The Vermont Statutes Online

Title 26: Professions and Occupations

Chapter 59: PRIVATE INVESTIGATIVE AND SECURITY SERVICES

 

Sub-Chapter 1: General

§ 3151. Definitions As used in this chapter: (1) "Board" means the state board of private investigative and security services. (2) "Person" means an individual, partnership, corporation, or other business entity. (3) "Private investigator" means any person who, for consideration engages in or solicits business, accepts employment, or holds himself or herself out to the public as someone who will investigate, obtain information, or provide security of persons incident to, but not limited to, the following: (A) Any suspected crime, tort, or wrong committed or threatened against the laws of a government or any of its political subdivisions or against any person. (B) The identity, habits, conduct, honesty, loyalty, movements, whereabouts, affiliations, associations, transactions, reputation, or character of any living person. (C) Damage, accidents, or injury to persons or property. (D) The location, disposition, or recovery of lost or stolen property. (E) Evidence related to a proceeding before any court, agency, officer, or investigative committee. (F) The identity, location, or apprehension of persons. (4) "Security" means a person engaged for compensation in the business of protecting property or persons by providing armed or unarmed security service,  or armed transport service, or the use of guard dogs. "Security services" includes: (A) Prevention or detection of intrusion, entry, larceny, vandalism, abuse, fire, or trespass on private property. (B) Prevention, observation, or detection of any unauthorized activity on private property. (C) Protection of patrons and persons lawfully authorized to be on the premises of the person, firm, association, or corporation that entered into the contract for security services. (D) Control, regulation, or direction of the flow or movement of the public, whether by vehicle or otherwise, onto the premises. (E) Physically responding to any alarm signal device, burglar alarm, television camera, still camera, or a mechanical or electronic device installed or used to prevent or detect burglary, theft, shoplifting, pilferage, losses, or other security measures. (F) Providing armored transport services. (5) "Qualifying agent" means a licensed private investigator who is responsible for a private investigative services agency or combination agency,  or a licensed security guard who is responsible for a private security services agency or combination agency. A sole proprietor shall be the qualifying agent of his or her agency and shall meet all qualifying agent licensure requirements. (6) "Combination agency" means an agency that provides both private investigative and private security services to the public. (Added 1981, No. 98, § 1; amended 1995, No. 144 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 2009, No. 103 (Adj. Sess.), § 23, eff. May 12, 2010.)


§ 3151a. Exemptions (a) The term "private investigator" shall not include: (1) Law enforcement officers certified under 20 V.S.A. § 2358 while engaged in  the performance of their official duties. (2) Insurance adjusters, insurance appraisers, and persons regularly employed as investigators exclusively by one insurance company. (3) Persons regularly employed as investigators, exclusively by one employer in connection with the affairs of that employer only, provided that the employer is not a private investigative agency. (4) Persons engaged exclusively in the business of furnishing of information as to the business and financial standing, and credit responsibility of persons, provided such information is not obtained through the preparation of investigative consumer reports as defined by the Federal Fair Credit Reporting  Act. (5) Attorneys engaged in the practice of law, and law clerks, paralegals, and other laypersons regularly employed exclusively by one attorney or law firm when the attorney or law firm retains complete professional responsibility for  the work product of the law clerk, paralegal, or other laypersons in his, her, or its employ. (6) Employees of the federal government, the state, or of any municipality in the performance of official duties. (7) News gathering persons. (8) A person engaged in compiling genealogical information from public records. (9) Persons providing marketing or demographic information. (10) Authors researching material for publication. (b) The term "security guard" shall not include: (1) Law enforcement officers certified under 20 V.S.A. § 2358 while engaged in  the performance of their official duties, including the rendering of security  guard services provided such services have been assigned and approved in advance by the officer's employing department and payment for such services is  made to the employing department. (2) Persons who are not armed, who are engaged exclusively in the business of managing property of others, including incidental inspection for the purpose of discovering damage from entry, theft, vandalism, or other cause. (3) Persons regularly employed as security guards exclusively by one employer in connection with the affairs of that employer only, provided that the employer is not a security agency. (Added 1995, No. 144 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; amended 2009, No. 103 (Adj. Sess.), § 24, eff. May 12, 2010.)


 

Sub-Chapter 2: State Board Of Private Investigative And Security Services

§ 3161. State board The state board of private investigative and security services is created. The  board shall consist of five members appointed by the governor: one shall be a  provider of private investigative services; one shall be a provider of private security services; two shall be members of the public with no financial interest in either service other than as a consumer or potential consumer. The remaining member shall be a provider of private investigative services or a provider of private security services, or a provider of both types of services. Board members shall be appointed by the governor pursuant to 3 V.S.A. §§ 129b and 2004. (Added 1981, No. 98, § 1; amended 1995, No. 144 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 2005, No. 27, § 89; 2009, No. 103 (Adj. Sess.), § 25.)


§ 3162. Powers and duties The Board may: (1) Adopt rules necessary for the performance of its duties. (2) Conduct any necessary hearings in connection with the issuance, renewal, denial, suspension, or revocation of a license or registration or otherwise related to the disciplining of a licensee, registrant, or applicant. (3) Receive and investigate complaints and charges of unprofessional conduct against any holder of a license or registration, or any applicant. The Board shall investigate all complaints in which there are reasonable grounds to believe that unprofessional conduct has occurred. (4) Conduct examinations and pass upon the qualifications of applicants for a license or registration. (5) Issue subpoenas and administer oaths in connection with any authorized investigation, hearing, or disciplinary proceeding. (6) Take or cause depositions to be taken as needed in any investigation, hearing, or proceeding. (7)(A) Adopt rules establishing a security guard or private investigator training program, consisting of not fewer than 40 hours of training, as a prerequisite to registration. (B) Full-time employees shall complete the training program prior to being issued a permanent registration. (C)(i) Part-time employees shall complete not fewer than eight hours of training prior to being issued a part-time employee temporary registration, which shall be valid for not more than 180 days from the date of issuance. The  remaining training hours for part-time employees shall be completed within the temporary registration period of 180 days or before the employee has worked 500 hours, whichever occurs first. The part-time employee temporary registration may be issued only once and shall expire after 180 days or 500 hours. (ii) As used in this subdivision (C), "part-time employee" means an employee who works no more than 80 hours per month. (iii) The Board may prioritize training subjects to require that certain subject areas are covered in the initial eight hours of training required for part-time employees. (8) Adopt rules establishing continuing education requirements and establish or approve continuing education programs to assist a licensee or registrant in  meeting these requirements. (Added 1981, No. 98, § 1; amended 1989, No. 250 (Adj. Sess.), § 4(d); 1995, No. 144 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 2001, No. 151 (Adj. Sess.), § 28, eff. June 27, 2002; 2005, No. 27, § 89a; 2013, No. 138 (Adj. Sess.), § 24.)


§ 3163. Functioning of licensing board (a) Annually, the board shall elect a chairperson, a vice chairperson, and a secretary. (b) Meetings may be called by the chairperson and shall be called upon the request of two other members. (c) Meetings shall be warned and conducted in accordance with 1 V.S.A. chapter  5. (d) A majority of the members of a board shall constitute a quorum, and all action shall be taken upon a majority vote of the members present and voting. (e), (f) [Deleted.]  (Added 1981, No. 98, § 1; amended 1995, No. 144 (Adj. Sess.), § 5; 2005, No. 27, § 90.)


§§ 3164, 3165. Repealed. 1995, No. 144 (Adj. Sess.), § 18.


 

Sub-Chapter 3: Licensing

§ 3171. Licensing (a) Licensing standards and procedures shall be fair and reasonable and shall be designed and implemented to measure and reasonably ensure an applicant's qualifications to practice the occupation. They shall not be designed or implemented for the purpose of limiting the number of persons engaged in the occupation. (b) If a licensee has a principal place of business for a licensed occupation,  a license shall be prominently displayed at that place. (c) Individual registrations may be transferred upon approval by the board. (Added 1981, No. 98, § 1; amended 1995, No. 144 (Adj. Sess.), § 6; 2009, No. 103 (Adj. Sess.), § 26.)


§ 3172. Licenses The board shall issue agency licenses for private investigative services, private security guard services, or combination guard agency licenses to applicants that submit all of the following: (1) An application filed in proper form. (2) The application fee. (3) Evidence of current Vermont business entity registration. (Added 1981, No. 98, § 1; amended 1995, No. 144 (Adj. Sess.), § 7; 2009, No. 103 (Adj. Sess.), § 27.)


§ 3173. Private investigator licenses (a) The Board shall issue a license to a private investigator after obtaining and approving all of the following: (1) an application filed in proper form; (2) the application fee;. (3) evidence that the applicant has attained the age of majority; and (4) evidence that the applicant has successfully passed the examination required by section 3175 of this title. (b) The Board may inquire of the Vermont Crime Information Center for any information on criminal records of the applicant, and the Center shall provide  such information to the Board. The Board, through the Vermont Crime Information Center, may also inquire of the appropriate state criminal record repositories in all states in which it has reason to believe an applicant has resided or been employed, and it may also inquire of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, for any information on criminal records of the applicant. The applicant shall bear the costs associated with fingerprinting. The Board may also make additional inquiries it deems necessary into the character, integrity, and reputation of the applicant. (c) The Board shall require that the person has had appropriate experience in investigative work, for a period of not less than two years, as determined by the Board. Such experience may include, but not be limited to, having been regularly employed as a private detective licensed in another state or as an investigator for a private detective licensed in this or another state, or has  been a sworn member of a federal, state, or municipal law enforcement agency. (d) An application for a license may be denied upon failure of the applicant to provide information required, upon a finding that the applicant does not meet a high standard as to character, integrity, and reputation, or for unprofessional conduct defined in section 3181 of this title. (Added 1981, No. 98, § 1; amended 1989, No. 250 (Adj. Sess.), § 67; 1995, No. 144 (Adj. Sess.), § 8; 1999, No. 133 (Adj. Sess.), § 26; 2009, No. 103 (Adj. Sess.), § 28; 2013, No. 119 (Adj. Sess.), § 16.)


§ 3173a. Repealed. 1999, No. 52, § 46.


§ 3174. Security guard licenses (a) No person shall engage in the business of security guard or provide guard services in this state without first obtaining a license. The board shall issue a license after obtaining and approving all of the following: (1) An application filed in proper form. (2) The application fee. (3) Evidence that the applicant has attained the age of majority. (4) Evidence that the applicant has successfully passed the examination required by section 3175 of this title. (b) The board may inquire of the Vermont criminal information center for any information on criminal records of the applicant, and the center shall provide  such information to the board. The board, through the Vermont criminal information center, may also inquire of the appropriate state criminal record repositories in all states in which it has reason to believe an applicant has resided or been employed, and it may also inquire of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, for any information on criminal records of the applicant. When fingerprinting is required, the applicant shall bear all costs. The board may also make additional inquiries it deems necessary into the character, integrity, and reputation of the applicant. (c) The board shall require that the person has had experience satisfactory to  the board in security work, for a period of not less than two years. Such experience may include having been licensed as a security guard in another state or regularly employed as a security guard for a security agency licensed  in this or another state, or been a sworn member of a federal, state, or municipal law enforcement agency. (d) An application for a license may be denied upon failure of the applicant to provide information required, upon a finding that the applicant does not meet a high standard as to character, integrity, and reputation, or for unprofessional conduct defined in section 3181 of this title. (Added 1981, No. 98, § 1; amended 1985, No. 86; amended 1989, No. 250 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 68, 69; 1991, No. 69, § 1, eff. June 21, 1991; 1995, No. 144 (Adj. Sess.), § 9; 1999, No. 133 (Adj. Sess.), § 27; 2009, No. 103 (Adj. Sess.), § 29.)


§ 3174a. Repealed. 1999, No. 52, § 46.


§ 3175. Examinations The board shall prepare, or have prepared, and administer, separate examinations for private investigators and private security services. Each examination shall be designed to test the competency of the applicant with respect to the lawful and safe provision of each respective service to the public. (Added 1981, No. 98, § 1; amended 2009, No. 103 (Adj. Sess.), § 30.)


§ 3175a. Firearms instructor licensure; program of instruction (a) The board shall license firearms training course instructors of private investigators and security guards licensed under this chapter and shall adopt rules governing the licensure of instructors and the approval of firearms and guard dog training programs. (b) The board shall not issue a license as a firearms training program instructor without first obtaining and approving all of the following: (1) The application filed in the proper form. (2) The application fee established in subdivision 3178a(5)(A) of this title. (3) Evidence that the applicant has obtained the age of majority. (4) A copy of the applicant's training program. (5) Proof of certification as an instructor from an instructor's course approved by the board. (6) A federal background check. (c) Instructors licensed under this section are subject to the same renewal requirements as others licensed under this chapter, and prior to renewal are required to show proof of current instructor licensure and pay the renewal fee  established in subdivision 3178a(5)(B) of this title. (Added 1999, No. 133 (Adj. Sess.), § 28; amended 2001, No. 151 (Adj. Sess.), § 29, eff. June 27, 2002; 2009, No. 103 (Adj. Sess.), § 31.)


§ 3175b. Guard dog training instructor license (a) An applicant for a license to provide guard dog services shall demonstrate  to the board competence in the handling of guard dogs in a guard dog training  program approved by the board and taught by an instructor currently licensed under this section. (b) The board shall not issue a license as a guard dog training program instructor without first obtaining and approving all of the following: (1) The application filed in the proper form. (2) The application fee set forth in section 3178 of this title. (3) Evidence that the applicant has obtained the age of majority. (4) A copy of the applicant's training program. (5) Proof of certification as an instructor from an instructor's course approved by the board. (6) A federal background check. (Added 2009, No. 103 (Adj. Sess.), § 32.)


§ 3175c. Firearms training and certification (a) A licensee seeking a firearms certification shall meet the following requirements: (1) An applicant for a private investigator or security guard license to provide armed services shall demonstrate to the board competence in the safe use of firearms by successfully completing a firearms training program approved by the board. (2) An applicant shall pay the required fee. (3) An applicant shall obtain the age of majority. (4) An applicant shall receive a satisfactory federal background check. (b) No licensee may possess a firearm while performing professional services unless certified and in good standing under this section. (Added 2009, No. 103 (Adj. Sess.), § 32.)


§ 3176. Employees of agencies (a) An agency licensed under this chapter may employ private investigators or security guards. (b) An agency shall register all agency investigative and security employees with the Board. Employees shall carry identification in a form satisfactory to  the Board indicating the licensee by whom the person is employed. (c) An employee of a licensee shall not function as an armed private investigator, armed guard, armed courier, or handler of guard dogs unless the employee demonstrates to the Board competency in a manner deemed appropriate by the Board. (d) The Board may inquire of the Vermont Crime Information Center for any information on criminal records of all agency employees registering with the Board, and the Center shall provide such information to the Board. The Board, through the Vermont Crime Information Center, may also inquire of the appropriate state criminal record repositories in all states in which it has reason to believe an employee has resided or been employed, and it may also inquire of the Federal Bureau of Investigation for any information on criminal  records of the employee. The Board may also make such additional inquiries it  deems necessary into the character, integrity, and reputation of the employee. (e) As a prerequisite to registration, all investigative and security employees shall take and successfully complete a training program approved by the Board. (f) A licensed agency or other entity conducting a training program approved by the Board pursuant to this section shall maintain training records for not less than five years. The retained records shall include, at a minimum, records of the courses taught, subjects covered, and persons who have received  instruction. Training records shall be made available to the Office of Professional Regulation upon request. A licensed agency shall maintain its training records at its regular place of business within the State of Vermont. (Added 1981, No. 98, § 1; amended 1989, No 250 (Adj. Sess.), § 70; 1995, No. 144 (Adj. Sess.), § 10; 2001, No. 151 (Adj. Sess.), § 30, eff. June 27, 2002; 2005, No. 148 (Adj. Sess.), § 33; 2007, No. 163 (Adj. Sess.), § 32; 2009, No. 103 (Adj. Sess.), § 33; 2013, No. 119 (Adj. Sess.), § 17.)


§ 3176a. Transitory practice The director of the office of professional regulation, under rules adopted by the board, may grant a transitory permit to practice as a private investigator  to a person who is not a resident of Vermont and has no established place of business in this state, if that person is legally qualified by license to practice as a private investigator in any state or country that regulates such  practice. Practice under a transitory permit shall not exceed 30 days in any calendar year. (Added 1995, No. 144 (Adj. Sess.), § 11; amended 2009, No. 103 (Adj. Sess.), § 34.)


§ 3176b. Temporary registration for employees of agencies (a) A 60-day temporary registration may be issued to a person who applies for registration as an employee of a licensed private investigator or a licensed security guard under section 3176 of this title. A temporary registration shall authorize a person to work as an unarmed private investigator or unarmed  security guard while employed by a private investigator agency or security guard agency licensed by the board. (b) Temporary registrations shall expire at the end of the 60-day period or by  final action on the application, whichever occurs first. For good cause shown, the board may extend a temporary registration one time for an additional period of 60 days. (Added 1999, No. 52, § 27; amended 2009, No. 103 (Adj. Sess.), § 35.)


§ 3176c. Temporary emergency registration (a) If the board determines that the public health, safety, or welfare so requires, it may grant to an applicant a temporary registration to practice as  a security guard. To qualify under this section, an applicant shall have a license in good standing to practice as a security guard in another jurisdiction within the United States that regulates the practice. The person seeking the temporary registration shall document to the board's satisfaction that the applicant will otherwise meet all state and federal requirements necessary to perform the specific security duties arising out of the emergency  circumstances warranting temporary licensure. (b) The board may restrict or condition a temporary registration issued under this section, as it deems appropriate in light of the specific emergency, to a  particular facility, industry, geographic area, or scope of duty. (c) Duration of practice under a temporary registration shall be determined by  the board but shall not exceed 60 days unless the person granted a temporary registration has submitted an application for full registration under this chapter, prior to the expiration of the term of the temporary registration, and the board finds the emergency to be ongoing. (Added 2005, No. 148 (Adj. Sess.), § 34.)


§ 3177. Repealed. 1989, No. 250 (Adj. Sess.), § 92.


§ 3178. Renewals and reinstatement (a) A license or registration issued under this chapter shall be renewed biennially upon payment of the required fee. (b) If an individual or agency fails to renew in a timely manner, the individual or agency may renew the license within one year of the renewal date  by satisfying all the requirements for renewal and payment of an additional late renewal penalty. (c) An individual or agency whose license or registration has lapsed or been terminated for more than one year may be reinstated upon filing a new application and meeting all requirements for initial issuance of the license or registration. (Added 1981, No. 98, § 1; amended 1989, No. 250 (Adj. Sess.), § 71; 1995, No. 144 (Adj. Sess.), § 12; 2009, No. 103 (Adj. Sess.), § 36.)


§ 3178a. Fees

Applicants and persons regulated under this chapter shall pay the following fees:     

(1) Application for agency license:      

(A) Investigative agency                                             $ 340.00      

(B) Security agency                                                     $ 340.00      

(C) Investigative/security agency                                $ 400.00      

(D) Sole proprietor                                                      $ 250.00    

(2) Application for individual license:      

(A) Unarmed licensee                                                $ 150.00      

(B) Armed licensee                                                    $ 200.00    

(3) Application for employee registration:      

(A) Unarmed registrants                                            $ 60.00      

(B) Armed registrants                                                $ 120.00      

(C) Transitory permits                                               $ 60.00    

(4) Biennial renewal:       

(A) Investigative agency                                            $ 300.00      

(B) Security agency                                                    $ 300.00     

 (C) Investigative/security agency                              $ 300.00     

 (D) Unarmed licensee                                               $ 120.00      

(E) Armed licensee                                                    $ 180.00      

(F) Unarmed registrants (agency employees)             $ 80.00      

(G) Armed registrants (agency employees)                $ 130.00

       (H) Sole proprietor                                                     $ 250.00    

(5) Instructor licensure:     

(A) Application for licensure                                       $ 120.00      

(B) Biennial renewal                                                    $ 180.00

     (6) A sole proprietor of an investigative agency or security agency shall only pay the sole proprietor fees pursuant to this section, provided the agency has no other registered investigative or security employees. (Added 1981, No. 98, § 5; amended 1989, No. 250 (Adj. Sess.), § 72; 1991, No. 167 (Adj. Sess.), § 51; 1995, No. 144 (Adj. Sess.), § 13; 2001, No. 143 (Adj. Sess.), § 30, eff. June 21, 2002; 2001, No. 151 (Adj. Sess.), § 29a, eff. June 27, 2002; 2009, No. 103 (Adj. Sess.), § 37; 2011, No. 128 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 2013, No. 27, § 35.)


§ 3178b. Repealed. 2009, No. 103 (Adj. Sess.), § 53.


§ 3179. Penalties

(a) A person who engages in the practice or business of a private investigator or security guard without being licensed under to this chapter shall be subject to the penalties provided in 3 V.S.A § 127(c).

(b) Any person who is or has been an employee of a licensee and any licensee who divulges to anyone other than to his or her employer or as his or her employer shall direct, except before an authorized tribunal, any information acquired by him or her during such employment in respect to any of the work to which he or she has been assigned by such employer, and any such employee who willfully makes a false report to his or her employer in respect to any such work, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to a fine of not more than $500.00. (Added 1981, No. 98, § 1; amended 1995, No. 144 (Adj. Sess.), § 15; 2007, No. 29, § 40; 2009, No. 103 (Adj. Sess.), § 38.)