RELATING TO PRIVATE DETECTIVES
AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 13, TITLE 24, DELAWARE CODE, BY REVISING THE PROVISIONS FOR THE LICENSING AND REGULATION OF PRIVATE DETECTIVES AND DETECTIVE AGENCIES.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Delaware:
Section 1. Chapter 13, Title 24, is hereby amended to read as follows:
§ 1301. Issuance of license; inquiries and investigations; copies; fees; bonds; terms; revocations; form and contents; changes in membership; officers or directors; qualifications of applicants, appeals; license to conduct business; violation of section as misdemeanor
(a) No person, firm, association or corporation shall engage in the private detective business or as a private detective or investigator or advertise his or its business to be a private detective business or that of a detective agency or investigator without having first obtained from the superintendent a license to conduct such business, as hereinafter provided. Any person, firm, association or corporation who shall violate any of the provisions of this section shall be fined not more than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) or imprisonment not more than one year, or both.
(b) The Superintendent, when satisfied from the examination of any application, and such further inquiry and investigations as he shall deem proper as to the good character, competency and integrity of the applicant and the persons named in the application, shall issue and deliver his report to the "Board of Examiners" for their approval or disapproval. If the application is approved, the Superintendent shall issue and deliver to the applicant a license to conduct such business, and to own, conduct or maintain one or more bureaus, agencies, sub-agencies, offices or branch offices for the conduct of such business at the locations stated in said application, together with as many copies of said license as there are to be offices, bureaus, agencies, sub-agencies, offices or branch offices, upon the payment by the applicant to the Superintendent of a license fee which in the case of an individual shall be Two Hundred Dollars ($200.00), and in the case of a firm, association or corporation shall be Three Hundred Dollars ($300.00), and upon the applicant executing and delivering to the Superintendent a bond with a surety company authorized to be surety in the State of Delaware, as surety, and approved as to form, manner of execution and sufficiency by the Superintendent of the State Police, running to the State of Delaware, and which shall be for the benefit of any person injured by the willful, malicious or wrongful act of the applicant, which in the case of an individual shall be Three Thousand Dollars ($3,000.00), and in the case of a firm, association or corporation, Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00), which said bond shall be conditioned for the faithful and honest conduct of such business by the applicant. The license so granted by the Superintendent shall be valid for a period of two (2) years but shall be revocable by the Superintendent after hearing for cause. In case of revocation or surrender of any license, no refund shall be made of any license fee paid under the provisions hereof. The license shall be in a form prescribed by the Superintendent and shall set forth the full name of the applicant, the location of the principal office or place of business, and the location of each bureau, agency, sub-agency, office or branch office for which the license is issued, the date on which it will expire, and the name or names of the persons named in the application, and their respective addresses. In the event of any change in the membership of the firm or in the officers or directors of any association or corporation or any change in the address of any office or location of such business, the Superintendent shall be notified in writing of such change within five (5) days thereafter, and failure to give such notification shall be sufficient cause for revocation of such license. The "Board of Examiners" shall be responsible for establishing such general qualifications as the Board deems necessary.
(c) All fees received by the Superintendent of the State Police for the issuance of said license shall be forwarded by him to the Treasurer of the State of Delaware.
(d) On recommendation by the "Board of Examiners" that such applicant should be denied a license, he shall be so notified by the Superintendent of the State Police. The applicant may file an appeal before the "Board of Examiners" within fifteen (15) days of notification of rejection.
§ 1302. Surrender of license after expiration; posting and display of license; loss or destruction of license; change in location of office or place of business
(a) Any person, firm, association or corporation to whom a license may be issued in accordance with this chapter shall surrender such license and all duplicate copies thereof which shall have expired or shall have been revoked, suspended, or surrendered. Failure to comply with the provisions of this section shall constitute a misdemeanor.
(b) Before any applicant shall exercise any rights under the license issued to him, such license, or a certified copy thereof, shall be posted and at all times thereafter while the same is in force be displayed in a conspicuous place in the principal office and in each bureau, agency, sub-agency, office or branch office for which it is issued. Any person, firm, association or corporation holding any license issued by the superintendent under this act who posts or permits such license to be posted upon premises other than those described therein, or to which it may be transferred pursuant to the provisions of this act, or who fails to maintain such license in a conspicuous place in such offices or places of business, or knowingly alters, defaces or destroys any such license or permits the alteration, defacement or destruction thereof, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. In the event that any license or certified copy thereof issued by the superintendent is lost or destroyed, notice of such loss or destruction shall be given to the superintendent forthwith, and the superintendent may, in his discretion, issue a duplicate or certi-
fled copy thereof. Upon written application to the superintendent setting forth a proposed change in the location of any office or place of business of the licensee as set forth in his license, the superintendent may authorize a new location for any such office or place of business, in which case, the licensee shall produce to the superintendent his license and all copies thereof to the end that the superintendent may either endorse thereon such change of location or issue a new license as of the same date as the original license in lieu of the license so surrendered.
§ 1303. Employment of assistants; false statements or misrepresentations; disclosure of information; false reports or statements to employer; reports on convictions; employees of licensees; fingerprint
(a) The holder of any license issued under the provisions of this act may employ to assist him in his work and in the conduct of his business as many persons as he may deem necessary, and he shall at all times during such employment be accountable for the good conduct in the business of each and every person so employed. No such employee need be the holder of a license issued under this act, but his employer shall be responsible for his actions and conduct in connection with such employer's business. Should the holder of a license falsely state or represent that any person is or has been in his employ, such false statement or misrepresentation shall be sufficient cause for the revocation of such license. Any person who may be or has been employed by the holder of a license under this act shall not divulge to anyone other than his employer, or in such manner and to such person as his employer shall direct, any information acquired by him during such employment in respect to any work to which he shall have been assigned by such employer, except as such disclosure may be required by the provisions of this act or in connection with any investigation of a licensee by the superintendent or as may be required by constituted authority or under process of law. Any person violating any of the provisions of this section and any employee of a licensed private detective business who shall wilfully make a false report or statement to his employer in respect to any matter or thing connected with his employment shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
(b) The Prothonotary, Clerk of Court, or Justice of the Peace of the county in which any conviction for a violation of any provision of this chapter shall, within ten days thereafter, make and file with the superintendent a report showing the date of such conviction, the name of the person convicted and the nature of the charge.
(c) No holder of any unexpired license issued pursuant to this act shall knowingly employ in connection with his or its business in any capacity whatsoever any person who has been convicted of a felony, a misdemeanor involving an assault or battery or use of violence upon another or any of the following misdemeanors, or offenses, and who has not subsequent to such conviction received executive pardon therefor removing any civil disabilities incurred thereby, to wit; (1) illegally using, carrying or possessing a pistol or other dangerous weapon; (2) making or possessing burglar's instruments ; (3) aiding escape from prison ; (4) unlawfully possessing or distributing habit forming narcotic drugs ; (5) any person whose private detective or investigator's license was revoked or application for such license was denied by the superintendent or by the authorities of any other State or Territory because of conviction of any of the crimes or offenses specified in this section. Should the holder of an unexpired license falsely state or represent that a person is or has been in his employ, such false statement or misrepresentation shall be sufficient cause for the revocation of such license.
(d) No person shall be employed by any holder of a license until he shall have executed and furnished to such license holder a verified statement, to be known as "employee's statement", setting forth :
(1) His full name, age, residence address, and place of and date of birth;
(2) The country of which he is a citizen ;
(3) The business or occupation engaged in for the five years immediately preceding the date of the filing of the statement, setting forth the place or places where such business or occupation was engaged in and the name or names of employers, if any;
(4) That he has not been convicted of a felony or of any offense involving moral turpitude or of any of the misdemeanors or offenses described in this section;
(5) Such further information as the superintendent may by rule require to show the good character, competency, and integrity of the person executing the statement; Immediately upon the verification of an employee's statement, the holder of a license by whom such person has been or is to be employed shall cause three sets of fingerprints of the two hands of such person to be recorded in such manner as the superintendent may by rule prescribe. The holder of a license shall immediately stamp in indelible ink the employee's statement and each set of fingerprints with the name, year and license number of such holder and a number, which number shall be determined by the number of such holder and shall be in numerical sequence ;
(6) The holder of a license shall require any employee in his employ to file an employee statement and two (2) sets of fingerprints with the superintendent within 48 hours of such employment. The employee shall report to a Delaware State Police office and have such prints taken for examination by the superintendent.
§ 1304. Identification card; badges; wearing of badges or shields; advertising by license holder; offense, use of identification card
(a) For the purpose of identification of persons engaged in the conduct of a private detective business as private detective or private investigator, each such person shall carry and show when requested an identification card, which shall be issued by the superintendent at the time of issuance of license. For the purpose of employees of a private detective business, upon examination of employee's statement and fingerprint cards the superintendent shall furnish an employee's identification card.
(b) No person licensed under the provisions of this chapter or the officers, directors, employees, operators, or agents thereof, shall wear, carry or accept any badge or shield purporting to indicate that such person is a private detective or investigator, or connected with a private detective business but any such person, officer, director, employee, operator or agent, who is acting as a guard or performs any such service may, while in uniform, and while on the premises of the employer of the licensee where he is so acting wear a badge or shield inscribed with the license holder's name and the word "guard" or "special guard". Any person violating this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
(b) Any licensee under the provisions of this chapter shall, on notice from the superintendent, discontinue any advertising or the use of any advertisement, seal or card, which in the opinion of the superintendment may tend to mislead the public. Failure to comply with any such order of the superintendent shall be cause for revocation of the license of such licensee.
(b) Any person, firm, association or corporation licensed under the provisions of this chapter who shall issue identification cards to any person other than a bona fide employee, or who shall sell, issue, rent, loan or distribute badges or membership cards indicating that the holder thereof is a private detective or investigator or is engaged in the private detective business, to any person or persons other than those lawfully entitled to such identification cards shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
§ 1305. Licensees of other states; licenses under prior laws
(a) Any other person, firm, association or corporation incorporated or licensed under the laws of any other State of the United States, and intending to conduct a private detective business or act as a private detective or investigator within this state shall file in the office of the superintendent a written application duly signed and vertified and obtain from the superintendent a license as herein provided and shall be subject to all the provisions of this act.
(b) Licenses issued under any other law of this State prior to the passage of this act, authorizing the conduct of a
private detective business or the business of a private detective or investigator, shall continue in force until the expiration thereof, but such licensees in all other respects shall be subject to all the provisions of this chapter.
§ 1306. Definition of terms
(a) The term "private detective business" shall mean the business of conducting a private detective agency for the purpose of making for hire or reward any investigation or investigations or for the purpose of obtaining information with reference to any of the following matters, notwithstanding the fact that other functions and services may also be performed by the same person, firm, association, or corporation for fee, hire, or reward, to wit: (1) crime or wrong done or threatened or assumed to have been done or threatened against the Government of the United States of America, or any State, Territory or Possession of the United States of America; (2) the identity, habits, conduct, movements, whereabouts, affiliations, associations, transactions, reputation or character of any person, association, organization, society or groups of persons, firms or corporations; (3) the credibility of witnesses or other persons; (4) the whereabouts of missing persons; (5) the location or recovery of lost or stolen property; (6) the causes and origin of, or responsibility for, fires, libels, accidents, damage, injuries or losses to persons, firms, associations or corporations, or to real or personal property; (7) the affiliation, connection or relation of any person, firm, or corporation with any organization, society, association, or with any official member or representative thereof ; (8) with reference to the conduct, honesty, efficiency, loyalty or activities of employees, agents, contractors and sub-contractors; (9) the securing of evidence to be used before any investigating committee, board of award, board of arbitration, or in the trial of any civil or criminal cause ; provided, however, that the term shall not include a person, firm, association or corporation engaged exclusively in the business of making investigations and reports as to the financial standing, credit and financial responsibility of persons, firms, associations or corporations nor to electrically controlled burglar or fire alarm system with a central unit, nor to any person, firm, association, or corporation engaged in the business of making reports for insurance or credit purposes. Also, it shall mean
the furnishing for hire or reward of watchmen or guards or private patrolmen or other persons 'to protect persons or property, either real or personal, or for any other purpose whatsoever. The term shall not include and nothing in this chapter shall apply to any lawful activity of any board, body, commission or agency of the United States of America or any State, Territory or Possession of the United States of America or any county, municipality, school district or any officer or employee solely, exclusively and regularly employed by any of the foregoing; nor to any attorney or counsellor-at-law in connection with the regular practice of his profession, nor to any person employed by such attorney or counsellor-at-law when engaged upon his employer's business ; nor to any employee, investigator or investigators solely, exclusively and regularly employed by any person, firm, association, or corporation which is not engaged in any of the businesses hereinbefore described in items numbered one to nine, both inclusive, of this sub-section insofar as their acts may relate solely to the business of their respective employers ; nor to any person, firm, association, or corporation licensed to do a business of insurance of any nature under the insurance laws of this State, nor to any employee or licensed agent thereof ; nor to any person, firm, association or corporation conducting any investigation solely for its own account.
(15) The terms "the business of detective agency", "the business of investigator," and "the business of watch, guard or patrol agency" shall mean any person, firm, association or corporation engaged in the private detective business as defined in subsection (a) of this section, who employs one or more persons in conducting such business.
(c) The terms "private detective" or "investigator" shall mean and include any person who singly and for his own account and profit conducts a private detective business without the aid or assistance of any employees or associates.
(d) The masculine shall include the feminine and the neuter genders.
(e) The term "superintendent" means the Superintendent of Delaware State Police.
The "Board of Examiners" shall consist of the superintendent of Delaware State Police and three (3) other members who have had at least five (5) years of experience in investigative duties, in addition to, if desired, a member of the Delaware Bar, all of whom shall be appointed by the Superintendent.
§ 1307. Enforcement through State Police and other police agencies of the State of Delaware; violation of act as ground for revocation of license; carrying concealed deadly weapons
(a) All police agencies and law enforcement officers of the State of Delaware are hereby authorized to carry out the provisions of this chapter and to enforce compliance therewith.
(a) A violation of any of the provisions of this chapter shall be cause for revocation of any license issued hereunder, notwithstanding that the same violation may constitute a misdemeanor or felony.
(b) Any person licensed as a private detective, or in the employ of any detective or agency, is not authorized to carry a concealed deadly weapon unless he is so licensed in accordance with the laws of this State.
Section 2. Effect of partial invalidity.
Should any section or provisions of this act be held to be invalid by any court of competent jurisdiction, the same shall not affect the validity of the act as a whole or any part thereof other than the portion so held to be invalid.
Approved June 20, 1955.