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Holders of Temporary Private Investigator Licenses in Oregon Must Post Surety Bonds

  • October 02, 2017
  • by Vic Lance
  • Articles

Private investigators who wish to obtain a temporary license in Oregon are now required to obtain a private investigator bond or an irrevocable letter of credit. The Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST) adopted a new set of regulations at the end of March which includes changes to the process of issuing temporary licenses.

Read on for a full overview of the legislative changes, and what the surety bond requirement means.

New Oregon Temporary Investigator License Requirements

According to the Oregon Administrative Rules (OAR), Division 61 'Investigator Licensing Standards and Regulations,' temporary private investigator licenses are issued to such individuals who are licensed or certified in another jurisdiction as private investigators.

These temporary licenses are only issued on the condition that such individuals are in good standing at the place of issuance of their original license. This must be confirmed by the individual performing a background check. Moreover, in order to obtain their temporary license, private investigators must also obtain a $5,000 surety bond or an irrevocable letter of credit, as part of the new requirements. The bond must be posted to the DPSST upon applying for a license.

The surety bond is put in place to guarantee that individuals who are granted a temporary license will conform and comply with all provisions of the Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS). These include conducting business faithfully, cooperating with criminal justice agencies, if required, as well as following all administrative rules that apply to the temporary license.

An important detail to keep in mind is that temporary investigator licenses in Oregon are valid only for 30 days after the beginning of investigatory services in the state. This is also the maximum amount of days of investigatory services that can be performed per year by holders of such licenses.

Why Private Investigators Need a Bond

As all surety bonds, the private investigator bond is an agreement made between the state that issues a license, the license holder and the surety company that backs the bond.

The purpose of this agreement is two-fold. On the one hand, it guarantees that the bonded investigator complies with state regulations. On the other - it secures protection by providing compensation in cases in which an investigator neglects their duties or intentionally violates those regulations. The compensation extended by the surety bond is based on the amount of the bond - $5,000 in this case.

Given that such investigators' stay in the state is limited, the new regulations seek to both allow out-of-state investigators to conduct lawful business in the state as well as secure their agreement to comply with state law. This also places such investigators on a more equal footing to in-state investigators who must similarly obtain a surety bond, and pass a vetting process before they can do business.

Surety bonds are efficient because they do not require a large investment on the side of the party getting bonded - the cost of a bond is typically only a small fraction of the total bond amount.

At the same time, bonds oblige bonded parties to repay any compensation that is extended to bond claimants, if a claim is made against the bond. Due to the possibility of having to repay compensation under a claim, bonds also have a deterring effect and secure stricter compliance with regulations and best practices.

What Do You Think of the Bond Requirement?

What are your thoughts on the subject? Do you think the new private investigator bond requirement makes sense? Let us know in the comments!


Vic LanceVic Lance is the founder and president of Lance Surety Bond Associates, a surety agency that helps private investigators get bonded. Vic graduated from Villanova University with a degree in Business Administration and holds a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.


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