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What’s the Difference Between Private Detective, Private Investigator and Private Detective Agency?

The difference between a private detective, private investigator, and a private detective agency varies by state. Historically, private investigators – that is those not part of official law enforcement – started with Pinkerton, founded as the Pinkerton National Detective Agency in Chicago, IL in 1850. Their employees were formally known as “private detectives” and the company they worked for was called a “detective agency.” In 1960s, many states did not want the public to confuse a private detective with a police detective, so they had their licensing boards use the title “private investigator.” Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation uses the terms “private detective” and “private detective agency.”

In order to obtain a private detective license in the State of Illinois, the investigator has to successfully pass an exam by achieving a score of 70 or above. The examination results are valid for three years.

In order to be admitted to the examination, the candidate has to provide all of the required paperwork. He or she must also have a year of experience with minimum “20 work days per month during which the applicant was engaged in full-time employment equal to 1500 hours or more annually.” The candidate must also submit to fingerprinting and have a liability insurance of at least one million dollars.

Additionally, the applicant has to be of good moral character, has not been convicted of a felony for the past 10 years, have no substance abuse issues, must be mentally fit, and cannot have a dishonorable discharge from the United States Armed Forces.

For a private detective to start a private detective agency in Illinois – aside from having a valid Illinois private detective license – he or she needs to have a registered business – sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, etc. Any unlicensed officers, directors or members of that business need to be of good moral character. The agency also needs to have an office in Illinois – a P.O. Box is not acceptable. Lastly, the name of any private detective agency in Illinois cannot contain the words “law enforcement” or “police” in its name.

Lakefront Investigations, Ltd. – Illinois Private Detective Agency

If you are looking for an Illinois private detective agency, please contact Lakefront Investigations, Ltd. by calling 847-795-1900 or get in touch with us via our contact page.

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