About one-third of the people calling themselves private investigators in Missouri remain unlicensed eight months after a state licensing law went into effect.
Eleven years ago, some of Missouri’s private investigators decided their business needed more legitimacy. They founded a state association of private investigators and began to lobby the legislature for a licensing law. It took eight years to get one passed and two more years to get a state board of private investigator examiners appointed and regulations written.
Board President Dwight McNeil, a private investigator in Ozark for more than two decades was one of the founders of the movement in ’99 because there were private investigators who were doing things they should have been doing.
He says about 600 to 700 investigators have been licensed since the requirement kicked in on February first. But he says another 300 to 350 remain unlicensed. They could face jail time if they don’t get their licenses. And if they continue refusing, they could go to prison.