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1660-003 1 of 3

Department of Public Safety

Board of Examiners of Private Investigators

and Private Security Agencies

The Board of Examiners of Private Investigators and Private Security Agencies was first established in 1955 with limited duties. Any person seeking a license as a private investigator or a security company had to apply to the Superintendent of the Delaware State Police. After reviewing the application, he reported to the Board of Examiners who either approved or disapproved the granting of the license. Applicants who were disapproved had the right to appeal to the Board. The Board of Examiners were responsible for establishing the qualifications deemed necessary. At this time the Board of Examiners consisted of the Superintendent of the State Police, three persons who had at least five years experience in investigative duties, and, if desired, a member of the Delaware Bar. The Superintendent appointed all the members of the Board.1

Legislation passed in 1994 greatly expanded the functions of the Board of Examiners.2 They were given the power to determine the qualifications of security guards, private investigators, armored car employees and other businesses licensed under this law, to investigate alleged violations of the law and of any rules and regulations adopted by the Board, to promulgate all rules and regulations necessary to carry out the provisions of the law, and to establish and enforce standards governing the safety and conduct of persons who are licensed and registered.

All persons who wish to work as a private investigator, security service contractor, security guard, armored car guard or be in business as an investigations company, guard company, armored car company, and courier company is required to apply for a license from the Detective Licensing Unit, Division of State Police. No one can be issued a license without a criminal background report from the State Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Persons receiving a license from the Board of Examiners must inform the Board of any address changes and arrests that could result in a misdemeanor or felony conviction. The Board must issue each licensee an identification card which must be carried during the performance of their duties. Anyone who applies for a license to own or operate a private investigations company, private security agency, or armored car agency must file with the Board a surety bond and certificate of insurance in an amount set by the Board of Examiners. The Board also sets the application fee which may not be more than $600 per year.3 It is unlawful for anyone licensed by the Board to carry a firearm unless approved by the Board and the person must be trained by a Board-approved instructor.

As part of their power to investigate violations, the Board was given the power to issue subpoenas to compel the attendance of witnesses and to bring requested records. The officer conducting hearings can administer oaths and may require testimony and evidence to be given under oath. The Board may file suit in the Court of Chancery for injunctive relief to restrain a person from continuing violations and for assessment and recovery of a civil penalty. The Board has the power to suspend, revoke, or place on probation any person or business required to be licensed that violates the law or rules and regulations established by the Board. The Director has the power to impose an emergency suspension if the failure to take such action could jeopardize the public’s safety and welfare before a full hearing by the Board could be called. The Board of Examiners has the power to impose fines for violations. The Board of Examiners is required to prepare information for the public and appropriate state agencies describing the Board’s procedures and how complaints are filed and resolved.

1660-003 2 of 3

Department of Public Safety

Board of Examiners of Private Investigators

and Private Security Agencies

The 1994 legislation greatly changed the Board of Examiners’ organization. The membership of the Board was changed to the Superintendent of the Division of State Police, the Attorney General or a designee, three public members appointed by the Governor, two members appointed by the Governor who have been private investigators for five years, and two members appointed by the Governor who have been employed for five years as security services contractors. These members serve three-year terms and may not serve more than two consecutive terms. They were required to meet quarterly or as determined by the Board. A majority of the Board constitutes a quorum to transact business.

The Director of the Board of Examiners is the chief administrator of the Board. He/she is a uniformed member of the Division of State Police and is designated by the Secretary of Public Safety. All legal process and documents required by law to be served or filed with the Board are to be filed with the Director at the Detective Licensing Unit, Division of State Police.

1660-003 3 of 3

Department of Public Safety

Board of Examiners of Private Investigators

and Private Security Agencies

1 50 DL, Chap. 301.

2 69 DL, Chap. 285.

3 70 DL, Chap. 591.