Town of Johnston, RI
Providence County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Council of the Town of Johnston 11-9-1987 by Ord. No. 715 (Sec. 15-10 of the 1979 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Business operations — See Ch. 125.
Licensing — See Ch. 204.
No person, firm, or corporation shall operate a private detective business without first obtaining a license.
A. 
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
APPLICANT
Any person who has applied for permission to engage in any act or activity which is regulated under the provisions of this chapter.
LICENSE
Any license required by this chapter.
LICENSE FEE
Any moneys required by law to be paid for the issuance or renewal of any license required by the regulations.
LOCAL LICENSING AUTHORITY
The Town Council.
PRIVATE DETECTIVE
A person who is hired for the purpose of conducting investigations involving:
(1) 
Inquiries into unsolved crimes;
(2) 
Clandestine surveillance;
(3) 
The search for missing persons; and
(4) 
The search for lost or stolen property.
B. 
Words in the singular shall include the plural and the plural shall include the singular.
In order to be eligible for a license, an applicant must:
A. 
Be a citizen of the United States or a resident alien;
B. 
Not have been convicted in any jurisdiction of a felony;
C. 
Not have had any previous private investigator license or registration revoked or application for such license or registration denied by the appropriate authority of any local licensing authority;
D. 
Not have been declared by any court of competent jurisdiction incompetent by reason of mental defect or disease unless said court has subsequently determined that his or her competency has been restored;
E. 
Not suffer from habitual drunkenness or from narcotics addiction or dependence;
F. 
Be of good moral character;
G. 
Have such experience as has been gained through:
(1) 
At least five years' experience as an investigator or as a police officer with a state, county or municipal police department or with an investigative agency of the United States of America or of any state, county or municipality; or
(2) 
Receipt of a degree in criminal justice from an accredited college or university; or
(3) 
Employment by a private detective as an investigator for at least five years; or
(4) 
Substantially equivalent training or experience.
A. 
Any person engaged as a private detective prior to January 1, 1988, and who continues to be so engaged as of the effective date of this chapter may apply for a private detective license with the local licensing authority where his or her principal place of business is located. Persons presently licensed shall be granted private detective licenses from said local licensing authority upon application and verification that he/she has not been convicted in any jurisdiction of a felony.
B. 
This initial application will be treated as a renewal of a license. Subsequent applications for renewal of his/her license shall be governed by § 257-8 below.
After an examination of the application and such further inquiry and investigation as is deemed proper and necessary as to the good character, competency and integrity of the applicant and the persons named in the application, the local licensing authority shall as soon as practicable issue a license in a form prescribed by it to the applicant or notify the applicant of a denial of the license application. Persons shall file their applications with the local licensing authority where his/her principal place of business is located.
The local licensing authority shall deny the application for, or renewal of, license if it finds that the applicant:
A. 
Has violated any provisions of this chapter or rules and regulations promulgated hereunder; or
B. 
In the case of the applicant, commits any act which would disqualify him under § 257-10 below or where such applicant has failed to meet the qualifications of this chapter; or
C. 
Practices fraud, deceit or misrepresentation; or
D. 
Makes a material misstatement in the application for or renewal of a license; or
E. 
Demonstrates incompetence or untrustworthiness in actions affecting the conduct of the business required to be licensed under this chapter.
The local licensing authority in approving or denying an application for a license or renewal thereof shall be as follows:
A. 
If the application is approved, the local licensing authority shall issue a license in the form as provided in this chapter;
B. 
If the application is denied, the local licensing authority shall notify the applicant or licensee in writing of same and shall state the reasons for his action;
C. 
Within 15 days from the receipt of notice the applicant or licensee may request a hearing in writing;
D. 
If a request for a hearing is timely received, the local licensing authority shall set a date for hearing and notify the parties of the time and place thereof;
E. 
All hearings shall be held in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 42-35 of the General Laws.
A. 
Each license shall expire one year after its date of issuance. Subject to the power of the local licensing authority to deny, revoke or suspend license, any license shall be renewable by the local licensing authority for the next one-year period upon proper application for renewal and payment of license fees.
B. 
An application for renewal of a license must be received by the local licensing authority on a form provided by him not less than 30 days prior to the expiration date of the license, and he shall promptly notify the licensee of his intent to refuse to renew the license.
C. 
The licensee may, within 15 days after receipt of such notice of intent to refuse to renew a license, request a hearing on such refusal in the manner prescribed by this chapter. A licensee shall be permitted to continue to engage in business while its renewal application is pending.
D. 
Upon renewal of any license the local licensing authority shall issue a renewal license.
A. 
The registration and license fee for a private detective shall be $100 annually.
B. 
No license issued pursuant to the provisions of this chapter shall be assigned or transferred, either by operation of law or otherwise.
C. 
With good cause, the local licensing authority may extend the period of time for filing the application required by § 257-4 of this chapter.
A. 
A license may be suspended or revoked if the licensee:
(1) 
Violates any provisions of this chapter or rules and regulation promulgated hereunder;
(2) 
Practices fraud, deceit or misrepresentation;
(3) 
Makes a material misstatement in the application for or renewal of the license;
(4) 
In the case of the licensee, commits any act which would disqualify the qualifying agent.
B. 
After the licensee has exhausted the right of appeal, or if the licensee does not seek a hearing, the licensee shall immediately cease to operate the business for the time period provided in the order of suspension or permanently in the case of revocation and shall notify all of its clients of such revocation or suspension and shall maintain a copy of such notices in its business records.
C. 
Under circumstances in which the local licensing authority determines that the public health, welfare or safety may be jeopardized by the termination of a licensee's services, that local licensing authority may, upon his own motion or upon application by the licensee or any party affected by such termination, extend the time for the termination of the licensee's operations, subject to such reasonable, necessary and proper conditions or restrictions as he deems appropriate.
A. 
Each license shall be surrendered to the local licensing authority within 72 hours after it has been revoked or after the licensee ceases to do business pursuant to an order of suspension.
B. 
If, however, the local licensing authority or a court of competent jurisdiction has pending before it any matter relating to the renewal, revocation or transfer of a license, the licensee shall not be required to surrender the license until the matter has been adjudicated and all appeals have been exhausted provided that a stay has been obtained in accordance with the provisions of this chapter pertaining to judicial review.
The licensee shall notify the local licensing authority in writing within five days of any material change in the information previously furnished or required to be furnished to the local licensing authority or any occurrence which could reasonably be expected to affect the licensee's privilege to a license under this chapter.
A. 
No individual licensed by, registered by or subject to the provisions of this chapter shall wear or display any insignia, patch or pattern which shall indicate or tend to indicate that he is a law enforcement officer of the federal government, a state, or any political subdivision thereof or which contains or includes the word "police" or the equivalent thereof, or is similar in wording to any law enforcement agency in this state. All badges, shields and any other devices shall not indicate or tend to indicate that it represents that of any law enforcement officer of the federal government, a state or any other political subdivision thereof. All such wording must be approved by the local licensing authority.
B. 
No person while performing any activities licensed by this chapter shall have or utilize any vehicle or equipment displaying the words "police," "law enforcement officer," or the equivalent thereof or have any sign, shield, marking, accessory or insignia that may indicate that such vehicle is a vehicle of a public law enforcement agency. All such wording must indicate “private detective” or “private investigating agency” and be approved by the local licensing authority.
C. 
No licensee shall, by the use of any letterhead, advertisement, or other printed matter, or in any manner whatever, represent that he is an instrumentality or agency of the federal government or of the state of Rhode Island or political subdivision thereof.
Any licensee or private detective shall deliver to the local licensing authority or its designee a bond with a surety company authorized to do business in the state of Rhode Island conditioned for the benefit of any person injured by willful, malicious or wrongful act of the licensee which in the case of an individual shall be $5,000.
It is unlawful for any person to knowingly commit any of the following:
A. 
Provide any service required to be licensed under this chapter without possessing a valid license;
B. 
Employ any individual to perform the duties of an unarmed employee or armed employee who has not first complied with all provisions of this chapter and the regulations in all respects;
C. 
Falsely represent that a person is the holder of a valid license;
D. 
Possess a license or identification card issued to another person.
A. 
The local licensing authority shall by regulation prescribe the form of identification cards which may be carried by persons licensed under this chapter.
B. 
Every person licensed hereunder shall be given a permanent licensed number and shall be issued an identification card which shall be approximately 2 1/2 inches wide and 3 1/2 inches long and shall bear thereon the number assigned to the licensee; the full name, date of birth, residence address, and brief description of the licensee; his fingerprints and photograph; and a space upon which the licensee shall write his usual signature with pen and ink, or a facsimile of such signature.
Any licensee shall, on notice from the local licensing authority, discontinue any advertising or the use of any advertisement, seal or card which, in the opinion of the local licensing authority, may tend to mislead the public. Failure to comply with any such order of the local licensing authority shall be cause for revocation of the license.
A. 
Any person aggrieved by a final decision or order of the local licensing authority made after hearing or rehearing, whether or not a petition for hearing was filed, may obtain judicial review thereof by appeal to the superior court in accordance with Chapter 42-35 of the General Laws.
B. 
Filing of an appeal shall not stay enforcement of the decision or order of the local licensing authority unless the stay is obtained from the court upon application in accordance with the rules of court or from the superintendent upon such terms and conditions as he deems proper.
All felonies which are discovered by persons licensed and registered under this chapter shall be reported immediately to the Rhode Island State Police, private investigative unit, or to the local police department where the crime occurred.
A. 
Nothing in this chapter includes the activities of any person employed by any federal or state agency or any city or town as an investigator. Nothing in this chapter is construed to require a detective's license in order to interview parties and/or witnesses in legal matters.
B. 
Nothing in this chapter is construed to require a detective's license of any of the following:
(1) 
An agent, employee, or assistant to a licensed "detective" whose duties are in connection with the regular and customary business of his or her contracting agency;
(2) 
A person engaged in earning his or her livelihood by genealogical work and the compilation of family history while so engaged;
(3) 
An insurance investigator; or
(4) 
A credit reporting bureau or agency whose business is principally the furnishing of information as to business and financial standing and credit responsibility.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
Penalties for violations of this chapter shall be as provided in R.I.G.L. § 5-5-21.
[1]
Editor's Note: Added at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).