431 McNeilly Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15226
Private Detective Act of 1953
Sec. 11. Short Title
This act shall be known and may be cited as “The Private Detective Act of 1953”. 1953, Aug.21, P.L. 1273, sec.1.
Historical Note: Title of Act:
An act to regulate the business of private detectives, investigators and watch, guard, patrol agencies and the licensing thereof in each county; providing penalties. 1953, Aug. 21, P.L. 1273.
Sec. 12. Definitions
(a) “Private detective business” shall mean and include the business of private detective, private detective business, the business of investigator, or the business of watch, guard, or patrol agency. (*)
(b) “Private detective business” shall also mean and include, separately or collectively, the making, for hire, reward, or for any consideration whatsoever, of any investigation or investigations 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 for fee, hire, or reward:
(1) Crime or wrongs done or threatened against the government of the United States of America or any state or territory of the United States of America.
(2) The identity, habits, conduct, movements, whereabouts, affiliations, associations, transactions, reputation, or character, of any person, group of persons, associations, organizations, society, other groups of persons, partnerships, or corporation.
(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, or libels, or losses, or accidents, or damage, or injuries, to real or personal property.
(7) The affiliation, connection, or relation, of any person, partnership, or corporation, with any union, organization, society, or association, or with any official member or representative thereof.
(8) With reference to any person or persons seeking employment in the place of any person or persons who have quit work by reason of any strike.
(9) With reference to the conduct, honesty, efficiency, loyalty, or activities, of employees, agents, contractors, and subcontractors.
(10) The securing of evidence to be used before any authorized investigating committee, board of award, board of arbitration, or the trial of civil or criminal cases.
(11) The furnishing, for hire or reward, of watchmen, or guards, or private patrolmen, or other persons, to protect persons or property, or to prevent the theft or the unlawful taking of goods, wares and merchandise, or to prevent the misappropriation or concealment of goods, wares or merchandise, money, bonds, stocks, choses in action, notes, or other valuable documents, papers, and articles of value, or to procure the return thereof, or the performing of the service of such guard or other person, or any of said purposes. The foregoing shall not be deemed to include persons engaged in the business of investigations for or adjusters for insurance companies, nor persons in the exclusive employment of common carriers subject to regulation by the interstate commerce commission or the Public Utility Commission of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, or investigators in the employment of credit bureaus.
(c) The terms “the business of detective agency”, the “business of investigator”, the “business of watch, guard, or patrol agency”, and the terms “private detective” or “investigator” shall mean and include any person, partnership, association, or corporation, engaged in the private detective business, as defined in subsections (a) and (b) of this section, with or without the assistance of any employee or employees.
(d) The term “commissioner” shall mean the Commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police. 1953, Aug.21, P.L. 1273, sec. 2.
Sec. 13. Licenses
(a) No person, partnership, association or corporation, shall engage in the business of private detective, or the business of investigator, or the business of watch, guard, or patrol agency, for the purpose of furnishing guards or patrolmen or other persons to protect persons or property, or to prevent the theft or the unlawful taking of goods, wares and merchandise, or to prevent the misappropriation or concealment of goods, wares, merchandise, money bonds, stocks, documents, and other articles of value, for hire, or reward, or advertise his or their business to be that of detective, or of a detective agency, or investigator, or watch, guard, or patrol agency, notwithstanding the name or title used in describing such agency, or notwithstanding the fact that other functions and services may also be performed for fee, hire, or reward, without having first obtained a license so to do as hereinafter provided.
(b) No person, partnership, association, or corporation, shall engage in the business of furnishing or supplying for fee, hire, or any consideration or reward, information as to the personal character or activities of any person, partnership, corporation, society, or association, or any person or group of persons, or as to the character or kind of the business and occupation of any person, partnership, association, or corporation, or own or conduct or maintain a bureau or agency for the above mentioned purposes, except exclusively as to the financial rating, standing, and credit responsibility of persons, partnerships, associations, or corporations, or as to the personal habits and financial responsibility of applicants for insurance, indemnity bonds, or commercial credit, or of claimants under insurance policies: Provided, That the business so exempted does not embrace other activities described in subsections (a), (b) and (c) of section two of this act (**) without having first obtained, as hereafter provided, a license to do so, for each such bureau or agency, and for each and every sub-agency, office and branch office to be owned, conducted, managed, or maintained by such persons, partnership, association, or corporation, for the conduct of such business. Nothing contained in this section shall be deemed to include the business of investigators for or adjusters for insurance companies, nor persons in the exclusive employment of common carriers subject to regulation by the interstate commerce commission or the Public Utility Commission of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, or investigators in the employment of credit bureaus. 1953, Aug.21 P.L. 1273, sec.3.
Notes of Decisions
* Today this also includes: bouncers, doormen, security guards, armed guards, bodyguards, and enforcers of house rules at an establishment that holds, sells or delivers any alcoholic beverages to the public.
** Since the act of 1887, May 23, P.L. 173 it is unlawful to act as a private detective for hire or reward without first obtaining a license. In re Licensed Detectives, 60 D. & C. 544, 39 Berks 270, 1948.
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