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Private Investigator License – Wisconsin

Private Investigator Licensing – State of Wisconsin

Private Investigators are required to be licensed per the State of Wisconsin. This is administered through the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services.

Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services
Mail To: P.O. Box 8935 1400 E. Washington Avenue
Madison, WI 53708-8935 Madison, WI 53703

FAX #: (608) 261-7083

E-Mail: web@dsps.wi.gov
Phone #: (608) 266-2112

Website: http://dsps.wi.gov

 

Private Detective – License Information


Important Information About Submitting Fingerprints

Starting July 31, 2013, you will have to submit fingerprints through a newly-contracted vendor, Fieldprint, instead of Pearson VUE.
To schedule an appointment, visit Fieldprint’s web site at www.FieldprintWisconsin.com​​​​​​​​​​
If you are an applicant for a private detective/security agency, used the Fieldprint code “FPWIPrivate” when prompted.

To obtain a new Private Detective license:

1. Submit fingerprints for a background check.

All applicants must submit fingerprints electroncially for a background check. Schedule an appointment with Fieldprint, the Department’s approved vendor, by visiting their web site at: www.FieldprintWisconsin.com.

Use the Fieldprint code “FPWIPrivate” when prompted. The cost for digital fingerprints will be $39.25 and is expected at the time of reservation.

If you live outside Wisconsin you may electronically submit fingerprints at any Fieldprint site near you. You must use the Fieldprint code “FPWIPrivate” when prompted.

2. Submit an application. Do this within 14 days after submitting your fingerprints. A complete application includes:

3. Pass an examination covering Wisconsin statutes and Administrative Code,​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ as well as investigative practices relevant to functioning as a private detective.

You will receive e-mailed instructions to take the exam after your complete application has been submitted and all requirements have been met. The exam is available only on-line.

Application for a new license by reciprocity:

There are no provisions to acquire this license through a reciprocity agreement.

To reinstate an existing license that has been expired more than 5 years:

1. Submit fingerprints for a background check. (See #1 under “to obtain a new Private Detective license” above.

2. Submit an application. Do this within 14 days after submitting your fingerprints. A complete application includes:

3. Pass an examination covering Wisconsin Statutes​​ and Administrative Code,​​​​​​​​​​​ as well as investigative practices relevant to functioning as a private detective.

You will receive e-mailed instructions to take the exam after your complete application has been submitted and all requirements have been met. The exam is available only on-line.

Firearms

A firearms permit must be obtained from the Department in order to carry a firearm while on duty as a private detective. (See Firearm Permit).

Application Process

Private Detective/Security Guard Agency – License Information


Important Information About Submitting Fingerprints

Starting July 31, 2013, you will have to submit fingerprints through a newly-contracted vendor, Fieldprint, instead of Pearson VUE.
To schedule an appointment, visit Fieldprint’s web site at www.FieldprintWisconsin.com
If you are an applicant for a private detective/security agency, used the Fieldprint code “FPWISecurity” when prompted.

To obtain a new private security agency license:

1. Submit an application. A complete application includes:

2. Submit fingerprints in order for the Department to conduct a background check.

Schedule an appointment with Fieldprint, the Department’s approved vendor, by visiting their web site at:

www.FieldprintWisconsin.com

Use the Fieldprint code “FPWISecurity” when prompted. The cost for digital fingerprints will be $39.25 and is expected at the time of reservation.

If you live outside Wisconsin you may electronically submit fingerprints at any Fieldprint site near you. You must use the Fieldprint code “FPWISecurity” when prompted.

To transfer a private security agency license from another state:

There is no provision in statute or code that allows transfer or endorsement of a license for a private security agency from another state.

To renew a privated security agency license:

Click on this link for more information.

You may refer to SPS 31.02(1), Wisc. Admin. Code for complete details on all requirements.

A firearms permit must be obtained from the Department for each employee who will carry a firearm while on duty as a private detective. (See Firearm Permit).

DIVISION OF PROFESSIONAL CREDENTIAL PROCESSING
PRIVATE DETECTIVE FAQ’S

Q: Do I have to be employed by a Wisconsin licensed private detective agency in order to be licensed as a
private detective in Wisconsin?
A: Yes, this is required by RL 31.01(2) (b). We do not license independent contractors in the state of
Wisconsin.

Q: Do I need to obtain a $2,000 bond?
A: Only if your employing agency is also covered by a bond. Most agencies are covered by liability
insurance and this policy must cover all of the private detectives they employ. A bond is not required if
you are covered by your employing agency’s liability insurance policy.

Q: What if I just want to work for myself?
A: Then you must also apply for a private detective agency license. You can find information on this
process on the website under private detective agency.

Q: On what information is the private detective exam based?
A: The exam is based on the Wisconsin statutes and regulation pertaining to private detectives. This
information is contained in the Private Detective Code Book. You may download the code book from
our website http://dsps.wi.gov, click on Professions, click on Private Detective. You may also purchase
the code book from the Department of Administration (DOA) in CD form. Please contact DOA at
(800) 362-7253 to order.

Q: How do I schedule the exam?
A: The exam is administered by the Department. Submit the Application for Private Detective License
(Form #469) with fee and all supporting documents.

Q: How long are my exam results good for and how many times can I take the exam?
A: Exam results are good for one year. You must be licensed within a year from the date you passed the
exam or you will have to retake and pass the exam before you can be licensed. You may take the exam
as many times as you want.

Q: Should I turn in my application before or after I pass the exam?
A: You must submit your application before you will be given authorization to test.

Q: I am licensed as a private detective in another state. Does Wisconsin have reciprocity with other states
for this profession?
A: No, Wisconsin does not have reciprocity with any other states for the licensure of private detectives.
The requirements for licensure are the same regardless of whether or not you have been licensed in
another state.

Q: I was licensed previously in Wisconsin as a private detective but my license expired. What do I need to
do to reinstate my license?
A: If your license expired less than 5 years ago, you can simply submit your renewal form with the late
renewal fee along with a completed transfer form #1329 (can be downloaded from the website) and the
$10 transfer fee. If it has been over 5 years you will need to go through the entire process again (pass
the exam, submit print and photo with application, etc.) but you will submit the reinstatement fee.

Q: I was recently licensed for another profession where the Department of Safety and Professional Services
required an FBI background report. Do I need to go through the digital fingerprint process again?
A: If you were licensed in the other profession within the last 6 months, you do not need to submit digital
fingerprints. If this is the case, please note on your application so that we are aware of it. If it has been
more than 6 months since you were licensed, you will need to have digital fingerprints taken.

Q: I am a police officer. Do I need to submit digital fingerprints?
A: Yes, on 7/1/04 a federal law went into effect. This law supercedes the state exemption therefore the
peace officer exception no longer exists.

Q: My fingerprints are already on file with the FBI, do I still need to have the digital fingerprints?
A: Yes, the Department does not have access to any previously collected prints.

Q: What do I have to list on the (Form #2252) “Conviction and Pending Charges” page?
A: You must list everything of which you have been convicted or any charges that are still pending. If
anything is omitted that we subsequently find out about, it could be grounds for denial or revocation of
the license. We cannot tell you whether a conviction(s) will cause denial prior to submission of your
application.

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