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Private Investigators Must Now Be Licensed in Missouri

New regulations are in effect across the state of Missouri for private investigators. KSMU’s Matt Evans has more.

State officials say there are potentially hundreds of private investigators who are unlicensed. A state law that went into effect earlier this year requires private investigators to submit a background check, pass an exam, meet education requirements, and carry professional liability insurance.

The department of Insurance, Financial Institutions, and Professional Registrations says it began receiving license applications last month, but still believes there are many private investigators that have not applied for a license.

Paul Skinner, the owner of Paul Skinner Investigations in Springfield, has been a private investigator for 17 years. He says the regulations are a necessity.

“That’s what this law is all about. Is just to really put a hold on PI’s and regulate them and keep them on the, for lack of a better word, straight-and-narrow.”

Skinner has been in Springfield since 2005 and specializes in surveillance, domestic cases, civil and criminal cases, and background checks. He says Springfield has had a licensing requirement that is very similar to the state’s new requirement. He was able to comply with the state licensing requirements quickly and easily.

He says one of the most important things about the new licensing law is to make sure fraudulent PI’s are kept in check.

“In reality, just because you have a camera and you have a lap top doesn’t mean you are a private investigator.”

To find out more about the state’s licensing requirement you can visit

For KSMU News, I’m Matt Evans.