What is a Private Investigator?

Brian Mathews is the owner/qualifying manager of LA Intelligence, California Lic. #27187 and was first licensed by the state of Florida in 1990. Over the years, he has prided himself in providing world-class investigative services to law firms, insurance carriers, corporations, small businesses, and the general public.

We come from all walks of life. If you can pass the 250-question grueling exam, pass a rigorous background investigation, and possess 6,000+ hours of actual investigative experience, then perhaps you, too, can become a P.I.! Well, not exactly, but you’d be halfway there.

Many of us are formal law enforcement officers, government agents, or ex-military. Some of our private detectives have backgrounds in journalism, criminal justice, or a degree in a related field.

Brian served in the U.S. Navy as a Shore Patrolman (MP) and was issued a top-secret security clearance. He interned under James Danforth, a former Marine Captain and an operative for the CIA. He flew planes for the DEA in a narcotics operation undercover.

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Before becoming a P.I. at age 32, he owned and operated a multimillion-dollar corporation which employed more than 100 people. His wide range of experiences coupled with the innate desire to find the truth, Brian is relentless in his pursuit of results when charged with an assignment.

Below is the state’s requirements to become a private investigator and the duties that we are licensed to perform. We hope this gives you a better idea of what we do and in what capacity we function. If you are in need of a service that you don’t see here, call us anyway as chances are we can still help you!

Requirements for Licensure

A private investigator is an individual who among other duties (1) investigates crimes, (2) investigates the identity, business, occupation, character, etc., of a person, (3) investigates the location of lost or stolen property, (4) investigates the cause of fires, losses, accidents, damage or injury, or (5) secures evidence for use in court. Private investigators may protect persons only if such services are incidental to an investigation; they may not protect property. An individual, partnership, or corporation licensed as a private investigator, the private detective may employ a qualified manager to manage the business on a day-to-day basis. To be eligible to apply for licensure as a private investigator/qualified manager, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be 18 or older.
  • Undergo a criminal history background check through the California Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
  • Have at least three years (2,000 hours each year, totaling 6,000 hours) of compensated experience in investigative work; or have a law degree or completed a four year course in police science plus two years (4,000 hours) of experience; or have an associate’s degree in police science, criminal law, or justice and 2 ½ years (5,000 hours) of experience. Experience must be certified by your employer and have been received while you were employed as a sworn law enforcement officer, military police officer, insurance adjuster, employee of a licensed PI or licensed repossessor, arson investigator for a public fire suppression agency, or an investigator for the public defender’s office. (Work as a process server, public records researcher, custodial attendant for a law enforcement agency, bailiff, agent who collects debts in writing or by telephone after the debtor has been located, or person who repossesses property after it has been located is not considered qualifying experience.)
  • Pass a two-hour multiple-choice examination covering laws and regulations, terminology, civil and criminal liability, evidence handling, undercover investigations and surveillance. A copy of the Private Investigator Act will be sent to you; and Upon notification that you have passed the examination, you must submit a licensing fee of $175 to the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services, P.O. Box 989002, West Sacramento, CA 95798-9002.

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