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  • Writer's pictureChris Anderson

How to Become a Private Investigator in Arizona

Updated: May 6

Private investigation is a highly regulated industry in Arizona. The state has strict requirements for private investigators and agencies, as well as specific rules governing their conduct. These regulations ensure that clients can trust and rely on the services of a licensed private investigator to provide them with accurate and reliable information.


Lately I've been receiving handfuls of phone calls and emails on how to become a PI. I wanted to address this and sum it up.


In Arizona, private investigators are required to obtain a license from the Arizona Department of Public Safety. Applicants must be at least 21 years old, have a high school diploma or equivalent, and pass a criminal background check. The DPS does this criminal background check before issuing the employee certificate. It is illegal to work for a PI agency without this certificate.


All PIs in the state have to have a Private Investigator Employee registration, and that registration has to be sponsored by a licensed private investigation agency. Do you moonlight for more than one agency? You’re gonna need two registrations.


Every agency has to be licensed too, and it can only do that through what is called a Qualifying Partner. QPs not only need the right training but a minimum of three years of qualifying experience before they can open an agency. That requirement can be met with work for a private investigation firm or a federal, state, or local government, or law enforcement agency. And you’ll need retirement papers, performance evaluations, or a letter from your old boss saying it’s legit… so better not burn any bridges on your way out the door.


Private investigators in Arizona are authorized to conduct a wide range of investigations, including criminal investigations, background checks, surveillance, and fraud investigations. However, they are not authorized to carry firearms unless they have a separate license to do so.


One of the most important responsibilities of a private investigator is to ensure that they operate within the boundaries of the law. In Arizona, investigators are prohibited from engaging in activities that are considered illegal, such as breaking and entering, wiretapping, or impersonating a law enforcement officer. Violating these rules can result in severe penalties, including the loss of a license, fines, and even imprisonment.


In addition to these legal restrictions, private investigators must also adhere to ethical guidelines. The Arizona Association of Licensed Private Investigators has established a code of ethics that outlines the responsibilities and expectations of private investigators. This code of ethics requires investigators to maintain confidentiality, act with integrity, and avoid conflicts of interest.


Private investigators in Arizona play an important role in the legal system, providing valuable information to lawyers, law enforcement agencies, and private citizens. They can help individuals who are dealing with complex legal issues, such as divorce, child custody, and fraud cases. They can also assist businesses with security issues, such as theft and embezzlement.


In conclusion, private investigation is a highly regulated industry in Arizona. Private investigators must be licensed, adhere to strict ethical and legal guidelines, and operate within the boundaries of the law. They can assist individuals and businesses with a wide range of legal issues, providing valuable information and expertise to help resolve complex problems.


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