Money Grab Behind Continuing Education for PIs?

Orwell said, “Insincerity is the great enemy of language.” His sentiment should also apply to legislation. Did you know that California already has some of the strictest requirements for becoming a licensed private investigator?

I sense that behind this legislation is a half-baked effort to remake the image of private investigators. This just in: We are not Boy Scouts, never have been and never will be. People come to us because they have unusual, private problems. The other motive, I suspect, is for a few people to make money at the expense of hard working private investigators.

You are either professional and ethical or you aren’t. I am professional enough to know that if I want to learn more about a specific field, I have to plunge into it. No one else can do it for me.

I have cut and pasted PI Robert Scott’s eloquent rebuttal to this proposed law:

MCE stands for mandatory continuing education. MCE is now being hotly debated in California, where legislation is pending that will force ALL private investigators seeking to renew their bi-annual P.I. licenses to attend 12 classroom hours on a variety of subjects including privacy law and ethics.

In addition to the fees for these classes, licensing fees will also rise and there will be new paperwork requirements to keep track of and file MCE credits with the state.
Although CE (Continuing Education) is applauded, MCE is not. In fact, it’s a stink bomb waiting to explode.

The problem is the MANDATORY part. Why? Because it penalizes the majority of licensed private investigators who are solid professionals. They stay up to date with legal, ethical and other advances. They read professional journals, subscribe to listserves and attend association meetings. To get their licenses in the first place, they had to have 6,000 hours of experience, undergo a background check, and pass a written exam. Why should they be FORCED to attend weekend or late night classes about something they already know? Just so a few stragglers who haven’t stayed current can be pushed into a forced learning environment?

In addition, the proposed law (SB 202) places new costs and administrative burdens on private investigators. As we speak, many are struggling to stay in business. Asking more of them now is tantamount to a new tax. Sadly, this will only serve to put some of them out of business.

The proposed new law will also create a new mini-bureacracy of MCE providers as well. For investigators who live in remote areas away from urban centers, long drives and overnight stays in hotels may be required. And once it does become law, it will be virtually impossible to undo.

CALI – the California Association of Licensed Investigators – strongly supports MCE at the leadership level. But even they know they’re trying to sell something that’s not wanted — discussion of the topic has been banned on the association’s main listserve. Why, if MCE is such a good idea, are the main proponents of it afraid of an open discussion?

MCE is an unexploded stink bomb that can still be defused. If you’re a licensed private investigator in California, please make your voice heard in Sacramento against MCE!