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Private Investigator License – Pennsylvania

Private Investigator Licensing – State of Pennsylvania

http://www.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/LI/LI/US/PDF/1953/0/0361..PDF

PRIVATE DETECTIVE ACT OF 1953, THE
Act of Aug. 21, 1953, P.L. 1273, No. 361 Cl. 22

Section 2. Definitions.–(a) “Private detective business”

shall mean and include the business of private detective,
private detective business, the business of investigator, or
the business of watch, guard, or patrol agency.
(b) “Private detective business” shall also mean and
include, separately or collectively, the making, for hire,
reward, or for any consideration whatsoever, of any
investigation or investigations for the purpose of obtaining
information with reference to any of the following matters,
notwithstanding the fact that other functions and services may
also be performed for fee, hire, or reward:
(1) Crime or wrongs done or threatened against the
government of the United States of America or any state or
territory of the United States of America.
(2) The identity, habits, conduct, movements, whereabouts,
affiliations, associations, transactions, reputation, or
character, of any person, group of persons, association,
organization, society, other groups of persons, partnership,
or corporation.
(3) The credibility of witnesses or other persons.
(4) The whereabouts of missing persons.(5) The location or recovery of lost or stolen property.
(6) The causes and origin of, or responsibility for, fires,
or libels, or losses, or accidents, or damage, or injuries, to
real or personal property.
(7) The affiliation, connection, or relation, of any person,
partnership, or corporation, with any union, organization,
society, or association, or with any official member or
representative thereof.
(8) With reference to any person or persons seeking
employment in the place of any person or persons who have quit
work by reason of any strike.
(9) With reference to the conduct, honesty, efficiency,
loyalty, or activities, of employes, agents, contractors and
subcontractors.
(10) The securing of evidence to be used before any
authorized investigating committee, board of award, board of
arbitration, or in the trial of civil or criminal cases.
(11) The furnishing, for hire or reward, of watchmen, or
guards, or private patrolmen, or other persons, to protect
persons or property, or to prevent the theft or the unlawful
taking of goods, wares and merchandise, or to prevent the
misappropriation or concealment of goods, wares or merchandise,
money, bonds, stocks, choses in action, notes, or other valuable
documents, papers, and articles of value, or to procure the
return thereof, or the performing of the service of such guard
or other person, or any of said purposes.

The foregoing shall not be deemed to include persons engaged
in the business of investigators for or adjusters for insurance
companies, nor persons in the exclusive employment of common
carriers subject to regulation by the interstate commerce
commission or the Public Utility Commission of the Commonwealth
of Pennsylvania, nor any telephone, telegraph or other
telecommunications company subject to regulation by the Federal
Communications Commission or the Public Utility Commission of
the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or an employe of any such
company while performing any investigatory activities engaged
in by his employer, or investigators in the employment of credit
bureaus.
((b) amended Dec. 3, 1987, P.L.405, No.83)
(c) The terms “the business of detective agency,” the
“business of investigator,” the “business of watch, guard or
patrol agency,” and the terms “private detective” or
“investigator” shall mean and include any person, partnership,
association, or corporation, engaged in the private detective
business, as defined in subsections (a) and (b) of this section,
with or without the assistance of any employe or employes.
(d) The term “commissioner” shall mean the Commissioner of
the Pennsylvania State Police.
(e) The term “patrol agency” shall mean and include any
agency and/or individuals (including therein security guards,
uniformed or nonuniformed) employed full time or part time, on
a temporary or permanent basis, who, for any consideration
whatsoever, patrols, guards, protects, monitors, regulates,
secures or watches over persons and/or property, either real
or personal. This term specifically includes any person employed
in any capacity, for any length of time, to protect property,
either real or personal, against labor strikes or against any
person or persons who have become a party to any labor strike.
((e) added May 26, 1988, P.L.405, No.68)

Section 3. Licenses.–(a) No person, partnership,
association, or corporation, shall engage in the business of
private detective, or the business of investigator, or thebusiness of watch, guard or patrol agency, for the purpose of
furnishing guards or patrolmen or other persons to protect
persons or property, or to prevent the theft or the unlawful
taking of goods, wares and merchandise, or to prevent the
misappropriation or concealment of goods, wares, merchandise,
money, bonds, stocks, documents, and other articles of value,
for hire or reward, or advertise his or their business to be
that of detective, or of a detective agency, or investigator,
or watch, guard or patrol agency, notwithstanding the name or
title used in describing such agency, or notwithstanding the
fact that other functions and services may also be performed
for fee, hire or reward, without having first obtained a license
so to do as hereinafter provided.
(b) No person, partnership, association, or corporation,
shall engage in the business of furnishing or supplying for
fee, hire, or any consideration or reward, information as to
the personal character or activities of any person, partnership,
corporation, society, or association, or any person or group
of persons, or as to the character or kind of the business and
occupation of any person, partnership, association, or
corporation, or own or conduct or maintain a bureau or agency
for the above mentioned purposes, except exclusively as to the
financial rating, standing, and credit responsibility of
persons, partnerships, associations, or corporations, or as to
the personal habits and financial responsibility of applicants
for insurance, indemnity bonds, or commercial credit, or of
claimants under insurance policies: Provided, That the business
so exempted does not embrace other activities described in
subsections (a), (b) and (c) of section two of this act, without
having first obtained, as hereafter provided, a license so to
do, for each such bureau or agency, and for each and every
sub-agency, office and branch office to be owned, conducted,
managed, or maintained by such persons, partnership,
association, or corporation, for the conduct of such business.
((b) amended Dec. 3, 1987, P.L.405, No.83)
(c) Nothing contained in this section shall be deemed to
include the business of investigators for or adjusters for
insurance companies, nor persons in the exclusive employment
of common carriers subject to regulation by the interstate
commerce commission or the Public Utility Commission of the
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, nor any telephone, telegraph or
other telecommunications company subject to regulation by the
Federal Communications Commission or the Public Utility
Commission of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or an employe
of any such company while performing any investigatory
activities engaged in by his employer, or investigators in the
employment of credit bureaus. ((c) added Dec. 3, 1987, P.L.405,
No.83)

Section 4. Application for Licenses.–Any person,
partnership, association, or corporation, intending to conduct
a private detective business, the business of investigator, or
the business of watch, guard or patrol agency, or the business
of a detective agency, and any person, partnership, association,
or corporation, intending to conduct the business of furnishing
or supplying information as to the personal character of any
person, or as to the character or kind of the business and
occupation of any person, partnership, corporation, society,
or association, or any person or group of persons, or intending
to own, conduct, manage or maintain a bureau or agency for the
above mentioned purposes, or, while engaged in other lawful
business activities, also intending to engage in any one or
more of the activities set forth in subsections (a), (b) and(c) of section two of this act, except exclusively as to the
financial rating, standing and credit responsibility of persons,
partnerships, associations, or corporations, shall, for each
such bureau or agency, and for each and every sub-agency, office
and branch office to be owned, conducted, managed or maintained
by such person, partnership, association or corporation for the
conduct of such business, file, in the office of the clerk of
the court of quarter sessions of the county wherein the
principal office of such business is located, a written
application, duly signed and verified, as follows:
(a) If the applicant is a person, the application shall be
signed and verified by such person, and if the applicant is a
partnership or association, the application shall be signed and
verified by each individual composing or intending to compose
such partnership or association. The application shall state
the full name, age, residence, present and previous occupations,
of each person or individual so signing the same, that he is a
citizen of the United States, and shall also specify the name
of the city, borough, township, or incorporated town, stating
the street and number if the premises have a street and number,
and otherwise such apt description as will reasonably indicate
the location thereof, where is to be located the principal place
of business, and the bureau, agency, sub-agency, office or
branch office for which the license is desired, and such further
facts as may be required by the court of quarter sessions, to
show the good character, competency and integrity of each person
or individual so signing such application. Each person or
individual signing such application shall, together with such
application, submit to the court of quarter sessions his
photograph, in duplicate, in passport size, and also
fingerprints of his two hands, recorded in such manner as may
be specified by the court of quarter sessions. Before approving
such application, it shall be the duty of the court of quarter
sessions to compare such fingerprints with fingerprints of
criminals now or hereafter filed in the records of the
Pennsylvania State Police. Every such applicant shall establish,
to the satisfaction of the court of quarter sessions and by at
least two duly acknowledged certificates, that such applicant,
if he be a person, or, in the case of a partnership,
association, or corporation, at least one member of such
partnership, association, or corporation, has been regularly
employed as a detective, or shall have been a member of the
United States government investigative service, a sheriff, a
member of the Pennsylvania State Police, or a member of a city
police department of a rank or grade higher than that of
patrolman, for a period of not less than three years. Such
application shall be approved as to each person or individual
so signing the same by not less than five reputable citizens
of the community in which such applicant resides or transacts
business, or in which it is proposed to own, conduct, manage
or maintain the bureau, agency, sub-agency, office or branch
office for which the license is desired, each of whom shall
certify that he has personally known the said person or
individual for a period of at least five years prior to the
filing of such application, that he has read such application
and believes each of the statements made therein to be true,
that such person is honest, of good character, and competent,
and not related or connected to the person so certifying by
blood or marriage. The certificate of approval shall be signed
by such reputable citizens and duly verified and acknowledged
by them before an officer authorized to take oaths andacknowledgment of deeds. ((a) amended Apr. 30, 1957, P.L.98,
No.40)
(b) If the applicant is a corporation, the application shall
be signed and verified by the president, secretary and treasurer
thereof, and shall specify the name of the corporation, the
date and place of its incorporation, the location of its
principal place of business, and the name of the city, borough,
township, or incorporated town, stating the street and number
if the premises have a street and number, and otherwise such
apt description as will reasonably indicate the location
thereof, where is to be located the bureau, agency, sub-agency,
office or branch office for which the license is desired, the
amount of the corporation’s outstanding paid up capital stock
and whether paid in cash or property, and, if in property, the
nature of the same, and shall be accompanied by a duly certified
copy of its certificate of incorporation. Each and every
requirement of clause (a) of this section as to a person or
individual member of a partnership or association shall apply
to the president, secretary and treasurer, and each such
officer, his successor and successors, shall, prior to entering
upon the discharge of his duties, sign and verify a like
statement, approved in like manner, as is by clause (a)
prescribed in the case of a person or individual member of a
partnership or association. In the event of the death,
resignation or removal of such officer, due notice of that fact
shall forthwith be given in writing to the court of quarter
sessions, together with a copy of the minutes of any meeting
of the board of directors of said corporation, certified by the
secretary, indicating the death, resignation or removal of such
officer, and the election or designation of the successor of
such deceased, resigned or removed officer.
Section 5. Enforcement of Act; Investigations.–(a) The
district attorneys of the various counties shall have the power
to enforce the provisions of this act, and, upon complaint of
any person, or on his own initiative, to investigate any
violation thereof, or to investigate the business, business
practices and business methods of any person, partnership,
association or corporation applying for or holding a license
as a private detective or investigator if, in the opinion of
the district attorney, such investigation is warranted. Each
such applicant or licensee shall be obliged, on request of the
district attorney, to supply such information as may be required
concerning his or its business, business practices or business
methods, or proposed business practices or methods.
(b) For the purpose of enforcing the provisions of this act
and in making investigations relating to any violation thereof,
and for the purpose of investigating the character, competency
and integrity of the applicants or licensees hereunder, and for
the purpose of investigating the business, business practices
and business methods of any applicant or licensee, or of the
officers or agents thereof, the district attorney, acting by
such officer or person in the office of the district attorney
as the district attorney may designate, shall have the power
to subpoena and bring before the officer or person so designated
any person in the county, and require the production of any
books or papers which he deems relevant to the inquiry, and
administer an oath to, and take testimony of, any person, or
cause his deposition to be taken, with the same fees and mileage
and in the same manner as prescribed by law for civil cases in
a court of record, except that any applicant, or licensee, or
officer, or agent thereof, shall not be entitled to such fees
or mileage. Any person duly subpoenaed who fails to obey suchsubpoena without reasonable cause, or without such cause refuses
to be examined or to answer any legal or pertinent question as
to the character or qualification of such applicant or licensee
or such applicant’s or licensee’s business, business practices
and methods, or such violations, shall be guilty of a
misdemeanor, and, upon conviction thereof, shall be sentenced
to pay a fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500) or
to undergo imprisonment for not more than one (1) year, or both.
The testimony of witnesses in any such proceeding shall be under
oath, which the district attorney or his subordinate designated
by the district attorney may administer, and wilful, false
swearing in any such proceeding shall be punishable as perjury.
Section 6. Issuance of Licenses; Fees; Bonds.–(a) When
the application shall have been examined, and such further
inquiry and investigation made as the court of quarter sessions
or the district attorney shall deem proper, and when the court
of quarter sessions shall be satisfied therefrom of the good
character, competency and integrity of such applicant, or, if
the applicant be a partnership, association or corporation, of
the individual members or officers thereof, and a period of ten
days from the date of the filing of the application shall have
passed, the court of quarter sessions shall issue and deliver
to such applicant a certificate of license to conduct such
business, and to own, conduct or maintain a bureau, agency,
sub-agency, office or branch office for the conduct of such
business on the premises stated in such application, upon the
applicant’s paying to the court of quarter sessions for each
such certificate of license so issued, for the use of the
county, a license fee of two hundred dollars ($200), if the
applicant be an individual, or of three hundred dollars ($300),
if a partnership, association or corporation, and upon the
applicant’s executing, delivering and filing in the office of
the clerk of the court of quarter sessions a corporate bond in
the sum of ten thousand dollars ($10,000), conditioned for the
faithful and honest conduct of such business by such applicant,
which surety bond must be written by a corporate surety company
authorized to do business in this Commonwealth as surety, and
approved by the court of quarter sessions with respect to its
form, manner of execution and sufficiency. The license granted
pursuant to this act shall last for a period of two years, but
shall be revocable at all times by the court of quarter sessions
for cause shown. In the event of such revocation or of a
surrender of such license, no refund shall be made in respect
of any license fee paid under the provisions of this act. Such
bond shall be executed to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and
any person injured by the violation of any of the provisions
of this act, or by the wilful, malicious and wrongful act of
the principal or employe, may bring an action against such
principal, employe, or both, on said bond, in his own name, to
recover damages suffered by reason of such wilful, malicious
and wrongful act: Provided, That the aggregate liability of the
surety for all such damages shall in no event exceed the sum
of such bond. In each and every suit or prosecution arising out
of this act, the agency of any employe as to the employment and
as to acting in the course of his employment shall be presumed.
The license certificate shall be in a form to be prescribed
by the court of quarter sessions, and shall specify the full
name of the applicant, the location of the principal office or
place of business, and the location of the bureau, agency,
sub-agency, office or branch office for which the license is
issued, the date on which it is issued, the date on which it
will expire, and the names and residences of the applicant orapplicants filing the statement required by section four upon
which the license is issued, and in the event of a change of
any such address or residence, the court of quarter sessions
shall be duly notified in writing of such change within
twenty-four hours thereafter, and failure to give such
notification shall be sufficient cause for revocation of such
license. No such license shall be issued to a person under the
age of twenty-five years.
(b) Except as hereinafter provided in this subsection, no
such license shall be issued to any person who has been
convicted in this State or any other state or territory of a
felony, or any of the following offenses: (1) illegally using,
carrying or possessing a pistol or other dangerous weapon; (2)
making or possessing burglar’s instruments; (3) buying or
receiving stolen property; (4) unlawful entry of a building;
(5) aiding escape from prison; (6) unlawfully possessing or
distributing habit forming narcotic drugs; (7) picking pockets
or attempting to do so; (8) soliciting any person to commit
sodomy or other lewdness; (9) recklessly endangering another
person; (10) making terroristic threats; or (11) committing
simple assault.
Except as hereinafter in this subsection provided, no license
shall be issued to any person whose license has been previously
revoked by the court of common pleas or the authorities of any
other state or territory because of conviction of any of the
crimes or offenses specified in this section. The provisions
of this subsection shall not prevent the issuance of a license
to any person who, subsequent to his conviction, shall have
received executive pardon therefor removing this disability.
((b) amended May 26, 1988, P.L.405, No.68)
(c) There shall be kept in the office of the clerk of the
court of quarter sessions a bulletin board, in a place
accessible to the general public, on which shall be posted, at
noon on Friday of each week, the following: a statement of all
pending applications for licenses under this act, giving the
name of the applicant, and whether individual, partnership,
association or corporation, and the proposed business address,
a similar statement of all such licenses issued during the
preceding week, a similar statement of all such licenses revoked
during the preceding week.
(d) No holder of an employment agency license shall be
licensed under this act. While holding a license under this
act, a licensee shall not, simultaneously, hold an employment
agency license, or have financial interest in, or participate
in the control and management of, any employment agency, or any
other person, partnership, association or corporation engaged
in private detective business, except that a licensee hereunder
may own or possess stock in any corporation whose only business
is to undertake, for hire, the preparation of payrolls and the
transportation of payrolls, moneys, securities and other
valuables, or whose only business is to provide or furnish
protective or guard service to the government of the United
States, or any subdivision, department or agency of the
government of the United States. In the event of the filing in
the office of the clerk of the court of quarter sessions of a
verified statement of objections to the issuance of a license
under the provisions of this act, no license shall be issued
to such applicant until all objections shall have been heard
in a hearing and a determination made by the court of quarter
sessions.
Section 7. Refund of Fees.–Moneys heretofore or hereafter
received by the court of quarter sessions pursuant to this actmay, within three years from the receipt thereof, be refunded
to the person entitled thereto on satisfactory proof that:
(1) Such moneys were in excess of the amount required by
this act, to the extent of such excess.
(2) The license for which application was made has been
denied.
(3) The applicant for the license has predeceased its
issuance.
(4) The licensee has enlisted in or been otherwise inducted
into active Federal military, naval or marine service, or in
any branch or division thereof, in which event the refund shall
be such proportion of the license fee paid as the number of
full months remaining unexpired of the license period bears to
the total number of months in such period.
Such refunds shall, upon approval by the court of quarter
sessions, be paid from any moneys received from the operation
of this act and in the custody of the county treasurer.

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