Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Happy Pi Day, Private Investigators!

Today (3.14) is affectionately known as Pi Day because the date is the same as the first digits of π.

Two years ago, we marked the occasion by offering some information about PI (personal injury) practice. Today, we look at another PI: private investigators.
drawing from Sherlock Holmes story

Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys probably didn't get licensed, but maybe they should have. In Washington, licensing PIs is handled by (who else?) the Washington State Department of Licensing, which also licenses for professions as diverse as professional boxers, cosmetologists, and scrap metal recyclers.

There are separate licenses for PI agencies, unarmed PIs, armed PIs, and certified trainers for aspiring PIs. An exam covers Washington State laws (e.g., on surveillance and criminal law), federal laws (e.g., FOIA and the federal Privacy Act), court systems, and legal procedures and definitions. Applicants have to undergo a minimum of four hours of training. WAC 308-17-300.

And just like the PIs in some of the books and movies, licensed private investigators are supposed to carry their license cards whenever they are "performing the duties of a private investigator" and show it upon request. RCW 18.165.080.

Graphic: "He looked round him in surprise," drawing from Conan Doyle, The Hound of the Baskervilles: Another Adventure of Sherlock Holmes, Strand Mag., April 1902, at 243, 252, available on Google Books

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