-I will schedule this for the April meeting,lets record and put on you tube for all to see, let them be the judge as it relates to the licensing of Colorado pi’s. Will you accept, and if not how about a beer on me and see if we can work out our differences. I look forward to your public response on this blog. One last thing,would you identify yourself? I do have an idea of who this is,left to many clues.

    Sincerely yours,

    Rick Johnson

  3. I responded to the above several hours ago,is it going be posted.

  4. James said:

    The person who wrote this sounds like to me a complete fool. The people who are pushing this bill think all PI’s like it
    When in fact there brain is where the sun don’t shine. They were not happy with there volunteer program because they don’t want to pay out the larger fees for a license system they started. Now they are out to screw those who don’t want the bill.. Well it’s not over yet……….

    • Au contraire mon frere. As I understand it, the reason PPIAC is pushing mandatory licensing is because they’ve always pushed for mandatory licensing. I think the only part you have right is that they DO want to make sure you’re licensed, even if you don’t want to be.

      You think the people that are pushing this think all private investigators like it? Then you’re the fool. As a matter of fact, I KNOW that they know some don’t (apparently including you).

      And it’s their, not there. See note above to Bob O’Block.

      • True, from consumer protection to enhancing our professionalism – this is best accomplished through through reasonable mandatory licensure and fees, to include background checks and verified experience. Even those that have opposed only the last few years, while being licensed in another state for more than a decade, had arguments of consumer protection and professionalism – all of which they hypocritically have opposing and insincere positions now.

  5. Dean Beers said:

    Thanks for sharing this. I noted the same.

  6. I would think if you did exhaustive research on the C.I.I.A, you would have learned how to properly spell and punctuate my name moron!!!

    Bob Oblock

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