The Academy in the News
To The Editor
Draft Newspaper Article
JUNE 15, 2004
Re: The Academy in the News
The Downtown Denver News for June, 2004
Colorado is one of only a handful of states that do not license, register, or otherwise regulate private investigators. In Colorado, you need a license to get into somebody’s hair, but even a convicted felon can get into your personal business without the slightest state interest or official concern.
This fact is mitigated to some degree by a 25-year-old state association, the Professional Private Investigators Association of Colorado (PPIAC), that conducts background investigations as a requirement of membership and conducts a series of training sessions monthly and an annual training conference for both new and established private investigators. The PPIAC monitors state and federal legislation for matters of professional concern. The organization maintains relationships with other PI organizations throughout the country. And, most importantly, the PPIAC sets standards of professional conduct and performance that the state, itself, ignores.
Still, in a professional field where the qualifications amount to no more than a 50-cent business card and a telephone, more was needed.
That’s where Rick Johnson stepped into the void.
Johnson is a former Denver County and Jefferson County District Attorneys’ Investigator, who has been in private practice since 1987. He is President of his own firm, Rick Johnson & Associates. He also is president of the PPIAC.
“Television and movies are a poor source of information about how to be a PI,” said Johnson. “There’s a lot more to this business than a fedora, a trench coat, and a Colt-45, and the portrayal on television and in movies of what computers and databases can do is ridiculously overstated,” he said.
In 2003, Johnson took his strong views and created The Private Investigators Academy of the Rockies ©. The Academy, which just concluded its Spring, 2004, session of classes, is a dynamic and highly detailed introduction to the profession of private investigation. Classes are taught by Johnson and a faculty of some of the state’s most prominent and experienced investigators.
“We start with the basics, making no assumptions,” said Johnson, “covering every major topic from how to properly set up a business to the basic elements of a death investigation.” The course includes family and child custody matters, financial investigations, process serving, public records, and even client relations and how to prepare meaningful reports, and much more.
His classes have received rave reviews from his students.
“An excellent, through, and enjoyable introduction to all significant aspects of the PI business,” Ryan Ross. “Rick Johnson is Awesome,” Pat Wolff. “The real deal, a peak behind the curtain…,” Jason Jacobson.
Johnson describes himself as an instructor the same way he describes himself as a PI, “I’m a tough, detail-oriented, results-oriented, no-nonsense guy, who understands the really serious responsibility we assume with the designation, ‘private investigator.’”
He notes that, without licensing requirements in Colorado, there also is no requirement for liability insurance. During his classes, Johnson stresses the importance of both. “My staff and I are licensed in Kansas and I carry liability insurance in the amount of $1,000,000. I encourage my students to follow that path,” he said, and he also directs them to the PPIAC, where continuing education and help from the membership are key aspects of the association.
“In a state, Colorado, where there is no legal reason why a convict can’t leave prison one day and become a private investigator the next, education is critical,” said Johnson. “Until the legislature wakes up to that threat, education is our only defense,” he said.
The next session of the Academy is scheduled for Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:30 to 9:30 pm beginning July 20, 2004, at the Denver Athletic Center, 1325 Glenarm Street in Denver. There is a discount for early registration. Additional information is available on Johnson’s Web Site, www.denverpi.com.
Rick Johnson & Associates